Wednesday, November 3, 2010

I love McDonalds

I needed to apply for a new passport as my old one has only 5 months left on it and you need six months clear to go anywhere.  The night train to Kyiv left P'yatikhatki at 11:30 pm and by 6:15 am I was sitting in McDonalds waiting for the bank and embassy to open at 9:00, inhaling a cup of coffee, hashbrowns  and two Bacon and Egg McMuffins.  Real bacon which I have yet to find in Ukraine. All for $5. And free WiFi.

Whoever owns the franchise for McDonalds by the railway station deserves to be as rich as Bill Gates.  Open 20 hours a day, 10 tills and a line up at least five deep at every till. I'd love to know the daily turnover.

There are 20 young people visible behind the counter and I don't know how many more back in the kitchen area.  They seem visibly happy and certainly work together as a team.  Service is awesome.  With a smile.  Though that may be at my clumsy Russian (they all speak enough English to bail me out when I have trouble).  And the food tastes like home.  I know, the Chardonnay Socialist Foodies are groaning at the thought of fast food (eeeuwgh...bus people). It is fast, cheap and easy, like me.

For those who follow FX, The Economist publishes a semiannual Big Mac index that compares the cost of a Big Mac in every country that McDonalds has restaurants.  Since the Big Mac is exactly the same, everywhere in the world, then the difference in price is a function of the difference in exchange rates (compounded by lower or higher wages and other costs) and an indicator of where exchange rates "ought to be".  "The Economist's Big Mac index seeks to make exchange-rate theory more digestible. It is arguably the world's most accurate financial indicator to be based on a fast-food item".  India is not included as there is no beef in their burgers.

And for Foodies who like to mix economics with their meals, the Economist has several articles and charts about other fast food here, but you may have to subscribe (or know someone who subscribes).


  1. So that's where our country went. I wondered what happened to it. After the elections here we'll start looking like the old Soviet Union.

  2. I love you, Dad. I'm glad you found a bit of home and that they are able to take care of you.

    I miss Quarter Pounders with cheese SO BADLY. It's been 10 months since I've had one.

  3. Ha! Bus people. Nothing like a good Newhart reference.

  4. I don't eat at McDonalds here; I probably wouldn't eat at Ronald's there, either. Unless it were out of desperation. Which may have been your situation.

    In which case, I offer you condolences.

  5. Rob-Bear, you Chardonnay Socialist you. And here I thought you were the real thing.

  6. Uh, what's Chardonnay? And what's a Socialist?

    I am a Bear of Very Little Brain, and long words bother me.

  7. I prefer A&W. Onion Rings. Root Beer floats. Teen Burgers.
    Now I'm hungry.

  8. No one but you could take a breakfast at McDonald's and turn it into a financial pie chart. I worry 'bout you sometimes.

  9. Thanks for picking up on that, Lyn.

    PN, A&W is my preference too in Canada. Here McD is the only NA based fast food franchise I have found.


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