mcdonald’s: the good, the bad, and the ugly

by elizaligon

I suppose that I am a woman of romance. I like to go on dates, preferably ones that entail sharing milkshakes and staring longingly into each others’ eyes. And where better to do this than at McDick’s?

Unfortunately, as of late, we have all noticed the lack of ambiance at McDonald’s. I would like to dig up this dead horse from the internet and beat it into oblivion.

From the 1980s and 1990s up until the 2000s, McDonald’s was cool and fun, but that’s simply not the case anymore. McDonald’s is hardly recognizable. The seats are no longer shaped like characters, nor are the walls painted with that weird 80s shape pattern (it’ll come up if you Google “80s shape pattern” but what you’re picturing is probably right). There are no more video games (unless you count the giant iPads that one can find at a Gentrified McDonald’s, but we’ll address that in due time). Many McDonald’s don’t even have a red roof. What kind of lawless hellscape are we living in? What’s next, no golden arches???

Nowadays, your average Joe gets to pick from two different types of McDonald’s– Gentrified McDonald’s, and 50s-Themed McDonald’s. 

As ancient law states, “first is the worst,” so we commence with Gentrified McDonald’s– the crown jewel of your roadway city, across the street from the strip mall. Gentrified McDonald’s is pleasing to Boomers and Gen-Xers on the sole basis that they don’t like (or don’t remember how?) to have fun. They like the stainless steel and the gray uniformity; they think it reflects the general lack of heart tied to the modern industrial age and capitalism, and that makes them happy. The only advantage of the Gentrified McDonald’s is the giant iPads on which you can order your food. Even though they’re greasy and grimy (which is surprising because, presumably, nobody who is ordering here has received fries yet?), they still tap into the stupid part of my brain that lights up at a touchscreen. 

50s-Themed McDonald’s is the lesser of two evils. Here, you don’t get the sense that your rent is about to go up, but you also don’t get the rush of pure joy that a red-roofed McDonald’s would bring. You see photos of Elvis hanging all around you, and you wonder what he would order. Vanilla milkshake, probably. You see records, maybe a jukebox. Perhaps the floor is even painted in a checkerboard pattern. Every table sits between red booths that are shiny and squeaky. The fact remains, though, that this McDonald’s is still displeasing. They really missed the mark with this one; they went for the wrong decade entirely. 

If McDonald’s aims to bring back the glory of its heyday, they have to begin by bringing back the best designs from their history. I don’t know what idiot designed Gentrified McDonald’s, but they should be fired immediately without severance. Whoever designed 50s-Themed McDonald’s can stay but they’re on thin fucking ice. And as for the designer of the glorious 80s/90s McDonald’s… I hope that they get great head for having such a big brain. 

Also pls bring back breakfast all day I want pancakes soooooo bad. 

Categories: April 12, eliza ligon, reflections

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