Friday, February 29, 2008
Super Un-Size Me
For a lot of years I loved the concept of the super size. You get your value meal and for 30 cents more, you double down on your drink and fry size. I remember going to Japan and entering a McDonald's for the first time. What a rip off! For starters, the value meal base size was S/S - essentially small. Small in Japan is different even than small here. Small there is kid's meal size. You could bump up to M/M for 50 yen or L/L for 100. You'd leave there 650-700 yen poorer for essentially a medium Big Mac Meal. That always stuck in my craw until the past 3 or so years. I love the concept of value for your dollar and I know that due to not having to duplicate packaging costs or washing costs or whatever, you can upgrade drinks or sides for a very reasonable price. The problem is that everyone gets caught up with two thoughts: 1) I better super size it because it's foolish not to and 2) I better eat this all, I don't want to waste it. With some things you can get away with using it as leftovers (for example, with the 1/2 lb platter at Smokehouse. I can eat half the meat and a side and take the others home and it is still fabulous a day or so later), but with a burger and fries you just can't do it. So you really have two choices: waste it (and with the starving people in Poor Country X how could you do that) or eat it. Over time that eating it makes us more used to big portions and the cycle continues. All of this in the name of value. I've been rejecting the super size for quite some time now because it's just too much food and I didn't want to re-biggify my stomach. One positive development, while a step down in value, is the implementation of the small/medium/large combo system, where you start out small and can medium or large it. What was even better is when I saw a restaurant long known for massive portions (2 plates full of food) take it down to one smaller plate. That's a great start. I'd much rather pay the same amount for a normal human's portion rather than an elephant's. I know some places have made their name with giant portions (like the 1 lb Fuddrucker's hamburger or the Double Six Dollar burger - a 2000 calorie monster), and if they add some outrageous sizes to regular sized meals, that's great. Just let me eat out for a reasonable price for reasonable food.