I love a good road trip! Load up the family, fill the SUV with a bunch of stuff you don’t
need, plus some clothes, and head off on an adventure. The only drawback is that sometimes you get hungry when you’re in the middle of nowhere. That’s when you get desperate. And when you get desperate, you eat McDonald’s. And when I eat McDonald’s, I typically regret it.
On a recent road trip down to visit my parents in Houston, we were in a small town in Oklahoma and we got desperate. “When are they going to start putting a Chick Fil-A in small towns?!” I asked with frustration as we pulled into a McDonald’s. I walked in with Thatcher to get a Double Quarter Pounder with Cheese, fries and an ice cold Sprite. I have eaten the exact same thing there for over twenty years.
I looked up at the menu and started ordering.
“I’ll take a 99 cent fries, a medium Sprite, and a FIFTEEN DOLLAR DOUBLE QUARTER POUNDER WITH CHEESE?!!!”
Panic set in as my eyes quickly scan the menu. Big Mac – $15! Quarter Pounder with Cheese- $15! Bacon Clubhouse Burger -$15! McDouble – $15!
“What the he…!” I stop just in time and look down at my 6 year-old son, Thatcher. He senses my panic, so now he’s panicked, even though he has no idea why.
“What’s wrong, Daddy?!”
“Every hamburger is fifteen stinkin’ dollars!” I reply, eyes still wide, staring at the menu. My mind starts racing back to old Twilight Zone episodes. “This is what it feels like,” I think to myself.
“So. You have more than $15, Daddy.” he says with a little levity coming back into his eyes.
“Yeah, but….it’s a McDonald’s hamburger!”
[Let’s pause here and provide some commentary.]
Completely unbeknownst to me, last week Congress passed the controversial “Burger Flipper Bonus Bill” to help provide a “living wage” for those working in the fast food industry. Its contents were uncommonly brief. “All burgers at fast food restaurants must cost a minimum of $15.00.”
[Resume “The Tale of the $15 Big Mac”]
“Can I just get a regular burger, Daddy?” Thatcher asks, still trying to wrap his mind around the situation.
“No you can’t.”
“Because it costs $15!”
My confusion quickly turns to frustration, and quicker still to resolve.
“Do you know what we can get for $15?!”
“We can get a heck of a lot more than a greasy McDonald’s hamburger for $15. The
government can change the cost of whatever they want, but what they can’t do is change its value. If I’m going to spend that much money, I demand far more than a low quality burger. And fortunately for us, we have a car and the freedom to choose, and we will choose something that is worth what we are going to pay.”
“It’s just as crazy as the government making companies pay a person with no experience
the same as they currently pay a manager. Since businesses have the freedom to choose what they spend their money on, they will choose a manager who is worth their $15 just like we will choose something that is actually worth our $15. Come on, Tiger. We’re going somewhere else.”
I grab his hand and we walk towards the door.
Thatcher and I walk out of McDonald’s determined never to darken their door again. A block down the road we find a Mexican restaurant and I get some delicious chicken fajitas for $8.99 and Thatcher gets a chicken quesadilla for $6.99. Within a month, there were a lot of McDonald’s, Wendy’s and Burger Kings with “For Sale” signs on them…and a lot of burger flippers without a job.