Posted: November 30, 2011 in Humorous Bits
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Note: This was written in 2003 and certain references may no longer be accurate. For one, I know the senior management team at McDonald’s has changed over the past eight years. So McDonald’s, if you’re cruising blogs as corporations have been know to do and miraculously stumble upon this bit of light-hearted observation, don’t get all litigious on me. I understand things evolve. Thanks in advance for being so understanding, you big softies. Now if you could only do something about that clown…

The McLawyers are coming! They are compiling their McBriefs for a possible date in Federal McCourt because, gosh darn it, they are McAngry! No, it’s not another case of a clumsy McCustomer spilling their scalding hot McCoffee all over themselves. It’s not a trademark infringement lawsuit over a small-time McBurgerjoint swooping in and swiping the recipe of the ‘Thousand Island meets Russian dressing’ Special Sauce. It’s not even a silly McCircus using the likeness of a certain McClown for their own capitalistic gain. It’s much more insidious. And people are taking it McPersonally.

Merriam-Webster, Inc. recently published the 11th edition of their Collegiate Dictionary. This highly respected reference book is America’s best selling dictionary and is used by people from all walks of life as the definitive source for all things word-related. Scholars, students, housewives, business people and humorists rely on it for accuracy and fairness, a perception solidified by years of painstaking research. I know in my home it’s the official Scrabble arbitrator, a serious and highly-coveted role. Merriam-Webster’s reputation is laid bare on every page. They cannot afford to be wrong, for one mistake would throw into question the validity of the entire book. According to Merriam-Webster, each word, each definition, is accurate and timely. Words and definitions are their lifeblood and they stand by what they publish.

In this latest edition over 10,000 ‘new’ words have been added, words which have become part of the everyday lexicon in the United States. Among these are botox, comb-over and exfoliant. They’ve also added identity theft and phat. Tweener now makes the cut. This is all well and good. Those words deserve inclusion. What really has the McLawyers stewing is the addition of McJob into the big red book. Yes, McJob has caused a big McStir at McDonald’s®, the fast food giant.

McJob is defined as “a low paying job that requires little skill and provides little opportunity for advancement.” McDonald’s® finds that demeaning to their employees, “the 12 million men and women who work hard every day.” So now they have a full-fledged beef with Merriam-Webster, which could be viewed as ironic since many folks think full-fledged beef is foreign to McDonald’s® .

Many curiosities surround this story. Let’s start with a basic question. Why does McDonald’s® think McJob is a backhanded slap at their company and employees? Yes, we all know the company’s marketing wizards stumbled upon this really cute idea many years ago of using the prefix ‘Mc’ in the name of their scrumptious menu items. There’s McMuffins®, McNuggets®, McChicken®, McGrill®, McGriddles® and my personal favorite, McPepto®. So it would be entirely understandable that a ‘Mc’ entry referring to food would heighten the ire of McDonald’s®. After all, they are the McOriginator of the whole ‘Mc’ craze. For example, I know if I sat on McDonald’s® board of directors and saw the word McFat in the dictionary, I’d be livid. So what if fat – disgusting, clumpy, artery-clogging lard – is a prime ingredient in a substantial portion of their culinary offerings? What kind of message would McFat send? Everyone agrees truth is a wonderful thing, but there’s such a thing as too much information reaching the consumer, if you know what I mean. Just go to the McDonald’s® web site to quickly find nutritional information on their extensive food offerings. It’s there, but you have to dig to find it, similar to effort required to find milk in their Chocolate Triple Thick Shake™.

Many people think it’s the height of arrogance that McDonald’s® assumes one five letter entry out of 165,000 words in a dictionary is directed at their company. But is it really arrogance? Perhaps McDonald’s® truly believes they have the franchise on all ‘Mc’ words, that all ‘Mc’ words have a direct correlation to them. Would this be a correct assumption? Let’s dive into the dictionary and find out.

There’s McCoy, defined as ‘something that is neither imitation or a substitute’. Well, that one clearly is McDonald’s® related. How many times have you said to yourself after polishing off a Big Mac®, “Whew! The meat in that burger was the real McCoy!” Then there’s McIntosh, ‘a juicy bright red eating apple’. I don’t know about you, but when I hear the phrase ‘juicy bright red eating apple’ the first thing that pops into my head is that wonderful Baked Apple Pie doorstop McDonald’s® calls dessert. I also see McCarthyism, ‘a mid 20th century political attitude characterized chiefly by opposition to elements held to be subversive.’ Hello! McJob strikes at the heart of subversive behavior. Not only that, the first franchised McDonald’s® opened in 1955, smack dead in the mid 20th century! Maybe McDonald’s® is onto something here.

Assuming all Mc’s are McDonald’s® related, maybe they’re just a little upset over the definition – “a low paying job that requires little skill and provides little opportunity for advancement.” Nothing could be further from the truth. A simple review of the careers of McDonald’s® senior executives finds that career advancement is, indeed, a company hallmark. For example, Chairman and CEO Jim Cantalupo has worked for McDonald’s® since 1974! His first position was McController, although it’s unclear whether that job required him to deal with ravenous, munchie-crazed teenagers trying to pay for their order with pennies at 1:00 a.m. Stanley R. Stein is an Executive Vice President (Human Resources and Labor Relations) who also began his McDonald’s® career in 1974, but as a McLabor Relations Counsel. Whether or not he actually flipped burgers remains a mystery, but that’s beside the point. He advanced! Matthew Paull, Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer, started with the company in 1993 after his tenure as a partner at Ernst & Young. One can only assume that mopping floors sticky with hardened ketchup, smashed french fries and dried soda was part of his initial training in preparation of overseeing all financial matters of a company that generates over $15 billion a year in revenue. Obviously, the ‘no advancement’ definition must be viewed with skepticism.

Now I’m certain these and all the other McSenior executives take their McJobs very seriously. Just like any of the 12,000,000 people who work hard for the company, they bristle when you say their job ‘requires little skill’. After all, they provide a valuable service – feeding the nation’s populace. Not only that, McDonald’s® also supports other segments of the economy, like the stretch pants industry and angioplasty surgeons. This is a heavy burden, one not to be taken lightly. I’m sure it would be highly inaccurate to call these jobs ‘low-paying’. McJob? I think not!

Therefore I implore the folks at Merriam-Webster to be more thorough with their research before publishing any new words. It may be too late for McJob, but they can save themselves from any potential future embarrassments with painstaking research now. Who knows what kind of havoc will erupt if they continue to do a loose job with their definitions? Without proper direction future editions of the Collegiate Dictionary could easily end up with such misnomers as rushing (the process of holier-than thou people buying illegal prescription pain killers in a restaurant parking lot) or mission accomplished (a completed, finished, but not quite done pre-planned event, like a war). What a McShame that would be.

  1. “Say hello to my friend, Milf McCougar.”


  2. whiteladyinthehood says:

    McCougar?? Oh god that is funny…(I think I really do want a Big Mac after reading this, though)


  3. McDonalds was my first job. Some chick in her 20s worked there, had a bad marriage, and did her damnedest to take it out on me. In the form of hitting on me. I don’t remember the job itself, something about Filet 0 Fish or McMuffins or something, but I remember that particular coworker.


  4. kayjai says:

    My second eldest daughter works at McDonalds…her first ‘real’ job. She refuses to eat the food (smart girl) and is happy to be doing something that requires ‘little skill’ since her brain is occupied with grade 11 pre-calculus and boys. I like the dictionary term and I think she would agree with the definition…now I have to Mcflee to get home so she can Mcwork and her Mcjob.


Whatcha got to say?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s