Author Topic: McSticker Shock  (Read 5489 times)

atelierk

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McSticker Shock
« on: June 22, 2012, 07:04:35 PM »
For the first time in at least three years, I stopped at a fast food joint today. An extremely early breakfast, a morning meeting 50 miles miles from home, unable to make it home in time for lunch like I thought I would, a headache, and looking for a restroom, I decided to grab a quick lunch at a McDonalds before hitting the road. Oy.

The many menu boards mounted above the counter were a kaleidoscope of waaaay too many choices, so I ordered from memory: filet-o-fish, small fries, and a small diuretic diet Coke. Total? $6.03!!!!!

The itty-bitty fish patty was considerably smaller than a pack of playing cards with at least a half-inch of bun showing all around the edges. The fries were only edible while hot. And the Coke was, well, Coke. Meh. It all tasted pretty much as I remembered from my younger days, but since I now eat mostly homegrown veggies, local fresh fruit, pastured meat, poultry and eggs, this overpriced McStuff was pretty sad in comparison. Best to be said about it was that it did keep body and soul together (and the ladies room was acceptably clean) so rather than cringe at the price of the food, I laughed. Got in the car, pulled the stuff out of the bag and just kept chuckling. Six bucks for famine food! And some of the fancy sandwiches on the menu were over $5!

I know it's common for people to eat at McD's and similar places just about every day and most of them probably spend closer to $10 every time. Five days a week, 50 weeks a year: that's around $2500. And most of the people I saw going in and out of there really didn't look like they could afford it. One meal for a family of four could easily run $30 or more. Yeesh.






arebelspy

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Re: McSticker Shock
« Reply #1 on: June 22, 2012, 07:28:03 PM »
Check out the dollar menu next time.

But yes, fast food is no bargain.  Cooking and eating healthy at home is much cheaper. Even buying meat and then supplementing side dishes (some rice and vegetables, perhaps) is cheaper.

But we spend about $30/mo on fast food according to Mint (that's maybe 3-5 meals out of 90).  Sometimes it just sounds good.
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Grigory

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Re: McSticker Shock
« Reply #2 on: June 22, 2012, 10:08:04 PM »
Next time, just buy some of their dollar-menu apple pies - they're two for a buck or three for $2, depending where you live. They're the best bang-for-buck value in that place. They're also ideal if you want to grab a snack at the airport and don't want to pay $7 for a hot dog. O_o

But I know what you mean about people who habitually eat fast food... A good friend of mine has the worst luck, loves his low-paying job and doesn't always have a lot of money at his disposal. And yet he insists on dropping at least $6-7 a day at some crappy Jack in the Box, followed by a complaint along the lines of "I need to survive off one cabbage and a loaf of bread till next paycheck." (He actually posts that on Facebook...) I tried explaining that those $7 would get him a ton of fruits and veggies (that's at least 14lb of bananas, people!)  but he never listens. :(

trailsend

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Re: McSticker Shock
« Reply #3 on: July 18, 2012, 06:41:33 AM »
A couple of weeks ago a group of other interns and I stopped by a McDonald's on our way back to the house we were staying at; my total was $5 and change. As we left I lamented the fact that I had just spent almost two days' worth of food money in one sittingóboth other interns gave me a funny look and then asked how much one days' worth of food money was.

"About $3."

"What? Can you actually meet your nutritional needs on that? My parents would say that if you want to eat healthy, you'd have to spend $25 per day, minimum."

I just kinda sputtered for a second. "Wait, $25 for your whole family, or $25 per person?"

"Per person, obviously."

Didn't really know what to say after that.

igthebold

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Re: McSticker Shock
« Reply #4 on: July 18, 2012, 06:47:38 AM »
+1 for dollar menu. As much as I hate fast food, feeding a van full of people for $12 is cheaper than anything convenient at the grocery store without planning. We've often used McD just that way on the way home from a trip where we don't have a place to prepare food. My orders usually sound like, "8 McDoubles, 2 McChickens, and 2 large fries." Then I make it a point to enjoy whatever chemicals they've put in their burgers to make them so tasty on the road.

Grigory

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Re: McSticker Shock
« Reply #5 on: July 22, 2012, 02:43:08 PM »
As much as I hate fast food, feeding a van full of people for $12 is cheaper than anything convenient at the grocery store without planning.
Run inside the store, buy 24lb of bananas (or 36lb if they're $0.33/lb), run out. You may thank me at your convenience. ;)

igthebold

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Re: McSticker Shock
« Reply #6 on: July 23, 2012, 07:11:48 AM »
As much as I hate fast food, feeding a van full of people for $12 is cheaper than anything convenient at the grocery store without planning.
Run inside the store, buy 24lb of bananas (or 36lb if they're $0.33/lb), run out. You may thank me at your convenience. ;)

Thanks. :) I tend to value the staying power of fat and protein more than the convenience of dessert bananas, though.

kolorado

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Re: McSticker Shock
« Reply #7 on: July 23, 2012, 08:11:13 AM »
I was raised by frugal parents and there were 5 of us kids. My mom was very good at packing tons of wholesome road foods: homemade subs or sandwiches, fresh fruits and veggies, air popped popcorn or pretzels and recycled milk jugs of water. She partially froze those so they'd double as the ice in the cooler. Even with the best planning, the appetites of 5 kids sometimes went beyond supply. My parents would stop at a grocery along the way where my mom would get loaves of bread, the cheapest peanut butter and jelly, a small container of mustard, a pound of bologna, a pound of cheese and a gallon of pre-mixed chocolate milk along with cheap paper plates and cups. That meal couldn't have cost more than $10 for all 7 of us but it was such a treat! The rare occasions we did get actual fast food, we didn't get happy meals or sodas. My mom would order regular hamburgers(I think they were $.70 in the 80's)and every kid under 10 got just a half a burger, a share of a large fry and water. She explained that this wasn't our last meal, just enough to tide us over until we got home. My parents preferred to take us to actual restaurants when an occasion arose for a special treat. There they were happy to let us order and enjoy the pricy things on the menus because they were actually food. I remember waiters being skeptical when my 8 year old little brother would order King Crab Legs off the adult menu but he then proceeded to enjoy every one. I'm glad it never occurred to me that strangers might be looking at us and thinking we couldn't afford those treats. That's a really rude assumption to make about anyone.

Grigory

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Re: McSticker Shock
« Reply #8 on: July 23, 2012, 09:05:53 PM »
Thanks. :) I tend to value the staying power of fat and protein more than the convenience of dessert bananas, though.
If we're talking about the same McDonald's, you'll most likely get carcinogens and chemicals, not protein. At least you know where you stand with bananas. :^P

igthebold

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Re: McSticker Shock
« Reply #9 on: July 24, 2012, 08:30:57 AM »
If we're talking about the same McDonald's, you'll most likely get carcinogens and chemicals, not protein. At least you know where you stand with bananas. :^P

I suspect not much more than most other processed foods. I have a hard time worrying about a particular food that I might eat once or twice a year. And yes, meat contains protein, even if it's been handled by McDonalds employees, and given McDonalds blackens their burgers less than the typical home cook (I'm totally speculating) I imagine McDonalds hamburgers have *fewer* carcinogens than a homemade burger would. I would recommend reading this article: about McDonald's hamburgers.

Anyway, I know what I'm doing when I buy McDonald's hamburgers. I'm buying convenience and calories. I *usually* pack meals for the road, but occasionally that's more trouble than it's worth. I know from experience that all fruit does is make me hungrier, and that defeats my goal.