December 04, 2008

Lovin' It

There are a few things about my job I really enjoy. As of this week, I've been able to visit the trifecta of big fast food chains, which are part of the fabric of American culture and which served as a major dietary source for much of my childhood.

This week I had a meeting with the final of the Big Three, McDonald's. I was somehow most excited about this one, partially because it seemed like our pitch was actually going to be successful. I'd already met with Burger King in Miami, who served us ICEES and cookies and gave us kids' meal toys, as well as Wendy's in Dublin, OH, where the office restrooms looked exactly like the restaurant restrooms, right down to the soap dispensers.

As we approached McDonald's corporate headquarters in Oak Brook, IL, about 15 minutes from the Chicago O'Hare airport, I felt right at home. The concrete tower - probably constructed in the late 60s or early 70s - is situated in the middle of an industrial park, right next to a mall that houses a gigantic McDonald's restaurant in their parking lot. There's nothing outside of the McDonald's tower that indicates what's inside: it's dark and gray, cold, with an iced-over patio that's chained-off for the winter. But when we entered the lobby, we were greeted with the mysterious smells from the McCafe and a sign for the McStylist salon, where I was half-tempted to get a shave-and-a-haircut.

Upstairs, the elevator bank was glowing with a lit-up menu board like the ones you find behind the counter in the restaurants, as well as gigantic reproductions of Happy Meal boxes and other signage and memorabilia.

We were invited to get a McDonald's coffee from the beverage bar, which helped calm my nerves during our actual presentation.

Ronald McDonald didn't stop by our meeting, nor did the Hamburglar, but despite their absence, it went well. I was also hoping for a big basket of fries in the middle of the conference table, but I guess their employees can't just pig out all day while running that huge corporation. And with that in mind, thank God they didn't give us any Apple Dippers.

To be honest, I'd love to work for a company like that, but maybe the novelty would wear off pretty quickly. And since I was the person that craved fries after watching Super Size Me, I don't know if I could handle the constant temptation...

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