Here is today’s Citizen of the Month’s word of the day: Procrastination.
For some reason, I have a feeling that many of you are familiar with this word.
There are different levels of procrastination. Watching the pre-Golden Globes Award Show rather than doing your bills is a mild form of procrastination. You can rationalize it by saying “everyone else is doing it.” Other forms of procrastination are more embarrassing, like downloading videos from wet-tshirtvideos.com.
My form of procrastination today occurred during lunch. It began when I went to McDonald’s. Why did I go to McDonald’s? After all, I live in the land of 1000 Fast Food Restaurants, and I went to boring ol’ McDonald’s. The reason I went to the Golden Arches has less to do with today’s word of the day, procrastination, than with last week’s words of the day: laziness and indecisiveness.
Once in McDonald’s, I felt guilty for just being there. Most of their menu is just crap. Last time I was there, I tried to be “healthy,” but I was not impressed with their bland chicken sandwich. I decided to “be good” and order a salad, but the DOLLAR menu was beckoning to me like a cheap hooker.
“Why spend over four dollars on a salad when you can buy a hamburger for $1!” the dollar menu said to me. “Do you have money to throw away? Think how proud your family will be when they learn you had lunch for $1!”
I went to the counter and ordered a hamburger.
“Is that all?” snapped the teenager girl behind the counter.
I noticed other customers looking at me with unfriendly glances, as if they were thinking, “What type of freak ONLY orders a $1 hamburger?”
“Would you like a fries and a drink?” the teenager asked.
I caved in to the pressure.
“Uh, I’ll have a coffee.”
“Coke or Diet Coke?”
This is not the first time that someone outside of New York City didn’t understand me when I said “kawfee.”
“A cup of cof-fee” I said in my best midwestern anchorman voice.
“Is that it? Would you like something else?”
This girl was relentless. Are McDonald’s employees taught to bug you until you order THREE items?
I quickly scanned the board and randomly ordered McDonald’s Fruit and Walnut Salad, which cost me about two dollars.
Here is what Wikipedia has to say about McDonald’s Fruit and Walnut Salad:
The fruit and walnut salad is a fruit dish sold in US branches of global fast-food chain McDonald’s. It was launched by famous tennis player Venus Williams in May 2005 , and is part of their move towards creating a healthier image.
The ingredients are seedless grapes, apple slices, candied walnuts and low-fat vanilla yogurt. Including the walnuts, it has 330 calories. The apple slices are dipped in the preservative calcium ascorbate, a compound of calcium and vitamin C, in order to keep them crisp and prevent them losing color and flavor. Calorie-count.com rates its good points as: very low in cholesterol, low in sodium, and very high in vitamin C, and its bad point as “very high in sugar”.
US apple producers welcomed the expected extra demand for their products. McDonald’s announced that it expected to require 54 million pounds (25 million kg) of apples per year. The move makes them the largest food-service customer for apple producers.
McDonald’s corporation has now switched to the Snack Size Fruit & Walnut Salad, a much smaller version than the original salad.
So, apparently, what I received was not the original salad, but the new “snack size” fruit and walnut salad.
I’m not the type who complains in restaurants, if you can call McDonald’s a “restaurant,” but this fruit and walnut salad was a major disappointment, not because of the taste, but because of the size of the product. The “salad” was literally 1/2 of a sliced apple, five grapes, a teeny-tiny plastic bag of candied walnuts, and three tablespoons of yogurt. If I really wanted small-size entrees, I’ll go to some fancy French restaurant, not to McDonald’s.
This fruit and walnut salad was really beginning to piss me off. This is what they pass off as something healthy? I could put together this crappy “salad” in two minutes, and it would cost 1/4 the price. I tried to forget all about it. My plan was to do some writing in McDonald’s, but as I ate my lunch, my mind kept on focusing on back on this wimpy fruit and walnut salad. It began to represent something BIGGER than just a cheap fruit salad at a fast-food joint. It became a symbol of how all of us have been cheated and ripped-off by too many people too many times!
Of course, some might wonder if I really was THAT upset about this fruit and walnut salad? OR was I using it as an way to PROCRASTINATE and not do my work? You make the call!
“I wonder how much profit they’re making on this fruit and walnut salad.” I asked myself. There was only one way to find out. I counted exactly how many pieces of each “healthy item” were in the plastic container and walked over to Ralph’s Supermarket to find the truth out for myself. Take that John Stossel!
With pen in hand, I started my research in the fruit section. Delicious Apples were selling for $1.49 a pound. I threw one apple onto the scale so I could figure out the exact cost of a 1/2 apple. I stood there a few moments, trying to figure out the math in my head, but luckily I remembered that my cell phone had a calculator.
Figuring out the correct price for six grapes was more difficult, and required some mathematical equations that I hadn’t used since the ninth grade. It’s also surprisingly time-consuming to count how many grapes are in a bunch without losing track of the numbers.
Next, I divided the cost of a box of candied walnuts by 1/12th.
The cost of three tablespoons of yogurt was the most confusing.
Luckily, a friendly Ralph’s Supermarket employee came by and asked “Can I help you with anything?”
“Yes, you can.” I answered. “How much would you guess three tablespoons of yogurt would cost?”
At first, he thought I was just crazy, but his attitude changed when I explained what I was doing.
“Hey, it’s great you’re doing this. My wife once ordered that fruit and walnut salad in McDonald’s. What a rip-off! She went back to eating Big-Macs. At least with a Big Mac, they give you some food! This is an important issue that affects us all. You should write this in the Los Angeles Times!”
(Do you hear that Los Angeles Times? Tough luck, suckers. You rejected me last time. This hot story is going right to the Washington Post!)
The result: McDonald’s makes a enormous profit through their Fruit and Walnut Salad. And that’s not even including the discount they must get by buying in bulk.
Thanks, Jim from the Ralph’s Supermarket in Hermosa Beach for your assistance in the expose!
I arrived home from lunch two hours later. I was exhausted from all my hard research and thought I deserved to take a nap.
Which I did.
A Year Ago on Citizen of the Month: The Toothbrush