Tag: McDonald’s

On the Fate of Communities in America

 

I was watching the film Picnic (1955) the other day which stars William Holden, Kim Novak, Rosalind Russell, Arthur O’Connell, Cliff Robertson and others. It’s one of my favorites. For those who haven’t seen it, a restored, high-definition version is available and sometimes makes the rounds on Turner Classic Movies. The story, for those unfamiliar with it, takes place in a rural community smack dab in the middle of what we now call flyover country. It was shot in various locations in Kansas, and centers around the arrival of, Hal Carter, played by William Holden, a star college school football player who comes in search of his college roommate looking for a chance to start again after a series of missteps and trouble with the law after college in the wider world beyond.

Holden’s Hal Carter, is a restless spirit, frustrated and angry at times, lost, but occasionally exhibiting a self-deprecating sense of humor, recognizing his own shortcomings. He has the idea that he can become successful if he’s just given a chance, but also has the naïve notion that perhaps he can also do so by skipping a few steps. Before looking up his old friend, Alan Benson, played by Cliff Robertson, the wealthy son of the wealthiest agribusiness owner in the town, Hal has a chance encounter with Benson’s girlfriend, Madge Owens, played by Kim Novak, and is immediately smitten. The contentious love triangle and other sub-themes (or B stories) fill out the plot of the film. One of the other storylines involves an old maid schoolteacher, played by Rosalind Russell, in arguably the best role of her career. Her desperation for marriage shifts into high gear and becomes hysterical and then delusional (helped a bit by several snorts of rye whiskey) from Howard Bevans, played by Arthur O’Connell who is fearful of losing the independence of his prolonged bachelorhood.

The many messages about life, love, and the restless American spirit that Inge’s play explores, and the amazing performances by the actors, are worth exploring further. But what struck me on this most recent viewing of the film is the lengthy sequence, montage really, around the festivities of the rural community’s Labor Day picnic, using hundreds of locals from Halstead, Kansas who are engaged in a series of races, sing-alongs, talent contests, pie-eating contests, complemented with crying babies and tired folks fanning themselves in the hot sun while watching a musical group on stage. The picnic sequence, for the most part, documents an actual picnic with only the narrative of the film framing it on either end. It’s a chronicle that gives us a glimpse of the community’s personalities and dynamics in an America perhaps quickly receding from our public consciousness and seen now from the perspective of Americans today in communities still reeling or still contending with COVID lockdowns, irrational mask mandates, hysteria, confrontation, public friction, riots, shaming by elected leaders (mayors and governors), accusations, and purported victimization by imagined oppressors. For those of us who experienced something akin to what the picnic scene in the film depicts, it beckons to us. For those too young or too sheltered to have witnessed something akin to what is shown, how much poorer are their lives and how much emptier their future?

Member Post

 

Okay, I am going to tell a little slice of life story. I am going to leave out a few details which you must guess to fill out the story. I was in the drive-thru line at a McDonalds.  A customer ahead of me in line was shouting at the speaker, “Do you have an […]

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Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America are pleased to see conservative priorities in Pres. Trump’s budget, even though they concede the final appropriations will look nothing like this.  They also shake their heads as John McCain accuses anyone opposing NATO membership for Montenegro of doing Vladimir Putin’s bidding.  And they react to a tweet from the McDonald’s account that slams Pres. Trump.

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They recently installed self-serve kiosks in my local McDonalds, where I dine far more often than I probably should.   So far, I’ve eaten there four times since the machines were installed and I haven’t noticed a reduction in staff, merely a mighty improvement in service. Before the machines, the ordering process was an unholy mess. Nobody […]

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Unhappy Meal: The Problem with McDonald’s

 

I recently had the chance to hear from the Senior Director, Supply Chain Management, Quality Systems for McDonald’s. I include the whole title because I’m a sadist, and also because it perfectly captures what’s wrong with the home of the unhappy meal. Unhappy because McDonald’s sales are tanking, dropping for three years in a row, including a 2 percent drop in US sales last quarter.

Member Post

 

Over on the McDonald’s post, some concerns were expressed about where entry level jobs were going for all the many workers that would be displaced by automated ordering kiosks.  One commenter put it this way: “…[W]e are sacrificing a huge source of entry level jobs which teach every new generation how to interact with the […]

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Help Me Save McDonald’s

 

A photo of a McDonalds' McRib sandwich iI have been inspired by The Daily Shot’s reference to my McRib obsession on the one hand, and McDonald’s poor earnings reports on the other. (How often are those linked?!) We must come to McDonald’s rescue and help it deliver a menu that real fast-food-loving Americans want. No empty snack wraps for me. No more artisan grilled chicken sandwiches.

The Daily Shot’s citation of KFC’s Double Down provides a good template: a sandwich made out of two McRibs with bacon inside — no bun. That’s not an appetizer, but what we fancy pants in the Bay Area would call an amuse-bouche (I think).

So, Ricochet food lovers, what would be your suggestions for additions to the McDonald’s menu that you would actually eat? How about a sausage, pepper, and onion Philly-style hoagie? Help me rescue McDonald’s with a new menu!

How Partisanship is Ruining the NLRB

 

4282658992_3e72772b5d_zThere has been so much bad news in the world of late that it is hard to find time to comment on the July 29 decision by National Labor Relations Board General Counsel Richard Griffin, Jr. to treat McDonald’s as a “joint employer” with its franchisees for the purposes of labor statutes.  That decision, if upheld, would subject McDonald’s to liability for all the actions that its franchisees take with respect to their employees.

In the particular cases before Griffin, the potential finding of liability is said to be for “activities surrounding employee protests.”  But everyone knows that these actions are just the tip of the enforcement iceberg.  Griffin’s real target is to allow individual workers, backed by union dollars, to bring actions for minimum wage and overtime violations under the Fair Labor Standards Act, and to make McDonald’s — and, by implication, all other franchisees — fair game for union organizers and reverse the major decline in union membership.

The decision here is properly understood as a gatekeeper decision. Before the decision, the gates against the NLRB were shut tightly by the conventional tests used to determine whether any given party should be treated as an “employer” under the NLRA. Most unhelpfully, the act defines an employee as including “any person acting as an agent of an employer, directly or indirectly” (after which it exempts a whole host of government employers from the statutory definition). Some further clarity is added to the discussion by the statutory definition of an “employee,” which does not include “any individual having the status of an independent contractor.”