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10/11/03 . by Rupert Cornwell . The Independent . UK
Dictionary Definition of 'McJob' is Slap in Face, says Angry Burger Boss
Poor old McDonald's. Just as the world's largest fast-food chain is trying to spruce up its image (and its profits) it has been dealt another blow - this time lexicographic.
Welcome to the world of "McJobs", defined by the latest Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary as "low paying and dead-end work". The entry is one of 10,000 additions to the latest version of the dictionary.
McDonald's is furious. Jim Cantalupo, the company's chief executive says in an open letter sent to US news organizations, that it is "an inaccurate description of restaurant employment" and a "slap in the face to the 12 million men and women" who work in the restaurant industry.
McDonald's operates 30,000 restaurants around the world. Of the men and women who own and operate them, Mr Cantalupo goes on, more than 1,000 got their start in a "McJob", serving customers.
As is often the way in America, the lawyers may shortly be involved. A McDonald's spokesman said the word "McJob" closely resembles McJobs, the company's training program for handicapped people. "McJobs is trademarked, and we've notified them that legally that's an issue for us as well," he added.
There was no word yesterday from Merriam-Webster. But the 400,000 people with "McJobs" around the world may take solace from the linguistic trajectory of "McMansion", another McDonalds-inspired word.
"McMansion" entered the lexicon a decade ago as a derogatory term for modest, standardized new homes, the architectural equivalent of the hamburger. Today, its meaning is almost the opposite - denoting those designer spreads sprouting in American suburbs, with the sole purpose of telling neighbors, "Look, I'm richer than you are."
Who knows? In 10 years' time a "McJob" may have come to mean the best work in town.