The Lure of Free Crap and Why I am So Easily Bought

I had been anticipating this Monday for a week now. This was the Monday I was due to get my complimentary hash brown at McDonalds. Yes, if you read my blog you know that I love McDonalds. For the last couple of weeks I have been looking longingly at the promotional poster that declares: for the next FOUR Mondays in a row – I will receive a free breakfast product – as designated on the menu by the Maccas marketing department.

Today was hash brown day.

If anyone deserves a free hash brown from Maccas, it is me. I eat McDonalds every single morning, weekend and weekday. My Maccas breakfast (Maccas is what we call McDonalds in Australia because we are lazy and laconic) is without a doubt – the highlight of my day.

Here’s the thing. I don’t often eat the hash browns.

Only 153 calories, I like the Sausage and Egg McMuffins more. Every morning I get one and a large filter coffee. HERE’S THE THING:

I pay 50 cents MORE each morning to avoid the hash brown.

No, no – don’t think I’m crazy. I know myself.

To get a Sausage and Egg McMuffin MEAL – I would pay $6.20 at my local Kings Cross Maccas. To order a coffee and McMuffin only – I have to pay $6.70. I gladly do this because if they give me the fried goodness of the golden hash brown – I will eat it. If I eat it every day – I won’t fit into my jeans. So – I pay $0.50 to avoid getting it. Every single morning.

SO – back to my story.

Today was Monday – and it was free hash brown day at Maccas. I woke up feeling excited. I had a spring in my step as I loped towards the golden arches. Today would be a good day.

The minute I walked through the glass doors I could feel the celebration in the air. The team had even put up bunches of cheerful balloons. I was reminded of a passage in Bill Bryson’s Notes From a Big Country where his local American postal office puts on some coffee, tea and donuts in a “Customer Appreciation Day”. Bryson is charmed. He says his loyalty is bought.

So today. I march up to the counter with glee and there is a new and very cute young man serving at the counter. I can barely see his smiling, pimply face because of all the balloons. He talks my order and tells me that I should make my order “a meal” because it’s cheaper.

“Oh no, “ I say, “I never get the meal.”

The others counter servers smile. They see me every day. They know that I do not want sugar with my coffee. They know I do not want to make my order a meal. They know I want my food to take away. They know me.

But I assume that I am going to get a FREE hash brown because it’s free hash brown Monday. But alas – this is not to be. I am NOT given one, just A VOUCHER for one! I feel really ripped off. I cannot even use my voucher today. I have to wait until tomorrow.

This is cruel and unnecessary. This is consumerism at its worst. JUST GIVE IT TO ME NOW.

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