Tuesday, October 2, 2007


One of these days, I want to do this experiment:

I'll go into a McDonald's, order a drink, and sit at a table near the front counter. I will have a notebook with several categories in it, including estimated age (with categories, like pre-teen, middle age, that kind of thing), gender*, and a range of body types. Admittedly, the body types will require some subjectivity, but there's no way around that.

I will look at each customer that walks in the door and classify them into the categories. I'll also note whether or not they're wearing crocs, haha.

The purpose of this would be to get a real idea of how "fat" the customers really are, because I'm sick and tired of the hysterics and hyperbole. My hypothesis is that the customers will, in fact, NOT be primarily fat people. The handful of times that I've gone to McD's, usually to get an iced tea since they are one of the few places left that brews their tea instead of using nasty concentrate, I recall most of the patrons being average-sized young people.

I'd also like to do this same experiment at a local mall. Afterwards, I want to show this data, then ask why we're throwing so much money at combating a non-issue, especially one that is NOT the health problem that everyone thinks it is. I'm tired of hearing, "ZOMG I SAW A FAT LADY USING A SCOOTER AT WAL MARTS AND FAT PEOPLE SHOULD WALK INSTEAD OF USING THEM BECAUSE THEY'RE FAT AND OBVIOUSLY FAT PEOPLE CANNOT BE DISABLED, AND FAT PEOPLE ARE EVERYWHERE BEING LAZY AND EATING STUFF."

Pardon me for mixing issues; I'm having a bad pain day, and my head isn't terribly together.

* Yes, I'll estimate gender. My husband and I have a joke that, while some people bemoan their lack of gaydar, I am even lacking in gender-dar. I have a really hard time figuring out male or female if it isn't completely obvious sometimes.


Kell Brigan said...

Pain, pain, go away. Painhedium gowayosa! [swish!]

(I just replaced the batteries in my wand, so you should receive this any millisecond, now.)

Harpy said...

I always wondered about the true demographics of places like McDonald's. The only people I know who go there with any kind of regularity are skinny men and boys, generally the 13-30 age range. Sometimes accompanied by female friends, also usually slender.

Barry Glassner's "The Gospel of Food" has some interesting observations on McDonald's patrons in poorer areas - often it's homeless people who come in to get out of the elements and have something to eat for $1, disabled people living alone who may not be able to cook or shop for themselves and also want a meal for a couple of dollars, and groups of seniors socialising and taking advantage of seniors' discounts. In richer areas it's mostly teens and young people. (The whole book makes interesting observations about the good and bad sides of fast food and other food conveniences.)

The way people talk you'd think every McD's was stuffed full of fat people binge eating.

mumboj said...

So fat haters tell lies, I think sometimes we do their work for them by getting so offended. I think this is the crux of the matter more than what they actually say, it's the power we give it.

This is not an admonishment, it's just frustrating that they still have so much sway over us, why? Whether what they say is true or untrue, why do we still care so much, why does it still (sometimes) hurt so much?

At times I just feel like I'm being run by others, not myself, I hate this feeling more than anything they say.

Is it the potential threat to our civil liberties, is it ego, what?

vesta44 said...

Well, as an old fat broad (sarcasm here) who uses the motorized cart at Wal-Mart, the ones who find it offensive and think I should be walking can go suck it. I really don't think they want to be the ones helping me up off the floor when I fall because my knee gave out on me or my back cramped up and made my legs go numb. In fact, I called Wal-Mart and suggested that they move some of the cart corrals closer to the handicapped parking spaces because not all people who park there have someone with them who can run the shopping cart halfway across the lot to the cart corral (and loose carts are a safety hazard for drivers). They thanked me for my suggestion, and the next time I was at our local WallyWorld, I saw that they had implemented it. So it does pay to speak up and make suggestions.

Vive42 said...

i dunno about the demographics of mcD's customers, it depends on the area of course. but i think it's likely you would find fat people underrepresented in your little experiment, if anything. on the other hand, if you made sure to survey the drive through window, and if you took into account how often people went to mcD's, regular customers as opposed to occasional customers...

i'm not sure. but definitely it's not some huge line of fat people every day. fat people wouldn't be too comfortable in their seats, for one. plus, it's super embarassing to be a fat person in line at mcD's.

Sarah said...

I got iced coffee (delicious) there this morning. On my way back to my car I was surprised at how many people were eating in their cars in the parking lot.