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The real interest of America: A Big Mac and fries
Mind your own
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"You're fired!"

The McDonald's Corporation is the world's most notorious supplier of hamburgers, although it actually makes more of its profits from real estate.[1] It was founded in its modern corporation form by a multimixer salesman named Ray Kroc, who bought the name from the McDonald brothers.[2] The corporation has generated much controversy over charges including providing unhealthy food,[3] cutting down rainforests,[4] serving coffee too hot to be safe,[5] and the McLibel case where several people were caught up in a legal battle with the giant Goliath McDonald's over pamphlets provided by London Greenpeace (at the time it did not have an affiliation with the larger Greenpeace organization) and only two of them didn't surrender: Helen Steel and David (surprise?) Morris.

Health concerns[edit]


Critics claim the fast food giant is the reason why so many Americans are obese, including children and adolescents.[6] However, the corporation claims they are going in the right directions.[7] This includes putting apples in Happy Meals and not marketing hamburgers and fries directly to children,[8] selling milk and juice as an alternative to soda and milkshakes,[9] eliminating trans fats from French fries,[10] and selling salads to adults. Despite these new innovations, critics still claim that McDonald's is a greaseball since hamburgers and fries are still the heavyweights. They also push sugary soft drinks and milkshakes to wash their food down with; this only adds to the total calorie load of a typical meal.

Still, it might be the case that McDonalds is getting unfairly picked on here, being targeted simply due to being the most successful fast food chain and thus the face of the industry. Their food is not healthy, sure, but there are far worse fast food restaurants you can eat at. Your typical Five Guys burger is literally dripping with grease, for example,[11] and a lot of American chain sit-down restaurants such as Cheesecake Factory offer much more monstrous dishes.

Mystery meat?[edit]

Over the years, there have been many urban legends about McDonald's supposedly using horse, dog, human, or whatever other kind of meat.[12] You will sometimes see YouTube videos claiming to show that McDonald's meat is made of some kind of pink slime, but these videos are all faked.[13] While their agricultural practices aren't without controversy, there's no evidence of them using any meat that's not supposed to be there.

Ball pits of doom![edit]

McDonald's used to have play areas for the kids in many of their restaurant, and perhaps the most infamous part of them were the ball pits. These had all sorts of rumors about them, allegedly being filled with drug needles,[14] venomous snakes,[15] and many diseases.[16] Of course, most of these claims are outright hoaxes; the disease thing is real but overblown, as there's no evidence that ballpits are really any more filthy than other things kids regularly come into contact with like bathrooms.[16] Still, these claims are widely credited for causing McDonald's, and many other restaurants alongside them, to remove their ball pits.[17]

How to piss off your employees and make yourself a laughingstock in the media[edit]

In 2013, as their American employees began making noises about wanting a living wage and better benefits, the brain trust at McD's corporate offices began issuing missives via their website to their employees telling them how to budget and spend their money.

  • In July, they issued hints on how employees should budget their salary. Included were $600 for rent and $150 for car payments, but nothing for gas for the car or for food.[18]
  • In November, they issued tips on how to get extra money during the holidays, such as returning gifts for cash refunds and bring sack lunches.[19]
  • In December, two weeks after the November message and on the day that McD's employees in 100 cities picketed for higher wages,[20] a message to employees was placed on the website telling them the proper way to tip au pairs, personal fitness trainers, dog walkers and pool cleaners.[21]
  • Then on 23 December came the ultimate sin — the website advised employees that junk food is bad for you. [22]
  • Realizing that they were no longer lovin' it, headquarters pulled the plug on the entire site on Christmas day. Ho ho ho![23]

Many McD's employees in the US are on public assistance, basically meaning that the federal government is subsidizing McDonald's profits. Many also work two or three jobs to survive. Others rely on parents or siblings for help. Some have even stated that they can't afford to eat at McD's on their McD's salary.[24]

Dragging an old lady through the dirt[edit]

See the main article on this topic: Liebeck v. McDonald's Restaurants


McDonald's is not universally popular outside the United States.

McDonald's is often considered a symbol of capitalism and globalization due to how it spread across the world, and it is thus of interest to many economicists and political scientists. It has gotten so big to the point that McDonald's has even been involved in a few international conflicts.

Golden Arches Theory of Conflict Prevention[edit]

In 1996, Thomas Friedman famously made the claim that "no two countries that both have a McDonald's have ever fought a war against each other", trying to suggest that a new age of global capitalism would lead to global peace. Of course, as with similar ideas such as the End of History, this turned out to be pretty naïve, as multiple wars have broken out since between countries with McDonald's, such as the NATO bombing of Serbia, the 2006 Israel-Lebanon War, the 2008 Russia-Georgia War, and the 2014 invasion of Crimea and subsequent Russian-Ukrainian War.[25] Even when he posited it, the claim wasn't true as the U.S. has invaded Panama in 1989, at which point it had already had a McDonald's.[26]

Closure in Russia[edit]

Is this place to be closed too? It's at Guantanamo Bay.

In March 8, 2022, McDonald's announced on Twitter that they would shut down Russian operations in response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.[27] This led to their former Russian franchises retooling their stores and offering localised versions of their former franchise holder's menu, namely Uncle Vanya and Vkusno i tochka (Вкусно — и точка).[28]

Complicit in Gaza genocide?[edit]

With the outbreak of Israel's 2023 invasion of Gaza, many franchises in Israel have been supportive of Israel's actions, with McDonald's Israel giving out over 100,000 free meals to IDF soldiers according to their social media posts.[29] This, alongside the fact that a Malaysian branch of McDonald's (which is actually owned by a Saudi company) tried to sue the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement for defamation, led to BDS advocating a worldwide boycott of McDonald's.[30] The main issue is that McDonald's runs on a franchise model, and cedes some control to local businesses when it expands into foreign markets. Many Middle Eastern franchises have criticised the Israeli franchise's actions and some have even donated to Gaza aid organizations,[29] but the damage in the eyes of the public has still been done, and McDonald's chief executive Chris Kempczinski has even acknowledged that boycotts (especially in the Middle East) have directly hurt their business,[31] and the backlash led McDonald's to buy all of their Israel restaurants from the previous franchise owner.[32] This is not actually the first time such a thing has happened; McDonald's was heavily criticized by Armenian groups in 2020 after a franchise in Azerbaijan posted pro-Azeri propaganda about the Nagorno-Karabakh War.[33]

See also[edit]


  1. Mcdonald’s Real Estate: How They Really Make Their Money, Wall Street Survivor 28 December 2023
  2. Our History, McDonald's
  3. 'Super-sized' teenagers sue McDonald's, The Guardian, November 24, 2002
  4. Greenpeace accuses McDonald’s of destroying the Amazon rainforest, Mongabay, April 7, 2006
  5. Is McDonald's Coffee Really Too Hot? Two New Lawsuits Say Yes, Eat this, not that!, October 23, 2021
  6. No, McDonald’s Does Not Make You Obese, CNS News, June 21, 2019
  7. McDonald's Just Made an Outrageous Claim About Its Restaurants (But Maybe It's True)Yes, this could really be true, couldn't it?, Inc., April 25, 2018
  8. Happy Meal change: Apple slices in every Happy Meal, The Christian Science Monitor, July 26, 2011
  9. McDonald's Says Bye-Bye To Sugary Sodas In Happy Meals, NPR, September 26, 2013
  10. Removing Trans Fats from McDonald’s® Famous Fries, Cargill, January 1, 2015
  11. “Greasy, Nasty burgers and fries”, Tripadvisor, October 10, 2013
  12. False claim of human meat in McDonald’s factories stems from old hoax, Ali Swenson, AP News 2020
  13. Oh, So That's What Goes Into A McDonald's Chicken McNugget, Maria Godoy, NPR 6 February 2014
  14. Heroin Needle Hoax Continues to Haunt McDonald’s Ball Pits, Ken Newquist, Nuketown 30 September 2002
  15. Snakes in the Ball Pit, Barbara Mikkelson, Snopes 17 March 2000
  16. 16.0 16.1 Bacteria! Bacteria in the Ball Pit!, Ross Pomeroy. Real Clear Science 26 February 2012
  17. This Could Be Why You Don’t See PlayPlaces in McDonald’s Anymore, Meghan Jones, Reader's Digest 28 March 2022
  18. "McDonald's finance guide 'insulting' to low-wage workers": NBC News website
  19. "McFail: McDonald’s debt advice to employees — return purchases, skip the takeout": NBC News website
  20. "Fast-food wage protests highlight shift in economy": NBC News website
  21. "McDonald's gives workers advice on tipping au pairs, trainers, dog-walkers": NBC News website
  22. "McDonald's employee site bashes fast food": NBC News website
  23. "McDonald's on employee resources site: Not lovin' it": CNN website
  24. "McDonald's Worker Says She Can't Afford to Eat at McDonald's": Bloomberg-Businessweek website
  25. The Beautiful, Dumb Dream of McDonald’s Peace Theory, Paul Musgrave, Foreign Policy 26 November 2020
  26. Have Two McDonald’s-Containing Countries Ever Been at War with Each Other?, Alex Kasprak, Snopes 1 March 2022
  28. Lucas, Amelia. "McDonald's to sell Russian business to existing Siberian licensee". CNBC. Retrieved 23 August 2022.
  29. 29.0 29.1 How McDonald’s Middle East franchises got into a public feud over Israel, Danielle Wiener- Bronner, CNN 23 October 2023
  30. McDonald’s Israel supports Gaza genocide while McDonald’s Malaysia bullies Palestine solidarity activists: Boycott McDonald’s, BDS 3 January 2024
  31. McDonald's hit by Israel-Gaza 'misinformation', BBC 4 January 2024
  32. McDonald's to buy Israel franchise from owner Alonyal, Reuters 4 April 2024
  33. Did McDonald’s in Azerbaijan Make Pro-Military Posts on Instagram?, Polygraph 28 October 2020