Monday, January 04, 2010

The Golden Arches Packed Up Their Knives and Left, no Padma needed

I didn't quite know what to make of this cartoon that recently appeared on the front page of the Reykjavik Grapevine, a weekly paper that chronicles all things happening in the capital city of Iceland. A brief backgrounder: In late October 2009, the global fast food chain McDonald's announced that they were closing all three outlets in Iceland due to high operating costs brought about by the worldwide financial crisis. Importing all those buns, beef, and ketchup became too expensive.

Hence, the Reykjavik Grapevine decided to come up with "Three Reasons why Icelanders will miss McDonald's". At first glance, and keeping in mind my brief introduction to Icelandic humor (chronicled here), I burst out laughing and marvelled at the sarcasm of the creators. Freaking brilliant, I thought.

Later on, the more I obsessed about it, doubts crept into my mind. Was it satire, or was there a grain of truth buried somewhere? Imagine your neighborhood McDonald's closing down - would you say, "Oh well, such is life" and move on, or would you be urging your congressman to give them a bailout? Maybe the Icelanders were sad about losing the Golden Arches.

So I went back and forth, back and forth - don't McDonald's burgers contain real beef? Or were they lying all this time and it was really some synthetic stuff like those healthy veggie burgers that I switched to that taste like cardboard? (Counter argument: Maybe Icelanders simply don't like beef. They do eat a lot of seafood). And I conscientiously drop loose change into those collection bins for the Ronald McDonald House, was that a scam too? (Rebuttal: Maybe Icelanders don't like giving to charity and expect their government to take care of everyone's welfare).

Finally I came to "McDonald's employees are happy". Really? Since when? Unless the counter people in Reykjavik had drastically different demeanors from the ones in New York, "happy" isn't the word I'd use to describe them. Unmotivated and unhurried are more like it. No counter argument will convince me otherwise.

So, after all this analysis, I have to go with my initial impression. It is satire. I think. Whatever. Here's a Reuters article (with video) chronicling Icelanders lining up for their last Big Mac.

P.S. That is one mighty scary looking Ronald McDonald who does look like he loves to eat children.

Read about Saegreifinn's lobster soup and mink whale.

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