- McSpotlight -

A note to all

Posted by: Steve ( USA ) on July 16, 1999 at 01:30:31:

I would like to dispense a few of my own opinons about much of the debate on this site. First, I agree with the initial premise. That is, getting people to form opinions about social issues, and defend those opinions. That in itself is commendable. There is nothing wrong with good, healthy debate! Obviously you have reached a number of people.

But there are a few ideas being thrown about on this site that I must disagree with. The first and most grating comment(to me) is the idea that McDonald's exploits the working class. I know many people who have worked their way up in McDonald's and either a.) still work for the corp. in HIGH paying jobs or b.) own their own stores. How is that exploitation? I also know a number of folks who used McDonald's as a stepping stone to somehting bigger. I myself started out as a crew person and worked my way up to Restaurant Manager. I am leaving this fall to pursue an MBA. This job got me into b-school. My undergraduate grades sucked, and so did my test scores. Could someone explain to me how this is exploitation?

If McDonald's does exploit its workers, why are there so many success stories? (A side note: Most McDonald's restaurants hire at quite a bit higher than minimum wage. In fact, there is a store in my area that is hiring at $10.00/hr.)Don't factory jobs exploit the working class more? At least McDonald's pushes people to succeed. I see factories in my town that lay-off people off every other week. Then they re-hire those same people(who couldn't fond jobs elsewhere)two months later. Isn't that exploitation? Exploiting the fact that they have no education and are unemployable elsewhere? McDonald's advertises OPPORTUNITY and delivers just that, factories do not. If you want to talk about exploitation, was it not Nike that was running( or still is) sweat shops in the far east?

Secondly, and sort of along the same lines, have any of you bothered to look in your community and see how involved McDonald's is? Who provides college scholarships to graduating high school seniors? McDonald's. Who provides for free child immunizations? McDonald's. Who sponsor Red Ribbon Week or D.A.R.E. programs in your community? Probably McDonald's. Who pushes high school aged kids to be more responsible? McDonald's. (unforunately many parents today do not.) Who provides for children who are deathly ill? Ronald McDonald Children's Charities. Which businesses get involved with Boy Scouts, Girls Scouts, Explorers, High School Math Clubs, High School sports, Little Leagues and children's soccer leagues? McDonald's. I think you get the point. McDonald's is always involved in their communities. ALWAYS. It is one of our most sacred premises.

Now, I am going to be responsible and talk a bit more about( and somewhat agree with) one of your points. First, we do cater to children. I will absolutely, positively admit that. But let me ask you this, What business doesn't? Toys'R'Us does. Disney does( and practically every theme park for that matter.) The idea is the same in these businesses too. Cater to the kids, so they will annoy parents into buying our product. I read a book recenlty, in which the author said, "the way to mommy's pocket book is through the kids" or something like that.( and it was someone outside McDonald's, I wish I could remember who) Granted this is a product of the capitalist society, and I understand that you may not care for that society, but what are our choices, if not capitalism? Capitalism gives us many things in this country, don't toss it out yet.

It's funny, usually I don't get into this type of thing, but I couldn't pass up the opportunity to add my two cents. My point is, before you go out and dispense ideas about McDonald's, research it a little more. Much of what I have written about here is right in your own community. Check it out. Go to a McDonald's and ask someone. Make up your own minds. Do your own research people. BE RESPONSIBLE. That's just my opinion, I could be wrong!(Dennis Miller). By the way McSpotlight, thanks for providing this venue for offering my opinion.

McSpotlight: Thanks for your opinion, but we can't agree. In brief (and we'll probably leave any further replies to other debaters, otherwise checking the messages and putting them up on site takes too long):

Although this website is focused on McDonald's, other companies are criticised too, as is the way society is currently run for the benefit of a few (i.e. capitalism). Obviously McDonald's are not the only company which exploit their workforce, in fact its pretty much par for the course in this society. The fact that a few people manage to claw their way to the top and become exploiters themselves does not change the fact that the majority of the workers are always destined to be paid low wages, and have poor working conditions - that's the only way the company can keep the profits rolling in for the shareholders.

If it's so great working for McDonald's why is the staff turnover so high? Why don't most people stick with the company for most of their lives? The reality is that most of the workers have little or no choice about working there, its the only way to survive and as soon as they can find something better, or manage in some other way, they get out.

As for all the so called 'community acts' these are basically cheap advertising for the company, only they work better than advertising, because a lot of people are fooled into thinking that the company is doing it for altruistic reasons, and therefore their view of the company is raised. Company executives admitted as much during the McLibel trial. Most companies also get tax breaks on so called 'charitable activities', so there's even more advantage to this ploy. If McDonald's was 'giving' all this charity for altruistic reasons, why does it have to have the company name and logo plastered all over everything?

All that going into schools, youth clubs, scouts, guides etc, it's great isn't it, children as sitting ducks for corporate advertising, and no, the company is not a good influence, not by a long shot. It's encouraging children to eat more high fat junk food, which increases their chances of an early death from heart disease etc. It's encouraging them to consume more overpackaged goods which are bad for the environment, and it's encouraging them to assume that the way the company treats its workforce is normal and acceptable, rather than exploitative and reprehensible.

You basically agree that children are being exploited, but then ask what other choices are there. It's hard to picture things differently when we've all been stuck in this type of society all our lives, and are told that it's in our best interests and there's no real alternative. But capitalism has not been around for ever, people have been around a lot lot longer. With all the ingenuity and creativity that people all around the world have, it certainly wouldn't be beyond us to work out ways of solving the problems that we'll face on the way to creating a society where people have control of their own lives and communities, and treat each other and the environment with respect.

The hard part will be the transition, because when you've been taught all your life to obey authority, making decisions for yourself with others can seem a scary responsibility, when you've been told you and your family are what you should worry about and provide for, to start sharing things with other people will seem alien (even though it'll mean they'll be sharing things with you too), and when you've been taught all your life that there is no alternative to the way things are, then finding and working with alternatives is bound to be scary.
But if we don't start to create a new society, then we'll be stuck with exploitation and oppression forever, people dying of starvation, people with no home, children being manipulated by companies, pollution in our rivers and on our land, society becoming more violent, more devastating weapons etc etc etc.
Isn't that more scary? I know I'd rather try for something better.

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