July 08, 2007
"We hate it and go to it. It's our paradox," a journalist for the French magazine Challenges, Alice Mérieux, said. "We're very anti-American in principle, but individually, if you're going to the movies and have to eat in 10 minutes, you go to McDonald's."
Yep, I saw this in action. When I was in my French language class, a Hungarian, a Czech, and I did an expose on McDonald's. We went around our French town and interviewed folks about their thoughts on McDonald's. Naturally, they all thought it was a despicable place with disgusting food. And naturally there was always a line out the door and onto the sidewalk.
What I thought was especially interesting was that the Hungarian and the Czech didn't really get the concept of the difference between fast food and restaurant food. I had to explain to them that Americans do indeed eat at McDonald's, but we don't consider it Fine Dining. We actually do have sit-down restaurants that we eat at. For them in their home countries, the price of McDonald's was the same as the price at a sit-down place, so the distinction was lost on them. They thought we considered McDonald's the same thing as a fancy restaurant. So at least I can say that I dispelled one misconception during my year in France: I taught a Hungarian and a Czech that McDonald's is not classy.
Of course, this is coming from the girl who ate at Steak n Shake for her senior prom...
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