Clicking on banner ads enables JWR to constantly improve
Jewish World Review Nov. 26, 2002 / 21 Kislev 5763

Steve Young

Steve Young
JWR's Pundits
World Editorial
Cartoon Showcase

Mallard Fillmore

Michael Barone
Mona Charen
Linda Chavez
Ann Coulter
Greg Crosby
Larry Elder
Don Feder
Suzanne Fields
James Glassman
Paul Greenberg
Bob Greene
Betsy Hart
Nat Hentoff
David Horowitz
Marianne Jennings
Michael Kelly
Mort Kondracke
Ch. Krauthammer
Lawrence Kudlow
Dr. Laura
John Leo
Michelle Malkin
Jackie Mason
Chris Matthews
Michael Medved
Kathleen Parker
Wes Pruden
Sam Schulman
Amity Shlaes
Roger Simon
Tony Snow
Thomas Sowell
Cal Thomas
Jonathan S. Tobin
Ben Wattenberg
George Will
Bruce Williams
Walter Williams
Mort Zuckerman

Consumer Reports

Finding the McTunity within their McFailure | It used to be that if you owned a McDonalds, even in a bad location, you were set. But hear tell, the king of all restaurant franchises is in trouble and they're actually closing some of their restaurants. Not only that, Burger King is trying to sell locations. Not some...all!

But, as Albert Einstein said, "Within every opportunity lies an opportunity."

Not that burger empires have asked, but I think they already have the answer to their problems and it's not in changing menus, fighting price wars or updating Ronald. It's all in the marketing. They've got to stop selling themselves as a place to eat on the way to somewhere. They've got to start promoting themselves to families as the somewhere itself.

Afraid to fly?

Economy got you strapped?

Vacations out of the question and kids going stir crazy?

Well, come on down!

McDonalds Resorts Rock!

Burger King Vacations Packages starting at 99 cents!

Cheaper than Disneyland and never more than a mile away!

-Happy Meal Weekend Getaways now being booked-

And it's not only cheap, it's good for you. Fast food restaurants have never been considered billboards for family values, but I'm here to say that it's time to cut McDonalds and Burger King a break. As far as I'm concerned, they not only raise family values but they are a boon to family sanity. I'm talking about the industry's decision to build playgrounds in many of their outlets. Now it's time for these meat hustlers to take advantage of what they've built and SELL IT!

It used to be that I'd have to take a week off from work, watch the sorrowful eyes of our family's beloved Rover as we pull away from the vets, pay four or five hundred dollars a piece for airline tickets, then forty to fifty dollars each to get into a Six Flags amusement park. Now I just have to shove the little monsters into the family transport, drive two or three blocks down the boulevard and unload the troops into the local McDonalds.

For the price of a couple happy meals, during the next two hours, while the kiddies entertain themselves on the slides, ball rooms, and free Nintendo, I get to catch up on last month's Sunday Times, write that Pulitzer-winning novel I've been putting off, or just meditate on Ronald McDonald's defense system against the Hamburglar.

I don't know who the geniuses were that came up with this playland thing but I'd bet dollars to McNuggets they've got kids. It's a no-brainer. Makes you wonder why it took so long. Now why aren't they selling it?

You give the parents and the kids a reason to go, then you give them a better reason to stay. And what happens when they stay? Well, while parents are overdosing on free soda refills, which I want to thank whomever pushed the country in that direction, the younguns are exhausting themselves climbing up and down the fun matrixes.

Some say that all this is just a ploy to keep you around longer until the kids want something else. "This is where they getcha," they say. Sooner or later the kids are going to come in from playworld for extras like ice cream. Well, here again, kudos must be lavished. A cone at either of the main combatants of the burger wars cost about twenty percent of the same thing at Ben and Jerry's. Again, the lords of gristle are out and out winners.

You get all this AND there's no need to make a stop at the nearby Toys R Us. That's because the two fast food kings have seen fit to throw in some hot, theme, play piece in every kiddie meal. I know a lot of parents may see this deluge of cross-marketing trinkets to set a bad example for our children, I see it as...FREE TOYS!

Now I realize that the nutritional virtues at most of these fast food empires may be sorely lacking, but for the time being the little bit of sanity it affords parents is well worth the toll it'll take on our children's diet. And anyway, I wouldn't be surprised at all if any day now these promotional wizards won't be marketing the Kiddie Salad Value Meals with a free Harry Potter vitamin inside.

So B. King and McGuys, start getting McSmart. Put in a few cots, maybe a shower or two and hustle the brochures out to the tourist agents. Holiday break* is right around the corner.

*Author's Warning: Those Of The Kosher Persuasion Should Skip These Treif Tours And Instead Spend A Nice Week In The Catskills.

JWR contributor Steve Young, Prism Award winner and Humanitas Prize nominee for his television writing, is contributing editor at the Writers Guild of America's "Written By" magazine. He is the author of "Great Failures of the Extremely Successful: Mistakes, Adversity, Failure and Other Stepping Stones to Success," . the director/writer of "My Dinner With Ovitz," and opens car doors for students at his very young kids' school. His website is He can be heard this coming Friday on Michael Medved's radio show. Comment by clicking here.

11/15/02: Can the Dems learn from Lincoln's failures?
11/06/02: The Day After... who'll comfort me now?
11/04/02: We can all fight ageism!
10/29/02: Was I totally responsible for the market's upsurge?
10/09/02: Finding The Bull Within: Wall Street Needs To Rethink The "F" Word
10/01/02: Merriam-Webster Needs To Rethink the "F" word
09/25/02: Held up in the passing lane ... and life's other positive curve balls
09/23/02: Shrinking the waist problem: Using Good Old American Failure To Lose Inches
09/17/02: Earth to Florida: No more elections
09/11/02: The humor will return. Just not yet
09/09/02: Bush coalition on fast track
08/30/02: N'Sync's Bass gets NASA okay: Former astronauts Gagarin and Glenn form boy band
08/21/02: Insider's a good thing
08/05/02: America goes Madison Ave.: The Selling of America
07/29/02: ROCKIN' RENO: The Newest Political Strategy For Filling The Coffers
07/23/02: Is Wall Street the enemy? No, but that's where the enemy hides
07/10/02: Cooking the books
06/27/02: Apocalypse now!?
06/14/02: Coulter for the defense?
05/21/02: SUICIDE BOMBER KILLS SELF! NO ONE ELSE INJURED! Inept bomber is refused entrance into Paradise. 72 Virgins breathe sigh of relief
05/19/02: Hey world! How about trying the shoe on the other foot hypotheses
05/13/02: AM Radio and Enron
05/03/02: "Deep Throat" to Be Revealed ... But will America Swallow It!?
04/29/02: Britney Spears next in line to blast off into orbit
04/22/02: Former Liberal Seeks Conservative Book Deal
04/15/02: If you truly care about America, you'll read this column
04/01/02: My Uncle Miltie
03/27/02: The Fightin' Righties
03/20/02: Woody Allen refuses to cast self...
03/18/02: The Realies
02/19/02: Greenspan Announces Lower (Television Network) Interest Rates
02/15/02: Ken Lay sells soul to the devil: Beelzebub loses life's savings
02/12/02: Enron's Skilling mistakenly takes the Fourth, forcing him to spill his guts
02/06/02: BOOSTING THE SAGGING ECONOMY: Let Green Stamps be our financial brassiere
01/24/02: "I'M THE ONE!"
01/16/02: Goodbye "Rincoln Continental," we hardry knew ye
01/14/02: "But He Was Such A Good Boy" gene, found to be defective
01/04/02: PLAY BUZKASHI!
12/31/01: Come on war. You can do better!
12/26/01: NOT MY OSAMA!
12/24/01: TIME caves
12/20/01: Finally! Friends of Color
12/14/01: Bin Laden's Funniest Home Videos
12/10/01: What if Catching bin Laden is in dispute?
11/30/01: Back to normal...too bad
11/16/01: Osama not enough for some
11/09/01: Networks at war!
11/05/01: Bridges Over Troubled Water
10/29/01: The other terrorists
10/16/01: Diary Of A Young Defense Department Comedy Writer
10/01/01: Playlands, burgers, and family sanity
09/25/01: Dissent is walking on red, white and blue egg shells
09/21/01: OPEN LETTER THE MOST HIGH (RE: Falwell and Robertson comments)
09/17/01: Gary, we miss ya
09/10/01: Smelling out a real hero
09/04/01: Don't give up on that dream!
08/24/01: Pitch day at the Mouse
08/21/01: It Depends On What Your Definition Of "Unlimited" Is


© 2002, Steve Young