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‘Macdac’/’Unhappy Meal’?

Dollarburger

by Kristina Tolordava

Do you know anybody around you who has not been in Macdac at least once? Unfortunately, I do not. Why, unfortunately, I will explain throughout this paper.

I recall my childhood when Macdac was more than just fast food restaurant; it was quite a big event to go to ‘Macdac’ as we used to call it. Some were celebrating even their birthdays there, perhaps, some other particular days in their lives as well. I also remember that it was a popular place for dating and one could find there lots of couples enthusiastically sipping Coca-Cola/milkshake and more enthusiastically dealing with the variety of burgers. From being prestigious back in my country (Georgia- the Country not the US) it became actually what it is the fast food place that some may call ‘trash food’. I can’t say that I am a frequent visitor of ‘Macdac’ but whenever I feel to have some ‘trash’ food in my stomach I usually give a preference to it until some time ago when I discovered that beyond unhealthiness of the food there is more ‘cruelty’ behind it.

In this post, I will not go on talking about issues related to low salaries and long shifts the staff of Macdac has trouble with, because it is rather a different topic and needs a different approach. Instead, I will draw your attention to the issue of tax dodging.

Let’s start the topic with some basic information about Macdac’s what you simply could read on Wikipedia, but I would rather save your time and tell you shortly key facts about it. Thus, the first Macdac in Europe was opened in the Netherlands in 1971 when I guess that the regular Dutchmen was treating it as we were treating it decades later when it first opened in Tbilisi, Georgia. Now, it is not rare, it is even annoying, as you may practically find it almost everywhere, meaning everywhere, as it is operating almost in all continents excluding Antarctica for obvious objective reasons. It is one of the most famous brands with 36,000 stores serving approximately 69 million customers every day. The Macdac’s system employs 1.9 million people, making it the second largest private sector employer in the world. (http://goo.gl/mQwbLB)

Macdac has grown to become the largest fast food company in Europe, with 7,850 stores and €20.3 billion in system-wide sales in 2013. Macdac’s European division is also an important source of profits for Macdac, accounting for nearly 40 percent of the company’s operating income in 2013. (http://goo.gl/mQwbLB)

Let me share with you my current readings which has a connection with the taxes, even though, the novel itself was written a long time ago in the 1920s, but the issue is rather old than one can imagine.  So, in the novel “The Diamond as Big as the Ritz”- written by F. Scott Fitzgerald ultra-rich friend-Percy is boasting about his father’s wealth to his friend John: ‘Why haven’t they put down his father income-tax? Because, he does not pay any. At least he pays a little one—but he does not pay any on his ‘real income’- said Percy Washington to his friend John. John’s response is very logical: ‘he must be very rich’! Does not it remind you our recent ‘headache; with tax dodgers? Well, to me, it certainly does. Indeed, one may become super rich if he/she does not pay or pay a little income and/or corporate tax.

Getting back to Macdac’s, here we have figures that are even more shocking. In case of Macdac, there is an interesting research which suggests that the lost tax revenue to European governments could exceed €1.0 billion for the period from 2009 to 2013. (http://goo.gl/mQwbLB)

Yes, the figure is striking and 1 Billion of Euros sounds in my ears as an alarm or the possibility of using this money in so many other things. Especially now, when European countries and their inhabitants are challenged by the austerity and, as a result, public sector cuts, greatly affecting everybody, especially the vulnerable groups of people. The unemployment is prevailing all over the Europe and sadly, this trend is not improving, rather it is getting worse, as the youth unemployment is rising with leaving no hope even for youth for a brighter future.

Looking at Macdac’s very skeptically, I tried to ‘google’ a bit in order to find something positive. Here is what I found which is not exactly what I was searching for. Have you heard about quite strange theory proposed by Thomas Friedman: people in Macdac’s countries “don’t like to fight wars. They like to wait in line for burgers.” (http://goo.gl/L3zGH2)

Well, unfortunately, he was utterly wrong in his theory.

So, the logic is that ‘countries with middle classes large enough to sustain a Macdac’s have reached a level of prosperity and global integration that makes warmongering risky and unpalatable to its people. No country with a Macdac’s outlet, the theory contends, has ever gone to war with another?! (http://goo.gl/L3zGH2)

Really? Seriously?

Although, the following wars: Lebanon war 2006, The Russia-Georgia conflict 2008, earlier US invasion of Panama 1989 and NATO’s bombing of Serbia 1999 –has finally blown this theory out of the water.

What if it was true? None of countries’ would invade the other where the Macdac operates? Imagine the Macdac as a ‘peacekeeper’ or perhaps it would be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize?! You probably think that I am too much exaggerating and fantasizing. Well, I think you are right, but one should not forget some controversial winners of Nobel Peace Prize such as Henry Kissinger who was accused of war crimes for his alleged role in America’s secret bombing of Cambodia between 1969 and 1975 or Yasser Arafat who was often affiliated with terrorism and other crimes. In addition, Cordell Hull and his role that caused the ship carrying almost 1000 Jews during WWII to return to Germany and other winners whom I will not mention as those three well-known people are enough to imagine unimaginable. (http://goo.gl/laUbTl)

To conclude, let me share my recent but unplanned visit to Macdac. Not long time ago during the meeting with my acquaintance in Macdac where I was asked whether I am going to have something there so I modestly yet proudly replied: ‘oh no, I have a sort of protest against it, but please enjoy it! I am not judging you anyhow’. My acquaintance apologetically continued eating and saying that she does not often visit it.

I wonder, what are your thoughts about it? Do you agree or perhaps you have better ideas how to deal with the products we used to consume but which do not meet our moral standards? Shall we simply spread the word about the issue or disregard the product? Well, I, personally decided to do both and as for you, my dear reader, the decisions what you, me, they make –it is mine, yours and their decision. What is more, I truly believe that it is possible to change the habit because it is simply up to us.

No, I’m not lovin’ it! Definitely, no!

 

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