What if McDonald’s were healthy

What if McDonald’s served exactly the same menu as it currently does. At exactly the same price. Imagine the same texture and resistance as you bit into your Sausage & Egg McMuffin. And the same feeling of oozing grease and slightly synthetic cheese as you bit into your Quarter Pounder with Cheese.

But instead of its offerings being filled with E numbers, imagine that they were filled with nutritional goodness. Think Whole Foods with an extra portion of low fat yoghurt thrown in.

My question is this: What would be the impact on its turnover? My view is that it would go down. Significantly.

There is something dirty and naughty about a McDonald’s that would suddenly disappear. People don’t go to McDonald’s because they do good burgers. They go to treat themselves, regardless of the experience, and almost *because* of its health rating.

Also, there is a destructive element in humans that McDonald’s would no longer sate. There is a part of people that likes to fly in the face of good advice, that likes to rebel, even at their own expense.

My guess is that such a restaurant would fail fast, even without taking into account the increased cost of the ingredients.

Key-ring cards: memories of America

Yesterday I was reminded of a feature of American life that I loved. Allow me to explain.

Our local library closed down last month. At first, I thought it was a symptom of the Coalition Government’s cuts. But I later found out that it was because a few of our local libraries were being consolidated into a big one on Clapham High Street.

This new library opened on 2 July. And I took my daughter for the first time yesterday. And I have to say: it is fabulous.

Its design is based on a spiral. The books adorn the outer walls of a circular sloping walkway. Every so often, a gap in the books allows you to walk into one of the study rooms.

On the inside, you overlook a huge open space, with a children’s reading area at the bottom.

Upon entering, we picked up our new library card. It came in two connected plastic portions: the main credit card–sized card to slip into your wallet; and a much smaller tear-off piece that had a small hole in its corner. It is *this* that reminded me of America.

It performs exactly the same function as does the card that goes in your wallet. But it’s smaller and travels the world on your key-ring rather than in your wallet. It’s more accessible, and way cooler. We later used it to check out our first two books using the barcode thereon.


In America, these key-ring cards were commonplace. I had a few: one for New York Public Library, one for the Food Emporium and one or two others that I struggle to remember. But I remember fellow shoppers having scores of these things, scrolling to the appropriate card for the shop they were in to get their discounts or collect their points.

For whatever reason, they’re not so commonplace in the UK. This is the first one I’ve ever encountered. But I love it. And I wish I had more.

Oh, and if you’re in the area, check out Clapham library. Utterly fabulous.

Date-related buggery-bollocks

A couple of years ago, some idiot proclaimed that October 2010 was the first month in 100 years that contained five Fridays, five Saturdays and five Sundays. Everyone swooned.

A few months later, people swooned similarly at proclamations that January 2011 contained five Saturdays, Sundays and Mondays.

It was all bollocks, of course.

And yesterday, The Illuminati (spoof account) tweeted:

Friday the 13th occurs 3 times this year, each 13 weeks apart from the other. This won’t happen again for 666 years. Happy Friday the 13th.

The numbers made the assertion more believable. But some relatively basic analysis proved it not to be the case. But that didn’t stop 12,900 people retweeting the “fact”, nor 2,132 people adding it as a favourite.

The initial sentence is correct. There were indeed three Friday 13ths this year. And occurring in January, April and July, they were 13 weeks apart from one another.

But its rarity is overstated.

In 2678, 666 years from now, there will be only two Friday 13ths, in September and December. They will indeed be 13 weeks apart, but there are years long before then sharing in that property. 2018 will also have two, 13 weeks apart, in April and July.

If you’re looking for the next year with three, 13 weeks apart, then that will occur in 28 years, in 2040: January, April and July again.

With Twitter, it’s much easier to accept and swoon (and retweet) than to query.

(Thanks to Alan for questioning the original post.)