And Hold the Hashbrowns!

In Cynthia’s letter we find that sometimes, a “Small Breakfast,” can be a big deal.

Have to say I share your take on Morgan Spurlock, but after this morning’s breakfast misadventure at my local McDonalds, I might change my mind. Maybe there IS a conspiracy to hook us all on high-fat foods…

We like her letter because its fun and amusing and in the end, the hash browns win, though, not without a fierce fight.

How far will you go to protect your rationalized, high-calorie breakfast decision?

    “For years, I’ve balanced guilt over fat and cholesterol against raging mid-morning hunger by settling for what MickeyDees used to call a “Small Breakfast”. It’s the Big Breakfast–biscuit, eggs, sausage and hash browns–without the hash browns. Total cost was only about $.80 cents cheaper than the Big Babaloo, but I could persuade myself that I was merely committing strategic assault on my coronary arteries, not launching mass destruction. (Self-deception, God love it, is a powerful friend.)

    For a long, long time, ordering my Small Breakfast was a no-brainer. There was a key labeled “Small Breakfast” right there on the keypad, and even if the kid in the trainee hat couldn’t find it, I could usually peep over the top and point to the right place. Trainee Hat pushes the key, I pay my $3.25, all’s right with the world.

    Trouble entered paradise a few months ago. I got a blank eye-blink when I chirped, “Small Breakfast, please!” McD’s had removed the key! A manager was called, I explained that “It’s the Big Breakfast but without the hash browns …” and Trainee Hat was instructed in an esoteric keystroke sequence that would give me my Small Breakfast at the old price point.

    So, my spiel got longer. Instead of a smart “Small Breakfast, please!”, I had to drone out something like, “Okay, what I want is what you used to call a Small Breakfast, and it’s a Big Breakfast without the hash browns ….” and two times out of three, a manager had to be called over, but I got my Small Breakfast at the right discount.

    Not anymore.

    This morning, I stepped up to the counter to start the process, made it through to the “call a manager” stage, only to have the manager tell me, in these words, “We can only sell you the Small Breakfast if you buy the Big Breakfast”.

    In other words, to get a Small Breakfast, I have to buy a Big Breakfast, and pay for a Big Breakfast, but they keep the hash brown, which makes it a Small Breakfast.

    I boggle. “But I’ve been buying this for years!”

    “Not anymore. You have to buy the Big Breakfast”, says the manager.

    So I buy the Big Breakfast. That’s what my receipt shows: the Big Breakfast at the Big Price. They keep the hash brown, and by my lights, about $.80 of my money.

    Next time, I’ll just buy the damned Big Breakfast, walk to the trash, and toss the hash brown. At least they’ll be out something for my money.

    Better than than let the Clown win …



Edit Your Comment

  1. TedSez says:

    Yes, it’s a dumb policy…. But you’d do better to throw out the biscuit, since it actually has more fat and calories than the hash browns.

    Actually, this entire meal is a nutritional disaster, as it contains more than half its calories from fat. Doesn’t McDonald’s have some kind of fruit and yogurt dish now? Even ordering two Egg McMuffins will give you a slightly better nutritional profile than what you’re getting now (with a little over a third of their calories from fat, and no trans-fats).

    Better yet, if you care about your body, eat somewhere else.

  2. Papercutninja says:

    But…the hash browns are the ONLY REASON I GO TO MCDONALDS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. Hooray4Zoidberg says:

    Let me regale you with a small tale from my days working at McDucks during High School. This tale ultimatley ends with a handy tip, skip to the bottom if you don’t feel like reading my lengthy drivel.

    Our store was running a promo where Quarter Pounder’s were 2 for $2. This woman had bought 2 Quarter Pounders for $2 and then some time later she decided that she didn’t want to eat the second Quarter Pounder. Most people would simply just toss it figuring they got it for free anyways, but this woman wasn’t about to waste food by throwing out. She came up to me at the counter, explained that she had decided she didn’t really want the other burger an asked to return it. She wanted to return an hour old cheesebuger!

    This just seemed like an insane request to me. Until that day I had been under the assumption that cheeseburgers sold at McDonald’s was sold “as is” or at least for exchange only in the event that it’s made incorrectly. But there was nothing wrong with this burger, she just didn’t want to eat it. It’s not like we could just put it back on the shelves like a returned movie, so why would we refund her money?

    Naturally I laughed at this silly woman for trying to return a burger, but I said I’d ask the manager because I’m a nice guy. Much to my surprise the manager refunded the entire cost of the burger at pre sale pricing $2.25 without even hesitating, like it was a totally normal request. In the end the woman basically made $.25 and got a free cheeseburger since she only paid $2 in the first place.

    The Tip? It’s possible to return fast food. Don’t just toss the Hash Browns, return them individually at $.89 a piece. This way you recoup half the cost of the Big Breakfast while making a bold statement on policy that will likley go unoticed by the employees or anyone other than you. But at least you’ll get some money back.

    Have Fun ;)

  4. Timbojones says:

    Oh honey, please, please start eating food for breakfast. We’re all pulling for you.

  5. ModerateSnark says:

    Hooray for Hooray4Zoidberg‘s tip. But if you see a hungry crustacean monster hanging around the McD dumpster, feed the hashbrowns to it instead.

    Woop woop woop!

  6. matto says:

    She lost as soon as she walked into McD’s- hashbrowns or no hashbrowns.

  7. LLH says:

    wow, i think she’s lost to the clown anyway. that’s WAY to much effort for the greasey crack-like substances. i guess that’s what happens when you brain cells become mcwired.

  8. OkiMike says:

    Why not take the hashbrown and offer it to one of the many vagrants sitting outside.

  9. Smoking Pope says:

    You wanna know why I avoid McD’s (and other fast food joints) like the plague? Because the staff is primarily teenagers, and this results in things like the following:


    The local McDonald’s in my home town employed a good friend of mine who told me this story (confirmed by others) when we were both in high school.

    A customer came up to the counter and asked for a refund on a Big Mac because “it tastes funny”. The customer didn’t want another Big Mac, just her money. About to leave, she told the manager, “I think it’s the lettuce.”

    The manager went to investigate and the lettuce on the line looked ok, but he decided to be thorough and go into the back and look in that huge bucket of lettuce they keep in case they get invaded by gigantic rabbits.

    What he found caused him to call every single employee into the back. “I want an answer, and I want it right now. Who did it?” When the question was met with blank stares, the manager solemnly informed everyone that “someone defecated into the lettuce”. This statement was met with great hilarity.

    I don’t avoid McDonald’s because of the incident with the lettuce. I avoid it because of the reaction. Any demographic that finds poo in food to be hilarious is a demographic that I don’t want serving me food.

  10. non-meat-stick says:

    I say you open the bag and throw the hashbrowns at the manager and say have a great day as you walk away. See how long it takes for them to keep this up.