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Is it McDonald’s Fault We’re Fat?

Robyn Openshaw, MSW - Nov 02, 2010 - This Post May Contain Affiliate Links

You don’t have to look too far to find a photo of me at age 17 in my   McDonald’s uniform, thanks to a friend who has kept that for over 25 years. Let me say this: I HATE McDONALD’S. It’s the very worst of Americana.

But I respect the free enterprise system that brought it to us. I’m leaving in a minute to go to the poll and cast my vote. Which reminds me, WE, and only WE, are to blame for whatever you think is wrong with the world.  Liberal Democrats in power, the fast-food diet, or whatever’s bothering you? Ultimately, accountability lies with the public.

This is what I mean. You don’t like Barack Obama? (Or George W. Bush, if you prefer to insert that name–or whoever you blame American problems on.)  Obama wouldn’t be there if folks hadn’t been willing to vote for him, knowing full well his  beliefs  center on government solutions to all problems–i.e.,  lots of government spending even as we’re trillions of dollars in debt. We got exactly what we wanted. You don’t like fast-food companies and what they’ve done to our health? They wouldn’t be there if American tastes hadn’t demanded them.

My point is, politicians and companies are simply outgrowths of our tastes. We are accountable for them. We created them. We solve the problems at the grass roots level only.

I just read in the paper today that a McDonald’s manager in Sao Paolo, Brazil,  just won $17,500 in a suit against his employer, for making him gain 65 lbs. Because he had free lunches and “had” to taste the food.

I really hate when accountability lands somewhere else besides where it belongs. As a mom, I’m always alert to my children finding someone else to blame  for a bad grade, a bad day, a damaged relationship, or the consequences of a bad choice.  

Granted, we are impacted by others’ choices, and not everything is within our “locus of control” (google that phrase,  and Rotter, to take a simple test and learn about how folks view their lives  on a continuum of  external or internal control).

And granted, almost anyone would have a hard time not gaining weight working at McDonald’s. It’s easy, and it’s default, to eat there when you work there. (I know because I ate there myself, in high school–though I have never purchased food there once since then.)

But you don’t have to work there. And you don’t have to eat there either. You can take your own lunch. You do have a choice.

I don’t think McDonald’s losing these lawsuits is any big tragedy since that franchise does a lot of world-wide damage to waistlines, heart health, and the environment. But I think an obese fast-food manager can’t expect McD’s to fix his problems, even if he blames them for causing them, and isn’t that the point? That $17,500 isn’t going to make him fit, healthy, or happy.

If you work in an office with many temptations, then I highly recommend you take your quart of green smoothie, and something else that’s highly nutritious, to work every day. If  you already went to the trouble of making it, you’re more likely to eat it.

Posted in: Uncategorized

4 thoughts on “Is it McDonald’s Fault We’re Fat?”

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  1. We need to “act and not be acted upon” I have heard that a lot lately and I think it fits with this post! By the way I got out and voted MY CONSCIENCE! Complaining won’t help anything but doing something will! Thanks again Robyn for continuing to inspire us!

  2. Anonymous says:

    First, I like what you are doing with your general mission here. But, I’m sorry it seems you’re wandering around here a bit lost. I do think lawsuits, such as ‘I bought this Hot coffee and it burned me’ are off-track. But I’m not sure you thought through the logic completely on the McDonald’s manager and the lawsuit. He was taking responsibility and at this point trying to use the law to potentially correct for others in the future a mistake he (and his employer) made. That is why some things are regulated. You just can’t say “I’ll take responsibility for EVERYTHING I do” How would that logic work on say – driving a car on the highway. Does there NOT on occasion need to be a greater good? A ceding of responsibility?

  3. Anonymous says:

    Terrific post, Robyn!

  4. Anonymous says:

    Great post Robin… and I do bring my green smoothies to work with me!

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