Have no fear! The Big Mac is here!

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Don’t worry. McDonald’s is not getting rid of the Big Mac

McDonald’s makes life complete. / Robyn Tocker

McDonald’s makes life complete. / Robyn Tocker

Author: Liam Fitz-Gerald

Collective common sense—please, hold in your laughter—dictates that anything on the Internet should be taken with a grain of salt. This includes rumours that are preposterous, outlandish, ridiculous, and nonsensical. Celine Dion, Jon Bon Jovi, and Jerry Springer have all been victims of death hoaxes. Other ruses center on government conspiracies, and one needs to look no further than the United States to see an abundance of those. One proclaimed that Obamacare would result in microchip implants.

Yet, Internet browsers keep being duped. Last December, the hearts of Internet users worldwide stopped, not from cardiac arrest mind you, but from hearing that McDonald’s was dropping the Big Mac from its menu. The Daily Buzz reported, via a photograph of an official looking Tweet that the franchise would be discontinuing several items, including the Big Mac, an item as iconic to McDonald’s as Brent Butt is to Saskatchewan. Other items getting the axe included Apple Pies and Chicken Sandwiches.

And, so, many people took to the Internet: some to think rationally over the issue and consider where they got their information from, but many took to Twitter to panic. Indeed, from the sound of some of the tweets, one would think some catastrophe had occurred and, to many people with fond memories of late nights at McDonald’s after a night of drinking and other potential less than lawful activities, it was a disaster.

“I just died a little inside because that’s my 2 a.m. drunk meal,” said one tweet, followed by a crying emoticon.

“WHAT IS LIFE OMG,” chimed another tweet, as if its author had experienced some profound existential and metaphysical crisis.

Ultimately, the tweeters were given an early Christmas present—confirmation in mere hours by McDonald’s via Twitter that this was nothing but a hoax.

“WHOEVER STARTED THE RUMOR THAT MCDONALD’S IS GETTING RID OF THE BIG MAC DESERVES A SPECIAL PLACE IN HELL FOR THE HEART ATTACK I HAD,” thundered one tweet. Indeed, of all world tragedies the people who started a Twitter hoax are evil incarnate—good to keep things in perspective.

McDonald’s has indeed had financial troubles lately. According to the Economist, the company that went from having a share price of $100 in 2011 had a decline of 1.8 per cent in global sales in 2015, much higher than the original forecast of 1.2 per cent.

Fortune.com states that everything from growing health consciousness, to an emphasis on preventative care in North America, to economic troubles in Europe, to a controversy over expired meat being used by Chinese beef suppliers are impacting the firm. While the company floated the idea of eliminating some items last November, it was nothing like the hoax.

It’s unlikely that McDonald’s will eliminate such classic gourmet food. The millennial readership of this paper is too young to remember the backlash Coca-Cola faced when they tried to push New Coke on consumers in 1985: an experiment that lasted three months before Coca-Cola “Classic” returned.

There is almost no chance in hell that McDonald’s, in the short term, would take such risky moves, even in the face of changing trends towards healthy eating. Yet, it and other fast food ventures may gradually try to make their foods as “healthful” as they possibly can in the long run – although they may have to do something about those salads which, after dressing is added, come to the same amount of calories as a Big Mac.

Culturally speaking, though, this incident illustrates the speed of social media. In many cases this can be a good thing, yet Internet users should be careful, lest a case of mass hysteria grips the world.

 

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