Saturday, October 2, 2010

Why I went to the Tokyo McDonalds and other thoughts on the value of a $

I won't step into McDonalds in the U.S. unless someone is dragging me, but I have to admit that I have been there twice on the trip so far. Last night it was for french fries. The service is very well structured and organized and there is an eerie consistency to the stores that I haven't noticed at other locations. The service is very specific and the attendants at the cash registers know just how to handle my kind. The first step is to flip over the menu to the English side. The menu is directly in front of you as you step up to them. They are so quick and efficient they don't give you a chance to struggle with your English. Just point and order.
So why did I go to Mickey D's. First, it was cheap. The yen is at a 15-year high against the greenback and that $4.50 cup of Starbucks hits the wallet pretty hard. Second, it was something I didn't have to guess at. I know what french fries are. Lastly, it was there. I have been walking a ton and it was nice to stop and get what I was going to get. With so much to see, it has been tough to clearly focus on eating and when you're alone, I tend to not want to sit by myself and take in the limited scenery of a restaurant.
All this being said, the pice of a small latte is $2.50, really terrible chicken strips (fatty, lots of breading, and greasy) are $1.25 a piece and french fries are also over $3. I haven't followed the Yen (I defintely remember the South African Rand was 11 to 1 when we were there, it traditionally is about 7), but it's one of the things that makes travelling interesting. Just like the stock market, there's no timing these things. The first trip to Europe was on the expensive side, the second was a little less difficult and perhaps this visit is just karma from the South African trip.
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