Why I won’t be eating at Mcdonald’s for a while.

First, a prelude. I’ve given up trying to convince people to do things because I am not a good marketer. I always believed that people would listen to reason, but we all know that’s not true. But people will always listen to a well marketed idea.

Still, there are times that I’m stirred to action because of an event that I just can’t ignore, and this is one of those times. The following is a forwarded account of a an event that occured a few days ago. I was tempted to delete it, as I automatically do my forwarded messages, but I’d read about this story in the paper a while back, and so I knew that this event actually did happen.

The account is biased to a fault, but strip away all of the flourish and adjectives and what you get is an acccount of a multinational company refusing to hold a dialogue with concerned consumers. Mind you, these people weren’t a raving mob, but concerned citizens. All they wanted is for McDonalds to commit to reducing their use of styrofoam by 50% in a year. A steep number? Maybe, but we all know that no sale goes by in this country without a proper “tawad”, so I’m sure those people set their standards high in preparation.

The sad thing is that many of those who took part in the march may very well have been McDonalds customers who just wanted them to show a little respect and responsibility. The way the company belittled these well-meaning people is what made me decide today to avoid McDonalds products as much as possible. It’s a small contribution, and it’s all I can do. Well, that and posting this on my blog and highfiber.

W hat you choose to do is none of my business, but take a read, and then decide on your course of action. If you’re worried that it’ll do no good to avoid going to McDonald’s, this snippet from findarticles gives a bit of hope:

A nationwide grassroots campaign convinced McDonald’s to cut back on its use of styrofoam packaging in 1990. If that clown Ronald can do it, so can the rest of the world.

Apparently, Ronald’s pinoy cousin hasn’t caught on yet, but if enough people speak up, he just might listen.

My name is Gary Granada, I am a KaalagaD volunteer, and I need 5 seconds of your time to help reduce the use of styrofoam in fast food chains.

What was meant to be a nice and simple Saint Francis Day motorcade-march to McDonald’s turned out to be a nightmare. We were rudely treated by McDonald’s, to put it mildly. Weeks before, we already sought a dialogue with them to reiterate our concern for their reluctance to reduce their use of styrofoam, despite their pledge to seriously attend to it during our dialogue in 2002! (Jollibee said the same thing, and while we are not satisfied with their response, at least they made some effort to shift to other packaging and serving materials.) We wrote to them, went to their office, made follow ups, waited for a response. The most we got from them was ‘you wait for our call’. They never called, never wrote back, but verbally said they will assign representatives to receive our motorcade’s representatives.

When we got there, their representatives turned out to be the Citibank Building ‘s security detail. Ill-mannered and impolite, they told us that they were told by McDonald’s that they were not expecting us. One of our staff went up to their 17th floor office to find out whether they were willing to sit down and talk matters. Told to tell us to wait, we waited. The giant that it is, the bosses of McDonald’s apparently regard little children, nuns, mothers, priests and concerned consumers as their employees. We asked how long we were supposed to wait and got no straight answer. Finally they sent word for me to come up, just me, no one else. I thought these people must have seen too many spaghetti movies, perhaps they thought they had a hostage crisis. I was led to a conference room that could easily sit six or seven people and was greeted by two bright boys.

Think about it. Naglakad kami papuntang McDonald’s, at pagdating namin doon, wala man lang bumaba para kausapin kami ng maayos. At pinatawag ako nitong dalawang batang managers!

It occurred to me that there were far more basic issues that plague McDonald’s than styrofoam. Like common courtesy. So I explained to these rich young rulers that the courteous thing to do was to go down, greet the delegation and ask how they may be of help. I even asked them where they were schooled, because in the public school in an obscure town where I came from, they manage to teach such things in Grade One. Their bloated bright brains must have taken up the space that was meant for their ears. It felt like talking to an electric fan.

Meanwhile I insisted that somebody from Greenpeace, the Ecowaste Coalition, Franciscan Movement for Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation, and the JPICC of the Association of Major Religious Superiors of the Philippines (our partners in the activity) be present as well. They said they can only accommodate three people at most. Fine. So I said I and our staff will go down and we will send three people up.
But at the lobby, the three representatives we sent were barred by security people from proceeding, again upon McDonald’s instructions we were told. It looked hopeless.

We decided to wrap up the program when out of nowhere a condescending woman materialized and introduced herself as the media relations officer of McDonalds. She said ‘Why don’t you go to Jollibee instead, they’re number One.’ To which Father Ben Moraleda replied, ‘We did, and at least they are doing something.’

On the side, irked by her audacity, Fr. Ben quipped, ‘And please take that hand of yours off my shoulders, I don’t like you.’ And all that commotion for a very simple and very reasonable plan: that McDonald’s reduce the use of styrofoam by 50% within one year. McDonald’s has once again demonstrated its arrogance and incapacity to appreciate the sincere and constructive efforts of common folks to protect our environment. Unlike them, we do not make money doing what little we can to help make things a little better for everybody.

5 seconds, that’s all I ask of you to help reduce the use of styrofoam. Sa mundo ng mga mayayabang, papansinin lang nila tayo kung tayo ay maninindigan. Take 5 seconds to think twice before choosing where to dine or order food.

WHEN YOU HAVE A CHOICE, DON’T CHOOSE MCDONALD’S

I feel sad for that woman and those two young managers. So young, so successful, so ahead of their game, so privileged; so rude, so arrogant, so lacking in character, so bland. And I have since stopped wondering why their burgers taste the way they do.

It will take a bit longer than 5 seconds, but itwill go a long way if you can email this page to friends. Thank you.

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2 Comments to “Why I won’t be eating at Mcdonald’s for a while.”

  1. *clap clap* you said it better than i ever could !

  2. Renz here. Meh I never liked their burgers anyway. I only order chicken nuggets from them which thankfully, they pack in carton boxes.

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