Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Globalization, yeah

MacDonald's. Is it a restaurant? A fast-food restaurant? Or the great social equalizer?

Was in our local MacDonald's couple of days ago with the kids. It was quite busy given it's a public holiday and some kid was having a birthday party so part of the restaurant was closed off for that. We sat down next to an older looking woman, obviously she was waiting for someone else to get the food.

We were chomping away at our McNuggets and flatbread grilled chicken sandwiches and fries and chocolate puddings and chocolate milks and diet cokes. Then an older man came and sat opposite the woman, with a cup of hot water in his hand. He put the cup down, and the woman swiftly pulled out a tea bag from her bag and dipped it into the water.

A few minutes later, the woman got up and later came back with another cup of hot water. The man took the teabag out from his cup and dunked it into her cup.

Then they were just eyeing us up and down as we chomped away, and chatting to one another about the tea.

This tea is good ar.
Yes ar, not too strong.
It has a nice colour.
Yes, nice colour.
It smells nice too.
Smells refreshing.
What's wrong with the air-con in here, it's so hot.
Yes, too many people. The air-con is not strong enough.

A few minutes later, the man took out an apple from his bag. And a small foldaway knife. He said to the woman:

Go to the counter to get a paper bag for the peel.
Aiya, no need for that la, just put the peel on this tissue.
Hey, save the tissue for something else ma, get a paper bag la!

To our left, was a woman busy with a very large sheet of cross-stitch. Some elaborate landscape thing. She had a bottle of watson's distilled water on the table, and the worksheet, thread, bag, etc. She was hard at work the whole time we were there. Us chomping away. The kids fiddling with their happy meal toys.

Cleaning staff paid no notice to them nor us. They only paid attention to trays that needed clearing.

And I was thinking, why do people like to hang out at MacDonald's? Older people? Those who don't go there to eat? Why not in a park, on a bench, at home? I'd like to think they really like it. I'd like to think MacDonald's make them feel at home.

No comments: