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Taking the Blame for McDonald's in a Hostel for Adults


I realized just as I started writing this that I might have a weird obsession with things that are underground. Another stop-off on the outback road trip was to White Cliffs, an old opal mining town where the few inhabitants actually live underground.

It also happens to be the location of the world’s LARGEST underground motel!

With a distinction like that, how can anyone pass it up?

The searing heat out in White Cliffs can get up to 50 degrees (C) or more in the summer heat, but underground, it stays at a steady and cool temperature. Homes began being built in the old opal mine shafts, and eventually people started digging out their own spaces. There are very few people that live in the area, but it still makes for a cool outback stopoff.

The hotel was awesome. We got a sweet room but soon realized that underground piping didn’t allow for personal bathrooms. There was simply a hostel-like communal setup in one area. This was a bit of a bummer given the price of the room, but it was still pretty sweet.

And, it was so cool (physically)!

The motel put together a 3 course dinner for the guests at 7pm. Instead of letting everybody choose a table of their own, they made everyone scrounge together at 4 large ones meaning you were forced to make small talk with complete strangers.

After being seated, Patrick and I with two older couples from the Sydney area, the typical get to know each other type of questions were asked. The entire room was doing the same thing, and that made the idea of this being a hostel for adults sink in.

Of course, the table quickly found out I was American, and that spurred some interesting remarks from one woman in particular. She started talking about her trips over to America, which were pleasant memories… at least at first. And then she brought up McDonald’s.

She looked at me and started saying how she couldn’t believe how much the quality of food in America had deteriorated over the years.

First off, she had only been to California and New York, so obviously her snap judgment of America as a whole is already skewed, yet it still angers me a bit. I can’t stress how much I hate to hear people, namely Australians as of recent times, make all of these judgments about my home country when 1) they have only been to the most extreme areas (NYC and LA) or 2) they have never even been there at all!

She continued by saying that she couldn’t even believe what America was selling and calling food on her last trip (10 years ago!). And, she went as far as saying – directly to me – that now America is bringing over McDonald’s here to Australia!

While the rest of the table saw the awkwardness that her comments were causing, she did not. I went back to eating in an attempt to show her that I didn’t care about her thoughts until finally she stopped ranting.

The problem is her association of America and McDonald’s. McDonald’s IS NOT America!

McDonald’s is a business that happened to START UP in America. This business then got popular there before moving on to other countries, where it also does well. It does well not because of an idealization of American culture, but because the food is fast, cheap and tastes bloody good! Admit it.

It’s not like the President has forced McDonald’s on other countries. The business saw a market and took advantage. If the woman should be mad at anybody, it should be her fellow Australian people that keep the market alive.

People make me angry.


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9 Responses to Taking the Blame for McDonald's in a Hostel for Adults

  1. brookeschoenman February 8, 2010 at 8:58 pm #

    Taking the Blame for McDonald’s in a Hostel for Adults #australia #travel #hostel

    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  2. Chris - The Aussie Nomad February 8, 2010 at 6:52 am #

    haha kangaroos don’t hop down the street either ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Chris - The Aussie Nomad February 8, 2010 at 6:00 am #

    I hate hate hate people like that. They generalize an entire country based on something a friend told them or they re-live an old travel memory that is no longer worth the effort it is the speak it.

    I mean thanks to Steve Irwin the world thinks Australians all say crikey as a daily phrase.

  4. brookevstheworld February 8, 2010 at 6:51 am #

    Wait… You don't say “crikey”?

  5. Nicholas เซ Maniatis February 8, 2010 at 1:44 pm #

    Ahhh… but Brooke: 1) those people who "make" you angry are only reflecting something back to you that you have great difficulty dealing with.2) McDonalds IS (EXTREMELY) PROCESSED food… that IS crap. Just let them know that the corporation that exploits it's workers, it's suppliers & it's customers is NOT what we love to believe is true for most Americans.3) You cannot control what anybody thinks of anything… you can only control your response.4) A missed opportunity to help someone stuck in "all or nothing" thinking.

  6. Brooke Schoenman February 8, 2010 at 2:29 pm #

    This is a topic that comes up in my travels all over, and it was a huge one back in Ukraine when I was teaching English so I think it gets to me a bit more because it just keeps repeating itself. This woman here was telling this to me like I had anything to do with it, and I could tell that trying to give her any sort of feedback would have just made things more awkward when sitting at the dinner table with 4 other people.

  7. brian February 9, 2010 at 7:43 am #

    Ignore this woman. First of all she was last there 10 years ago?

    Sometimes you can’t please folks. America is bringing over McDonald’s???

    More like McDonald’s is bringing over McDonald’s.

  8. Garrett March 3, 2010 at 9:00 am #

    There’s a reason that McDonalds is successful the world over – because non-American locals are buying it.

    We all know what it is and to stereotype the USA based on a McDonalds reference is tired to say the least.

    I hope you kicked her ass!

  9. Darcy March 21, 2010 at 12:59 pm #

    Well, I like McDonalds at least.

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