Saturday, November 12, 2011

McDonalds in Ukraine

Watch. When you see the crowd, you will understand exactly what I mean :p

BTW, this is not my video. You can find it on YouTube under "McDonalds in Kyiv, Ukraine". Yesterday afternoon. 1 PM. A woman pulls out a McDonalds hamburger on the metro. A cheeseburger actually, and it looks plain, just the way I prefer. There something insidious and tempting about McDonalds.....We're conditioned like Pavlov's dogs. I can go for three months without thinking about it once and then the moment I see an ad the thought plants itself in my head and within 24-48 hours, just like the flu, the symptoms are undeniable. I must eventually break down and go. In my defense, though, my immune system is pretty good. I've been here 3 months and this is only the 2nd time I've had a meal there. Let's see- the last time I wrote about McDonalds, we talked about how there can be up to 7 cashiers to take your order, and about how you stand at the front by the cash register and wait for your food while the people behind you either shout orders over your shoulder or shove up next to you. Some new observations:
  • Seating: seating is a free-for-all, and you are expected to share any available space with the rest of society. If you and a friend are sitting at a 4-person table, soon enough you'll be joined by 2 strangers, I guarantee it. In fact, I noticed one particular booth filled with 3 different parties: a single man, a grandma/daughter/granddaughter and mom/dad/daughter. All apparently unrelated, just shoved together by fate. To an American, this feels a little weird, because we're not used to having strangers in our space. I will even venture that in the states, people hardly share tables at all. It would just feel strange. But, when in Rome....
  • McDonalds gives you jeans!!!! I repeat, McDonalds gives you jeans! I saw an employee taking out the trash and his McDonalds belt caught my eye. For a brief moment I thought "Wow, now there's dedication to your job." and then I realized- he was wearing a stylish pair of blue jeans with the McDonalds M stitched on the back. Yes, as in a uniform. (In the states employees wear ugly black pants.)
  • No free ketchup. You must buy it, it being a little tub. My ketchup addiction was not amused.
  • Trying to special order something is like trying to train a cat to make you a hamburger- it's just not going to happen. Every time we try this they look at us in utter confusion: what, no onion? you don't want onions? And then I'll unwrap the hamburger they gave me and see lots of onions... but no pickles :p 
  • For more, check out my follow-up entry on McDonalds in Ukraine
A metro ad for McDonalds. McDonalds is a popular place for kids / birthday parties here. It says "A McDonalds birthday? A child's dream!"

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