My Personal Ordeal with the Arrogant Managers of McDonald’s

picture-2.pngMy name is Gary Granada, I am a Kaalagad volunteer, and I need 5 seconds of your time to help reduce the use of styrofoam in fast food chains.

What was meant to be a nice and simple Saint Francis Day motorcade-march to McDonald’s yesterday turned out to be a nightmare. We were rudely treated by McDonald’s, to put it mildly. Weeks before, we already sought a dialogue with them to reiterate our concern for their reluctance to reduce their use of styrofoam, despite their pledge to seriously attend to it during our dialogue in 2002! (Jollibee said the same thing, and while we are not satisfied with their response, at least they made some effort to shift to other packaging and serving materials.)

We sent them a letter, went to their office, made follow ups, waited for a response. The most we got from them was ‘you wait for our call’. They never called, never wrote back, but verbally said they will assign representatives to receive our motorcade’s representatives.

lovin.jpgWhen we got there, their representatives turned out to be the Citibank Building’s security detail. Ill-mannered and impolite, they told us that they were told by McDonald’s that they were not expecting us. One of our staff went up to their 17th floor office to find out whether they were willing to sit down and talk matters. Told to tell us to wait, we waited. The giant that it is, the bosses of McDonald’s apparently regard little children, nuns, mothers, priests and concerned consumers as their employees. We asked how long we were supposed to wait and got no straight answer. Finally they sent word for me to come up, just me, no one else. I thought these people must have seen too many spaghetti movies, perhaps they thought they had a hostage crisis. I was led to a conference room that could easily sit six or seven people and was greeted by two bright boys.

Think about it. Naglakad kami papuntang McDonald’s, at pagdating namin doon, wala man lang bumaba para kausapin kami ng maayos. At pinatawag ako nitong dalawang batang managers!

It occurred to me that there were far more basic issues that plague McDonald’s than styrofoam. Like common courtesy. So I explained to these rich young rulers that the courteous thing to do was to go down, greet the delegation and ask how they may be of help. I even asked them where they were schooled, because in the public school in an obscure town where I came from, they manage to teach such things in Grade One. Their bloated bright brains must have taken up the space that was meant for their ears. It felt like talking to an electric fan.

10_27styrofoam.JPGMeanwhile I insisted that somebody from Greenpeace, the Ecowaste Coalition, Franciscan Missionaries for Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation, and the JPICC of the Association of Major Religious Superiors of the Philippines (our partners in the activity) be present as well. They said they can only accommodate three people at most. Fine. So I said I and our staff will go down and we will send three people up. But at the lobby, the three representatives we sent were barred by security people from proceeding, again upon McDonald’s instructions we were told.

It looked hopeless.

We decided to wrap up the program when out of nowhere a condescending woman materialized and introduced herself as the media relations officer of McDonald’s. She said, ‘Why don’t you go to Jollibee instead, they’re number One.’ To which Father Ben Moraleda replied, ‘We did, and at least they are doing something.’

On the side, irked by her audacity, Fr. Ben quipped, ‘And please take that hand of yours off my shoulder, I don’t like you.’

And all that commotion for a very simple and very reasonable plan: that McDonald’s reduce the use of styrofoam by 50% within one year. McDonald’s has once again demonstrated its arrogance and incapacity to appreciate the sincere and constructive efforts of common folks to protect our environment. Unlike them, we do not make money doing what little we can to help make things a little better for everybody.

5 seconds, that’s all I ask of you to help reduce the use of styrofoam. Sa mundo ng mga mayayabang, papansinin lang nila tayo kung tayo ay maninindigan. Take 5 seconds to think twice before choosing where to dine or order food.

WHEN YOU HAVE A CHOICE, DON’T CHOOSE MCDONALD’S

I feel sad for that woman and those two young managers. So young, so successful, so ahead of their game, so privileged; so rude, so arrogant, so lacking in character, so bland. And I have since stopped wondering why their burgers taste the way they do.

———–<>————

It will take a bit longer than 5 seconds, but it will go a long way if you can email this page to friends. Thank you for your time.

Gary Granada
7 October, 2006

Gary is a volunteer worker of Kaalagad – a community that promotes pluralism, equity, biodiversity and communitarian socialism and ethic. His website can be found at garygranada.com.

(Gary Granada photo by Jimmy Carlos)

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