McDonald's: Drink What We Say Or No Free Southern Chicken Sandwich

Reader “Thunderpants” says that she was in McDonald’s yesterday during their free chicken sandwich promotion. The deal: Buy a medium or large drink and the sandwich itself is on the house. For some reason, however, this particular McDonald’s declared that only soft drink purchasers qualified for sandwiches. Nothing, not even a customer who claimed to have written the actual ad copy for the promotion, could convince them otherwise.

Yesterday, McDonald’s was giving away free southern-style chicken sandwiches if you purchased a medium or large drink. I went down to the location in my office building, where there were three lines. It was busy, but nowhere near riot status.

As I stood in line, I repeatedly heard the employees telling customers that purchasing a “Sweet Tea” didn’t count for the free sandwich. Some left, some rolled their eyes and ordered a “drink” instead, but all of them were pretty peeved about it.

As it happens, someone in the line ahead of me worked for the ad agency that McDonald’s uses and said she WROTE THE AD COPY. She asked to talk to the manager, because she said that Sweet Tea was part of the promotion.

They made her wait. By the time I had ordered and was waiting for my food, two managers came out from the back looking decidedly hostile. When the ad exec tried to explain the ad to them, they immediately cut her off and shouted “No, No, No” and pretty much told her to get lost.

My curiosity was piqued, so I called McDonald’s customer service hotline to find out who was right. Guess what? The managers were completely wrong. The CSR told me “you could buy a milk chug and get a free sandwich. Any drink!” She offered me free coupons for more chicken sandwiches, but I declined because I didn’t want to give my name and address, especially since I wasn’t directly involved.

So, BOO to the local franchise managers, but way to go Customer Service Rep.



Nice investigative reporting, Thunderpants. It’s good to know that ad agency people are forces for justice, trying to keep McDonald’s honest, but it’s too bad they didn’t listen to her.

(Photo: Paxton Holley )