Every Wednesday we drive past the new McDonalds in Morecaster. Sophie has never been to McDonalds before which is quite an achievement for an almost 7 year old who has spent her entire life living less than 100 metres from Morecaster’s ‘Old’ McDonalds (pun intended.) Obviously the absence of this fast food international super power in our daughter’s life has less to do with her own choice and more to do with mine and Pete’s deliberate avoidance of plastic food, or as Pete likes to say, “It’s all just full of air. You need at least three Big Mac meals to feel like you’ve actually got food in your stomach!” Which says more about the size of Pete’s belly than about how filling a Big Mac is.
But now the golden archways are managing to infiltrate the shield of ignorance that has covered Sophie all her life. Framed around the brand spangly new black and brown building is freshly painted timber fencing. The large green cluster of trees on either side of the building sway in the breeze as if waving us in to the newly tarmacked car park with paper white and ruler straight lines marking the ample spaces. The restaurant looks so perfect and inviting from the outside you would almost expect the sound of a choir of angels to sing in unison as you drove through the height barrier entrance.
“Muuum? When can we go to McDonalds for tea?”
“I don’t know, Darling.” I say this because I really don’t know.
“Did you know you can get toys with your food there.”
“Really?” faigning ignorance. “Well, that’s a bit like the Subway Kids Pak isn’t it?” Trying to steer her alliance towards a fresher form of fast food.
“Yeah, but you can get Emoji movie toys from McDonalds.”
“Well, have you even seen the Emoji Movie?” This sentence came out of my mouth before I’d had a chance to stop it. I said it knowing exactly what the next thing Sophie would say.
“No!…….Muuuum?” here it comes. “Can we go see the Emoji movie?”
And so it begins. The fast and steep decline towards plastic food, trashy movies and being sucked in to the black hole of marketing, brands and commercialism.