Thursday, February 26, 2009

McDonalds are evil

OK, so its a truism that McDonalds are evil. They have poor labour standards, their "food" is crap, but at least they're cheap. Unless you happen to be poor. Over in Australia they've just introduced a "demand-based pricing" scheme. In English, that means charging higher prices in poorer areas:

Corporate documents obtained by The Advertiser reveal McDonald's Australia has identified an "opportunity to introduce more aggressive price increases" at 13 of South Australia's 47 outlets.


A McDonald's franchisee, who asked to remain anonymous, said the biggest price rises were concentrated in low-income areas.

"In general, the poorer suburbs will pay more," the franchisee said.

"In essence, areas that the franchisor thinks will pay more for our products, will have to."

The document says the new system's objective is for individual stores "to maximise the potential for a price rise" while minimising the risk consumers will go elsewhere or choose a cheaper meal.

So, if you're poor, not only does this mean having junk food marketed more aggressively at you (McDonalds deliberately locates its outlets in poorer areas) - it also means paying more for the privilege. It's a perfect example of socio-economic discrimination. And they wonder why everybody hates them...

This isn't just South Australia, but Australia-wide. Which raises the question: is it also happening here? Does some enterprising journalist want to check?