Of Fast Foods and Discount Shops

Old habits are hard to break they say. I’ll always buy cheap. It’s second nature. So I was so delighted that we’ve visited several discount shops around to buy cheap signature clothes. They call these places “outlet”. Basically, a complex where shops sell discounted products. They go by seasons here, a summer outfit would be sold at a discount when the new season arrives. Wasteful consumerism but beneficial for those who have less. The prices are so good that one could buy items at less 50% or lower from the regular price.

I’m not into shopping but since I’m here and I couldn’t afford shopping in regular malls, invitations to visit these discounted outlets are hard to decline. I even joined a drive to the neighboring state of Wisconsin to check on one of these outlets. They have lower sales tax compared to Illinois. 10% less which means more savings. I bought an IC voice recorder from the Sony outlet for a dirt cheap price of 15USD. Something useful for future interviews and lectures.

Such trips also allows me to observe, ok – eat, American fast food. One of their greatest exports – which, unfortunately is fast becoming part of our regular diet back home. I get to try that popular Philly cheese steak that was surprisingly tasty for a sandwich with simple ingredients. The burgers here are so good that you can’t even begin to compare it to the ones we usually get back home. If you want to argue with this claim, just try Five Guys’ burger.

Burger bigger than your two fist combined, with patties generously endowed with flavor and juicy beef. The side dish, just as deadly, a half bag of fried potatoes. Of course a meal ain’t complete without a bottomless ice cold coca cola. And I thought that the Filipino diet of heavy rice, piniritos and the exotic, the oily and the salty viands is unhealthy.

But all these convenient, fast foods is getting them dangerously fat. How the companies drive consumers to buy and eat big is just brilliant marketing. You know it’ll kill you but you still feed yourself and kids with it! The way they advertise these kitchen creations is something we all can learn from! The ads are everywhere and with servings that could satisfy Goliath, plus the cold weather — what you get is fast food consumption that’s unrivaled anywhere in the world.

Since we’re in one of the most historical subject called “fast food”, I came across one of McDonalds first original concept store here in the US. This one is located in N. Lee, Des Plaines, Illinois.  Right across is a real serving Mcdonalds if ever you get hungry. You can’t order a happy meal here anymore.

They call it their No. 1 store but the first McDonalds were established in California. This store is the first one built under the legendary Ray Kroc in ’55. Without this guy, you won’t be munching on that big mac right now.

Interesting is that the iconic golden arch logo came from the single neon arch on each sides of the restaurant. Viewed from a distance, it appears like that happy symbol we know today.

Ok, enough of this fast food talk.

US, November 2012

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