Wednesday, September 26, 2012

A Deep Confession of the McWorst Variety

I can't believe I'm willing to put this confession in writing, for it is shameful and embarassing, but here goes:

I love Monopoly at McDonald's.

Let me make this very clear; I realize McDonald's is quite possibly the root of all evil for more ways than I can even count.

1.  The food is made of horrible ingredients, both healthwise and from an ethical standpoint (those ain't free range McNuggets!)

2.  The very fast food model McDonald's "created" is quite possibly directly linked to heart disease, diabetes, obesity... etc, etc.

3. Salt, salt, salt. 

I get it, I get it...  McDonald's is evil, you can read all about that here.  

I'm not proud of it, you guys.  But it's the truth. And let me explain how it happened.

I ate McDonald's sporadically throughout the course of my life, as often the track team would stop at McDonald's for cheap post-meet meals, etc.  My ex, despite being a National running champion and now doctor, ate at McDonald's all the time, and I was often with him when we did.  Needless to say, I've had a few french fries in my life and I can pretty well describe every vegetarian option they've ever had (and quickly done away with). 

From 2004-ish to 2010, I can honestly say I did not step into a McDonald's even once. Why would I need to?  I didn't eat meat, I require copious amounts of vegetables at every meal, and living in this beautiful city means there are delicious restaurants on every block of every street with food more healthy, delicious, and even CHEAPER than McDonald's.   Living in Mt. Pleasant, especially, you would never need to go to McDonald's.

Fast forward to Fall 2011.  We moved to the West End.  Nestled at Cardero and Davie, as well as Bidwell and Robson, are two McDonald's locations.  I swore I'd never go in.

One early morning that Fall, Aias woke up painfully early.  When 7am rolled around, I was ready to take him outside. I desperately needed a coffee.  Delany's, Waves, Blenz, Starbucks... NONE OF THEM WERE OPEN!!!  Where do you get a coffee around here at 7am, my word!

Then I saw it. McDonald's.  It was teeming with elderly and people with young babies.  I stepped in.  I bought a small coffee and an oatmeal.  It happened to be Monopoly.  I peeled off my stickers and I had won a coffee and a cheeseburger.   It felt stupidly awesome.

Every morning after that, I popped in to McDonald's to get myself a coffee and an oatmeal.  My little map started to fill up.  It was a simple daily pleasure in the life for a SAHM. Would I win a vacation? No. But I didn't know that at the time, and I sure wanted to.   Oatmeal and coffee was cheap, and wasn't really that unhealthy either.  Aias didn't have any interest in the food there so I wasn't concerned about that either (Morgan basically made me swear an oath that food from McDonald's would never pass our child's lips. I've broken the oath since then, but not too often!).

The funny thing about it all, is that I'm horribly embarrassed that I even go into McDonald's at all. It is totally against everything I feel like I'm generally about, and while I know it's not ideal, for some reason, I just can't quit it.  I go in quickly, with my head down, trying not to make eye contact.  I think sometimes I even look around for people I know, making sure no one sees me go into McDonald's. When I leave with my coffee, I sort of wrap my hand around the label in hopes that no one will notice where it's from. Ridiculous, right?  We all have our vices I suppose. Whenever I see someone in there that I know, I'm partially embarrassed, and partially relieved: we share the same dark secret.  What's funny in this neighbourhood is that the McDonald's patrons are the same people who do most of their shopping at Whole Foods and eat generally healthy diets, I suppose that's a good thing!  Balance, people. Balance. 

So the stupid marketing gimmick of McDonald's Monopoly totally roped me in.  I'm weak to that sort of crap sometimes I guess.  After Monopoly ended, I quit McD's cold turkey, only to return with copious amounts of free coffee coupons or when they offered something for free.  Once we were on the Canada line and we went to the McDonald's on Marine Drive for a Kid's Meal and to use the play area because it was that or let my energetic kid run circles in the wet parking lot on a rainy day.  Aias has since then developed a passion for hashbrowns and fries, but those are a special "sometime" food that I'm sure is offset by the fact that he will probably breastfeed until he's 30.

I walked by McDonald's today (hence the inspiration of this post) and saw that Monopoly is on again.  I was somewhat heartbroken that they no longer put the game pieces on oatmeal, and in fact, the only thing they put game pieces on that I'd actually buy is the coffee.  But I'll totally be there buying it, hoping to collect enough pieces to win a vacation.  I'll win lots of food items I don't actually eat, and I'll happily pass them on to people who do.

If you will be playing McDonald's Monopoly in Canada this time around, whether you our in or out of the closet about it, here are some free Mcdonald's monopoly codes you can enter at www.playatmcd.ca to try and win their sweepstakes:

"MCDMONOPOLY", "SWEEPSATMCD", "PLYMONOPOLY", "MCDFREECODE", "MONOPOLYFUN", "GOMCDONALDS", "PLAYITATMCD", "GOPLAYATMCD", "CODEFORPLAY", "TRYMONOPOLY", "PLAYFORFREE". 



 
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