Monday, March 15, 2004

Issue #2: The Decline and Fall of the Supersize, or: "Would you like a government-approved portion of fries with that?"

I was upset but not surprised to hear the news that McDonalds was "phasing out" its Supersize option, over the course of the next year and a half. I wasn't upset by losing the portion of fries large enough to break the table, because most of you know I'm a big fella, so eating less, for me, is a good thing. However, I don't usually eat all the fries. I do, however, down a few of the supersized drinks everytime. I'm a thirsty fella, cut me some slack.

What irritates me about this decision by the fast-food giant's corporate headquarters is that it takes away the option of getting what you want. It is, in essence, an example of an entity saying, "we know you want something, but we know better than you, so we aren't going to let you have it for your own good." I'd like to serve notice to the CEO of McDonalds: I already have two parents, thank you. I don't need a third. Or a Big Brother, for that matter.

There's been a big flap recently about fast food chains "hiding" their nutritional information from patrons, and using chemicals to "get them hooked" on french fries and scalding hot apple pies. I know the arguments; I read "Fast Food Nation" too. But the crux of this argument is that we as consumers are unable to decide what is best for us, and are unable to choose not to buy a product or service that is advertised to us. I think this is fundamentally flawed reasoning, as you may have guessed.

First of all, I reject the idea of being a helpless victim in the hands of Ronald McDonald. That's totally bogus. Fat people who eat at McDonalds all the time need to own up to the fact that they're fat *because* they eat at McDonald's all the time. I'm a fat person, and I don't blame Jack in the Box for my lovehandles. I don't accuse the Colonel and his "wee beady eyes" for putting a chemical in the chicken to make me crave it fortnightly (smart-arse). It's like blaming my couch for not giving me an "ab" workout. It's a couch! That's not what it's for! If you want to exercise, you have to say no to the couch and do something else!

And I further reject the idea that I can't resist advertising. Come on, be serious. If you are "unable" to resist commercials advertising food products, you have bigger problems than weight. Being that suggestible will end up making you a pawn in some truly evil person's game (and could explain the high ratings for Fear Factor).

The question is, if McDonald's is taking away your size choices, what's next? No Medium or Large size drinks, either? No extra-large pizzas? No double-beef anything? Everyone will eat the same portions of everything, and like it. Because our ever-watchful government is looking out for our best interests.

I hope you've noted the high level of sarcasm throughout this rant. As previously stated, I'm an advocate of personal accountability. If I ever have weight-related health problems, I'm not going to try to convince my doctor that I was duped by Dave Thomas and Dr. Pepper. Because in the end, it's my hand and my mouth.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I think I'm gonna go grab an order of Jumbo Curly Fries from Jack in the Box. Ain't freedom grand?

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