a flaw in the system

I have a pet peeve when it comes to fast food resturaunts and thier pricing schematics. Here’s the deal. Yesterday, I drove through McDonalds wanting some McNuggets and a small Diet Coke. I had a moment to look over the menu-board and was faced with a frustrating decision. The two items that I wanted were the same exact price as a ‘combo meal’ containing the McNuggets, a Large Coke and a Large Fries. More food for the same money. hmmm.

My good sense of Value tells me that I should order the combo meal. For the same price I get much more lunch. I would be the first to jump on such an offer in many other settings; ie, buy 3 tires get one free, or buy-one-get-one-free boxes of cereal. However, this time I was trying to be healthy and not eat all those french fries!

Yesterday’s experience reminded me of one I had a while back. I wanted a bagel and a small hot chocolate at Dunkin Donuts. I went in and ordered. The kid at the counter, being nice-doing his job, let me know that it was actually cheaper if I bought the large cocoa with the bagel (again a combo meal deal). I didn’t want the larger drink and ended up paying MORE for less! How aggrivating!

I wish that I could say that I didn’t understand why places do this, but I do. People respond well to marketing that offers them more for less. And the combo meals are easier and quicker to order. It would just be nice to spend money in correct proportion to the amount of food actually purchased. How frustrating to be penalized for wanting less!

2 thoughts on “a flaw in the system

  1. Bob

    Well, first off, McD’s is discontinuing the biggest of super-sized options soon. Beyond that, I’ve been working on my ability to throw things away, that is, if the extra value meal it the best deal, I’ll get it, but throw away(or give away the extra). Contrary to what our parents may have told us, african children will not starve if we throw away half a order of fries!moral of the story: buy whatever is cheap, and throw some away!

  2. Peter

    Unfortunately, in Becky’s case, there was no cost advantage to buying the meal deal. The drink and nuggets were the same price as the meal with nuggets, fries, and bigger drink. If she had actually wanted the bigger drink and fries, then it would have been a good deal.

    If the meal was actually cheaper than the nuggets and drink by themselves, then I can see the benefit in buying that and throwing the extra away.


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