The Boston Diaries

The ongoing saga of a programmer who doesn't live in Boston, nor does he even like Boston, but yet named his weblog/journal “The Boston Diaries.”

Go figure.

Monday, September 01, 2003

“Do you want fries with that?”

I get more and more scared each time I head back to Wal★Mart. This time, I had to exchange my new tripod since it lacked the camera mount plate (otherwise, it's sturdier, better designed (has a handle to carry it) and cheaper than my old one) and while waiting in line (my mistake today? Going to Wal★Mart on Labor Day) I saw an item that just scared me.

One woman was returning a toy—a McDonald's toy. Not the type of toy you get with a Happy Meal™, no. This toy was a box set you buy at a place like Wal★Mart. This was a McDonald's Cash Register Play Set, including a head set, some play money and plastic fries (among other plastic food).

A McDonald's Cash Register.

Yes, you too can prepare your kid to work in the exciting fast food industry where after months of work you can work your way up to the Fry Machine!

Gah! Is there no end to the crass mass-commercialism rampant in our society? Oh wait, don't answer that—it was rhetorical anyway …


Future Shock at McDonalds

So where did I end up having lunch?

McDonald's.

Steak-n-Shake was busy and …

Okay, excuses aside, this particular McDonald's was decorated in a 50s style; chrome, linoleum checkered floor, 50s car out front, a large scale model train running along the ceiling, 50s pop music blaring over the loud speaker, the old fasioned logo (the running chef, which I couldn't find with Google). I'm inside, waiting and looking at the menu deciding on what to eat when I noticed it moved!

Well, not the physical menu itself, but there I was, looking at a picture of the McFish Combo meal (#9) when it suddenly cut to a smooth Madison Avenue produced product placement ad for a McFish Combo (no sound though). Then it flipped back to the standard McFish Combo picture and a few seconds later, one of the other combo meal pictures started moving.

Animated banner ads on the web are bad enough—I don't need them in my fast food restaurant.

Looking closer at the menu board, I noticed that it was five huge flat screen monitors. Then I noticed the even larger flat screen TV screen to my left with John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John were singing and dancing their way through Grease (of course! What else do you play at a 50s themed restaurant?).

At that point, looking around at the decor that wouldn't seem too out of place 40 years ago, except for the flat screen TV and animated menus, I began to think on what changes our society has been through in the past 50 years; even a span of twenty-five years has a tremendous amount of change (Internet? PDAs? DVDs? CDs? How much memory in your home computer again?); heck, even my Dad is now asking me about ripping MP3s from his large collection of tapes and CDs. At the same time, things have stayed the same (Coke, which is over 100 years old, and the Big Mac, which is 35). As I was sitting there, pondering all this, I imaged a hypothetical conversation where someone in a coma since 1979 would have upon waking up in 2003.


Random observation made at a supermarket at 4:32 pm in West Boca Raton, Florida

Nestled between the wine (highly flamable liquid) and the charcoal brickettes (designed to burn) and lighter fluid (another flamable liquid) you will find matches (designed to start fires).

Just an observation …

Obligatory Picture

[It's the most wonderful time of the year!]

Obligatory Links

Obligatory Miscellaneous

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