Tuesday, March 2, 2010

McDonalds Giveth, McDonalds Taketh Away

Good ole' MickeyD's taught me a very good lesson about writing this week. I know what you're thinking...if we're learning writing lessons from a fast food restaurant, what's the world coming to?

Touche' my friends, touche'. Just let me tell my story, and then decide whether or not the lesson is worthwhile.

The other morning, I stopped by my local McDonald's for a fruit parfait. As Backpack from Dora would say, "Mmm mmm mmm Delicioso!" Or something multi-cultural like that.

As I pulled into the drive-thru. They did the customary greeting where they try to convince you to buy more food than you really need in an effort to make all of America more spherical. Usually, I can resist these pretty well. But on this day, it was snowy and cold...and they played to my weakness. The conversation went a little something like this.

MD's - "Welcome to McDonalds! Would you like to try a steaming cup of our gourmet hot chocolate today?"

me - *long pause while I dream of hot chocolate*

MD's - Um...can I help you?

me - Yes, actually, I would love a gourmet hot chocolate.

MD's - A hot chocolate?

me - Yes, and a fruit parfait. (I know, I'm a health nut...what can I say? ^ insert sarcasm here^)

MD's - What kind of hot chocolate did you say?

me - *long pause of utter confusion* Um... gourmet?

MD's - *long pause while they look up the definition of gourmet* I'm afraid we don't have any hot chocolate.

me - *whimpers* You don't? Why not?

MD's - I guess we're cleaning it or something.

me - *cries*


Yes, folks, that's how it went down. What can we learn from this excursion? We can learn that we shouldn't lead our readers to believe they will receive something and then never give it to them. We must meet the expectations we set for the reader. Otherwise we leave them crying and questioning the meaning of life in the McDonald's drive-thru... or, um... disappointed at the end of the book (assuming they finish it at all).

So? Was it a good lesson? Or am I just desperate to give meaning to my disheartening drive-thru experience.

31 comments:

  1. Yes, that was a very good lesson - kudos to you for pulling something meaningful from your horrible, chocolate-less experience (I feel your pain - I felt exactly the same way when I wanted a chocolate milkshake from BK, and they'd already shut the machine down for the night *cries*).

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  2. Very poignant, Ms. Johansson. McDonald's has surely helped us all to become better writers.

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  3. Our McDonald's also took away their breakfast chicken sandwich.....are they on a power trip or what??

    Shelley

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  4. That? Was the stuff of drive thru nightmares! But I totally agree with the lesson. There's nothing worse than being left at the end of a book waiting for the hot chocolate that never comes.

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  5. Very good lesson. It's amazing what you can learn from fast food.

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  6. I think another lesson is, people working the drive-thru clearly work off a script.

    And yes, as writers, we should not promise things we can't/won't deliver. It's like querying a manuscript you having finished.
    Fun post!

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  7. Sydnee - the betrayal of BK and McD is stunning...just stunning.

    Mr. Veen - I'm quite pleased you've seen the value. ;)

    storyqueen - three words: total. power. trip.

    Rhonda - So true! I'm still waiting for my hot chocolate! :)

    Patti - indeed. Fast food provides us all kinds of lessons.

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  8. In a situation like that I would have headed to starbucks!! Lol! What is the lesson learned there?!

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  9. That would be my luck. Question is . . . did you get the fruit parfet? And yes, this was a wonderful lesson learned. Never, EVER trust the MickyDee's guy.

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  10. It's a great lesson and oen of my biggest pet peeves too. I hate to be denied! Give me my hot chocolate!

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  11. GREAT little lesson on delivering on our promises. Hilarious and well said!

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  12. You totally made a believer outta me! I am snickering a little because I HATE fast food and McD in particular, so I totally have a smug look on my face right now. Okay, it's been wiped away. Your lesson is clever. Did you go to Godiva and get a real hot chocolate?

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  13. Jenn, you have totally made me laugh and laugh this week! I love it! I'm gonna give you an award on my blog tomorrow :) You probably already have it, but hey ... you haven't gotten it from ME before!

    And yes, great lesson. Sorry about the hot chocolate ;) ♥

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  14. This post was greatness! Thanks! :)

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  15. I am so feeling the love right now. *hugs to all commentators...er...commentors...er...commenters? ugh... PEEPS!*

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  16. lol, this post cracked me up. :) And I agree with Jonathon: fantastic title. :)

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  17. I prefer commentor, but apparently commenter is the correct spelling, and commentator can surely apply to ramblers...like me.

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  18. You had me laughing with your title before I even read the post. I think there is meaning in all of lives trial and not getting your anticipated (and promised, after all they taunted you with it) cup of hot chocolate is a sore trial indeed!

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  19. Being able to glean a lesson from the events in our life and apply them to writing is part of what writing is about. But finding such poignant advice at MacDoe's is a talent indeed.

    Somebody really needs to send you some chocolate.

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  20. Awesome lesson! You poor thing. I totally would've brought you some hot chocolate. :)

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  21. McDonalds should start holding writing workshops while serving hot chocolate. :)

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  22. LOL Jenn, that made me smile. When we arrived in Cyprus, it was so hot, we asked at MD's for two milkshakes. They didn't sell them, exit two whimpering Brit expats. So I understand your hot chocolate disappointment!
    I agree, a writer has a responsibility to satisfy the reader.

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  23. Great lesson. We should all follow it.

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  24. I think that's a great lesson, and I'm super impressed by how you were able to tie it to writing! It's just proof that writers are thinking and working, wherever we go and whatever we do. :-)

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  25. McDonalds and gourmet don't belong together.

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  26. Oh, I would have cried too! You know, when you're at a fast food restaurant they should have what they promist, right?

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  27. Denied! How awful. I hate when a book doesn't deliver. Good analogy.

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  28. I think the drive through workers need to make sure they listen to the pre-recorded message before they begin their shift. I've had something similar happen to me. But I never learned a lesson from it (unless the lesson was: How to frustrate me). So kuddos to you for turning your horrible hot-chocolateless existence into a good learning opportunity. :)

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  29. Hello again! I'm giving you an award on my Sat. blog post. :-)

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  30. Aww! Thanks Shannon! I'll be sure to check it out. :)

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  31. Mmm, gourmet hot chocolate. That was just mean.

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