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Cyclops: Stop slamming McDonald’s with online petitions
by BRYAN GRAY
Mar 27, 2014 | 1088 views | 0 0 comments | 10 10 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Bryan Gray
Bryan Gray
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The views expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessariliy reflect the views of the Davis Clipper.  

I have written before that technology has made people less patient.  A recent news story also makes me think that the ability to make on-line comments has made people less thoughtful.

An example is the on-line onslaught against one of the country’s largest employers and most successful companies.  A well-known vegan author has used the internet to gather nearly 100,000 signatures (including those of celebrities Ellen DeGeneres, Russell Simmons and Alicia Silverstone) asking McDonald’s to provide meatless meals other than its current salads and oatmeal.

“McDonald’s has an opportunity to make a smart business decision that can benefit millions looking to fight heart disease and obesity,” says the author.

I have no trouble with people urging a company to carry out a specific social policy. However, in the case of a restaurant, a menu is focused on what people will actually order. 

If there was a great surge of interest in fast-food customers demanding tofu, McDonald’s would add the item to the menu. If millions of Americans refused to enter a McDonald’s because the company wouldn’t substitute green beans for french fries, I can assure you Ronald McDonald would look more green than the Jolly Green Giant.

McDonald’s serves McMillions of customers, and I don’t think it should be shamed for not trying to please each and every American.  If I find a company or a store that doesn’t offer an item I want, I vote with my wallet and find one that does.  I don’t go around seeking signatures on petitions to satisfy my narrow dietary desires.

In the on-line world special interest groups can provide a biased narrative seeking approval and signatures from people who don’t take the time to think things through. It becomes too simple to read the plea on a computer screen and say, “I guess that makes sense Р especially if Ellen agrees!”

Signing a petition is one thing. Foot traffic is a better indication. In a separate report, I found that among Americans who resolved to eat more healthfully in 2014, visits to fast-food restaurants actually increased by 10 percent. So much for the Omega 3-rich salmon; Hello Burger King!

Due to its size, McDonald’s is an easy target. More than 300,000 people have signed an on-line petition to stop the company from paying employees with debit cards rather than paper checks and more than 100,000 have signed to stop the chain from opening a store across from a kindergarten in Australia.

And how about this one?  Some 65,000 have signed a petition ordering McDonald’s to “stop torturing hens” for Egg McMuffins!

C’mon guys, if you feel that sorry for the hens, lay off the eggs and order a whole-grain pancake for breakfast.  No one ever feels sympathy for the wheat stalk. 

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