Thursday, January 31, 2008

Big Mac, Comrade?

On January 31, 1990, the first McDonald's opened it's doors in Russia. The iron curtain had fallen only a few years before and McDonald's was one of the first corporations to take advantage the Soviet collapse.

People stood in line for hours upon hours to spend their hard earned wages on a Big Mac, fries, and a drink. I'm not talking about a simple $5 here. Many people were so poor in Russia that they spent as much as two days wages to be one of the first to eat at McDonald's in Moscow!

That was 18 years ago today. In the Untied States it's hard to imagine waiting in line for 20 minutes for fast food and not being pretty hacked off. In fact, if I finally got to the front of the line and they told me it would cost me my previous two days wages I'd walk right out the door without my food.

All of this leads me to this question. How bad would things have to get in your life that when a McDonald's opened, you'd gladly do what many did in Russia years ago?

Are you having problems paying your bills? Are you getting frustrated with things and believe the economy is bad? Then why not do something about it in your life? Why not take steps to downsize your lifestyle? Do you really need most things in your life? No, seriously, you really need them?

Consider how bad things were in Russia, post Soviet Union, and just how the grand opening of a McDonald's inspired many there to splurge for a Big Mac. Now, I encourage you to read this article by Stephanie Simon of the Los Angeles Times titled Public Senses an Economy Going South, and tell me what is wrong with our thinking today.

Here was one excerpt that I actually had to read twice. It blew my mind.

"In Atlanta, Bernadette Smith, 31, has watched her credit-card debt climb to nearly $40,000. That's more than her annual take-home pay, though she works 13 hours a day at two jobs. Once obsessed with the latest style of designer jeans, Smith now shops for clothes only at Wal-Mart, or maybe Target. She has come to consider a dinner at Ruby Tuesday a splurge."

I'd say we should just be thankful we aren't standing in line for hours to eat a McRib, much less splurging occasionally at Ruby Tuesday. Right?

1 comment:

monkeyface said...

Once again, I wholeheartedly agree. I have gained a new perspective from frequently talking to our missionary couples living in Africa. We take so many things for granted, especially here in the US. I am currently in the process of downsizing my life, it gives a feeling of freedom like no other.