I'm afraid I have to admit to having been seduced by advertising. I like hamburgers. But I don't like McDonald's. Every time I go there (which is not often and has become even more of a rarity since my son declared his utter hatred of McDonald's, even the toys) I leave disappointed and annoyed that I have succumbed again.
Now, I hadn't been near at McDonald's for about a year until yesterday but at the edge of my consciousness, their communication had been working in mysterious ways. I had a vague idea about quality scouts from an upmarket magazine campaign. There was the clever PR answer to "Supersize me". There were McCafes and TV spots with the wholesome and fresh-faced Heidi Klum. There was some memory of an article that said they were getting their CSR act together. And all this cumulated in being hit between the eyes as I was reading my Stern by some absolutely stunning photos, spread across pages and pages, of glorious-looking food. It was for something new: the "M von McDonald's."
I just had to try one. But from the moment I walked into McDonald's on a rainy Saturday afternoon, I knew I was going to be let down again. Heidi Klum and other beautiful people were nowhere to be seen. The place was full of wet and disgruntled youth and harassed parents with podgy children. The disappointment continued as I looked at my "M", which bore about as much resemblance to its promotional photo as I do to Heidi Klum. Wilting brown lettuce, a glob of melted cheese in the corner of the box and a burger glistening with grease met my gaze. Things didn't improve as I bit into it. Far from being "pur", the thing was covered in that ubiquitous nasty white goo and tasted, like all McDonald's products do: fatty. Talking of fatty, the final nail in the coffin came as I read the thoughtfully-provided nutritional information on the side. This greasy fatty gooey thing was going to provide nearly a third of my daily calorific requirement.
I left feeling quite sick and as if I'd been had. Which I had. It will be well over a year until I set foot in one of those places again.