It’s not news that we live in weird times: Brexit, Trump, Ed Sheeran’s chart takeover and this VIPoo advert. All indications that something is amiss in the universe. But none of them come anywhere near this latest tear in the fabric of time and space: I briefly liked the new McDonald’s McCafe advert.
Here are some of the reasons I hate McDonald’s: they make shit food that tastes absolutely disgusting; they blandify high streets and city centres; they have that awful whistle; their adverts are voiced by an EveryDave; they’re still contributing to deforestation, despite their stated aim to cut it out; they’re clogging up the planet with plastic cartons; they target kids in their advertising; and they make gibbering, slurping simpletons out of grown-up people.
Suggest that we meet for a mug of Joe in a McDonald’s and I’d think you were a total weirdo, but I do like the most recent McDonald’s advert that takes aim at a pet hate of mine: the utter insanity of modern-day coffee.
It’s fantastically overpriced, it’s bewildering, it’s served in stupid mugs and often made by idiots. Pointing out the absurdity of all these things and then pointing out that you can get a reasonably-priced, non-thretening coffee at your local Maccies is therefore a home-run.
But as I watched it back a couple of times I started to find it increasingly obnoxious – it smacks of ‘so-called experts’ and the horrible, deliberate stupidity of the Brexit campaign, where to be identified as an elite, for any reason (ie. being clever, playing the piano, liking wine etc), was to be identified as a hate figure by right-wing newspapers. There’s more than a whiff of that dark-age mentality to this advert, which will appal you more and more with every viewing.
Of course while there’s a nasty streak of inverse snobbery to this I’m caught between two shitty stools. Yes there are stupid coffee shops of the ‘I saw you coming variety’ that will milk your lack of confidence or knowledge about a drink to shaft you (plenty of ‘craft’ beer pubs repeat the same trick).
But I like a really good coffee and I don’t mind paying an independent business to serve me some because I’d rather see a nice, characterful cafe on my local high street than the service-industry combine harvester of a McDonald’s, chomping up everything in its path and turning into something infinitely less interesting.
I have a suggestion: swerve the stupid Hipster places that will serve up the sort of nonsense you see in this McDonald’s McCafe advert and make it your business to put the local Maccies, Starbucks and Costa out of theirs. Instead get to know your cosy little local coffee shop, cafe or greasy spoon.
We seem to have lost sight of the happy medium in life. Not everything is a binary choice, black-and-white, good or evil. And that’s where the really interesting stuff in life lies. If your daily drudge amounts to a series of McDonald’s McCafes then, frankly, you’re failing at it.
Walks down a few alleyways, take a different route home, go somewhere you’ve never been on holiday, pop into that pub, shop or restaurant you’ve heard good things about, walk down a high street and buy your groceries from the local butcher, baker, candlestick-maker.
There’s a whole world out there and sometimes it’s scary. But you don’t want to lie on your deathbed and look back on a life of McDonald’s McCafes.