Mar 15 2010
Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal written by Eric Schlosser investigates fast food industry’s influence on the world. The fast food industry has continually grown throughout the years and corporations such as McDonalds have expanded worldwide and Schlosser points out that McDonalds has become the world’s most famous brand. One major problem with the fast food industry is the unhealthy food that is served as these restaurants. Childhood obesity numbers are rising and it is mainly due to consumption of fast food which happens to be quite cheap and easy to obtain, allowing for busy parents to feed their children. Places such as McDonalds try hard to appeal to children by creating characters such as Ronald McDonald and also building play areas to attract children. Getting consumers at a young age interested in your product is crucial in order to create life long customers. Many students during the discussion revealed their experience with fast food and stated that they have a sort of emotional connection to fast food restaurants, this is one reason why consumers may be more willing to eat this food, knowing the health risks.
Another harsh reality in the fast food industry is the slaughterhouse. Schlosser graphically states the way in which cattle and other animals are killed in the slaughterhouses. Many people find the way they kill the animals to be inhumane and would like to see tougher restrictions and better laws concerning this. However, as it was pointed out by a classmate during the discussion, is there a humane way to kill something? Maybe not, but there is definitely better ways to do it then as stated in this book. Also, the slaughterhouse is a dangerous place to work. Many employees are hurt on the job and money is exchanged for silence. In one case in the book, an employee had continually kept getting hurt over and over again and yet he still came into work, hurt. Even though he was obviously committed to his job he was still eventually laid off from his work.
It was interesting to read how fast food restaurants use a system called “stroking” in order to boost employe egos. It is a way for employees to receive psychological rewards instead of monetary ones. The advertising used in the fast food is very crucial. As pointed out in class the McDonald’s arches are extremely recognizable, almost in any part of the world. As one of the discussion leaders passed around her camera to show the class a McDonalds restaurant that had two golden arches and signs for one restaurant, so it could be viewed from any angle.
I found the video that we watched with the chicken head that was found in the chicken mcnugget to be completely disturbing. It is gross to think that something like that could happen, yet is not very hard to believe. I hear horror stories all the time about what people find in their hamburgers, however it does not stop millions of people from consuming this food.
I think that the fast food industry should be forced to change some of its rules and laws should be put into place to make sure that it becomes a safer industry. However, I do not believe that many strict changes can be made while so many people around the world are continuing to still consume this food even knowing how unhealthy it is. Until consumers start caring more about the product and less on the how cheap and convenient the food is, then the fast food industry will not change. Ultimately it is a persons choice whether or not they would like to consume this food, although it worries me more about the younger children who are being fed this food by overworked parents and do not have the choice to eat something healthier.
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