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The scandal of Motorway coffee costing more

motorway service station coffee


The Daily Mail has noticed that a coffee at a motorway services station costs more from McDonalds, Costa or KFC than it does from the same outlets not at a motorway services station. The explanation for this is really very simple – rent – and it’s the one explanation that we’re not given. Which is a pity because it is a very simple explanation.

Breaking up your journey with a coffee stop at a motorway service station? You may find it breaks the bank too.

An investigation has found that roadside stores charge up to 28 per cent more for a medium latte – costing motorists an extra 74p compared with the high street.

How desperately awful, eh?

Breaking up your journey with a coffee stop at a motorway service station? You may find it breaks the bank too.

An investigation has found that roadside stores charge up to 28 per cent more for a medium latte – costing motorists an extra 74p compared with the high street.

We’re given varied reasons for this, including the station operators claiming that it’s more expensive to operate such stations than general run of the mill services so therefore prices are higher. But it’s why costs are higher than matters and that’s rent.

The basic underlying story here goes all the way back to the very dawn of economics when David Ricardo published his book on rent, in 1817. If you can produce more crop from a piece of land then the rent on it will be higher than land that produces less. We can say the same thing by insisting that the cost of the land will be higher where there’s more money to be made. A third way of saying just that same thing is that the landlord always gets a chunk of whatever can be produced from a piece of land.

This is actually why Starbucks was making no profit – thus paying no tax – a few years back. They had lots of leases on lots of buildings that would be good to sell coffee out of. Because the landlords get a piece of that action places good to sell coffee out of have higher rents. Starbucks wasn’t making a profit selling lots of coffee but the landlords were doing just fine.

But that’s where there are lots of shops around. Starbucks couldn’t raise the price of coffee in those expensive places because if they did then we’d go to the one around the corner. Where prices were lower because they were paying less rent. That landlord’s share was thus coming out of Starbucks profits, not ours, the customers.

Now replay the same game but where there isn’t another shop just around the corner. We all know that lots of money can be made running a services station. Once people have decided to go there they’re a rather captive market though. So rents are high. But instead of those high rents coming out of the profits of the operators, they come out of our pockets in the form of higher prices. Because once we’re there we cannot go to another coffee shop.

There is no solution to this either. Just because there are only so many service stations, and once we stop at one we’re going to be doing our buying there, there’s lots of money to be had from running a service station. That means high rents – and that will, because of the lack of competition, lead to higher prices.

It really is all there in Ricardo’s book from 1817. It’s about time everyone understood it too, isn’t it? Two centuries being long enough?

Image: The Drive of Our Lives – The Heyday of the Motorway Service Station


Posted: 8th, May 2018 | In: Key Posts, Money, News, The Consumer | Comment

Donald Trump ate my bomb and other dinners

If we are what we eat, news that Donald Trump eats McDonald’s interests us. You might suppose it’s a clear sign that Trump is of the people. No, not at one with the abstemious dieters and juicers; rather allied to the fat Untermensch who like fast food.  It might also indicate that if you put his name on something he has to have it.

Trump’s former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski and aid David Bossie, have written a book about working with the President. Just as it is with showbiz weddings in OK! magazine and death row prisoners’ last rights, we want to know about the eats. “Trump’s appetite seems to know no bounds when it comes to McDonald’s, ” they write “with a dinner order consisting of two Big Macs, two Filet-O-Fish, and a chocolate malted.”


They continue: “On Trump Force One there were four major food groups: McDonald’s, Kentucky Fried Chicken, pizza, and Diet Coke.”

Fried food chased down by the lo-cal beverage. The man can be restrained.

As Melania Trump watches her man eat and eat and eat from behind dark glasses, her nails taping on the ceiling of Air Force One as if if counting heartbeats, we read that the plane’s galley is “stacked with Vienna Fingers, potato chips, pretzels, and many packages of Oreos”.

Double deelish.

But hold on. James Hamblin looks into the entrails of Trump’s lunch and sees the whole man. Writing in the Atlantic, he opines:

Decisions to live this way would seem to offer insight into Trump’s ability to assess risk. In light of a nuclear standoff with North Korea, rapidly warming oceans, and a looming tax bill that would leave millions more Americans without health insurance, his approach to self-maintenance is not reassuring.

Vote for the vegetarian, right.

Posted: 6th, December 2017 | In: News, Politicians, The Consumer | Comment

Daily Mail gives Manchester United legend Ryan Giggs an unwarranted kick

Giving footballers a kicking is lazy. Take the Mail’s treatment of former Manchester United great Ryan Giggs, who was in Malta for England’s World Cup Qualifying match on Friday 1 September. The game kicked off at 19:45. Around 2 hours later, Giggs was wrapping things up and heading back to the hotel.

As McDonald’s Head of Welsh Football, Giggs had to get some sleep before heading home to present the Welsh Community Football Awards “to recognise those who dedicate their time, effort and hard work into grassroots football throughout Wales”. The ceremony was set for September 2 at the Cardiff City Stadium, where Giggs’ Wales were taking on Austria in their own World Cup qualifier.

Giggs is working hard

But this is how the Mail reported things:

Ryan Giggs is well known in Malta due to the time he has spent on the island, starting from his early days at Manchester United. He also invested in a hotel group there with Gary Neville.

Nevertheless Giggs, along with ITV colleagues Paul Ince, Ian Wright and Glenn Hoddle, chose to return home from Malta as soon as possible after the game on Friday – even if it meant a 5.30am exit from their hotel on Saturday.

Task! And after all Malta has done for him…

Posted: 5th, September 2017 | In: Back pages, manchester united, Sports | Comment

McDonald’s twitter account to Donald Trump: ‘You are actually a disgusting excuse of a President’

Looks like McDonald’s might be more wholesome that otherwise thought. At 9:15 a.m today the McDonald’s official twitter account pinged a tweet to President Donald Trump: “You are actually a disgusting excuse of a President and we would love to have @BarackObama back, also you have tiny hands.”


twitter trumps tiny hands mcdonald's



Was someone clowning around with the McDonald’s account? The restaurant chain has deleted the tweet. It then tweeted (officially):

Twitter notified us that our account was compromised. We deleted the tweet, secured our account and are now investigating this.

Round up the usual suspects:



Spotter: Gizmodo

Posted: 16th, March 2017 | In: Reviews | Comment

How to turn your McDonald’s drink cup and straw into a dubstep amplifier

mcdonalds dubstep straw


Posted: 21st, October 2015 | In: Music, Reviews | Comment

Man busted for dipping cotton wool on McDonald’s coffee and rubbing them over his skin

To a McDonald’s in Roseburg, Oregon, where coffee is a perfume:


Meanwhile at McDonald's in Roseburg, Oregon

Posted: 15th, March 2015 | In: Strange But True, The Consumer | Comment

Indie band Ex Cops open letter to McDonald’s who asked them to play for burgers during SXSW

ex cops letter


Happy day for Amalie Bruun and Brian Harding. The pop duo known as Ex Cops are invited to play at the Austin, Texas, SXSW. It would be just great. Think of the exposure. Think of the fans. Don’t think of the money because the invite from McDonald’s wants you to appear for free.


ex cops 1


The Ex Cops’ replied via their Facebook page:

‘McDonald’s asked us to play SXSW. This is Brian’s open letter about it.

This week our band was asked to play the McDonald’s Showcase at the annual South by Southwest, also known to music insiders as “SXSW.”

Their selling point was that this was “a great opportunity for additional exposure,” and that “McDonald’s will have their global digital team on site to meet with the bands, help with cross promotion, etc”

I don’t, and doubt that they know what this means either.

Getting past that rhetoric, at the very least a big corporation like McDonald’s can at least pay their talent a little. Right?

“There isn’t a budget for an artist fee (unfortunately)”

As of 2013, McDonalds is valued at 90.3 billion dollars.

I won’t get into the internet semantics of things you’ve probably seen on your Facebook feed; like that thing where it takes a McDonald’s worker 4 months to earn what the CEO makes in an hour, or their GMO love affair, and I will certainly spare you the bounty of photos showing how they treat their animals.

In lieu of being paid like a real artist, or anyone who is employed to do a service, McDonald’s assures us that we will “be featured on screens throughout the event, as well as POSSIBLY mentioned on McDonald’s social media accounts like Facebook (57MM likes!)”

We recently headlined a show at the Brooklyn venue Baby’s Alright. They are by no means a DIY venue, but they are still an independent small business. The owners are people our age who used to book shows at Pianos and busted their asses to open a venue of their own in Brooklyn.

While I haven’t asked Billy or Zach how much they make annually (that would be weird) I’m going to guess they’re not looking at brownstones in Prospect Park at the moment. Yet when we played, we were paid very very fairly, were provided with drink tickets, and each band member fed a full entree from their menu (try the Brussels sprouts)

I will also go ahead and save time for any schill / troll rebuttals; “Are the other showcases paying you? No one is holding a gun to your head!” This is true. It is our choice (pretty much) to fly to Austin, play shows without soundcheck, and get paid nothing to a little. But hear this loud and clear, we LOVE making music, it is what we do, and despite some of its very apparent flaws, SXSW still provides a decent venue to be heard by some people who are really there to hear new music and not just do blow with dudes who wear square toe loafers.

It is a horrifying and gross reality when one sees the true nature of corporations and their pathetic attempts to achieve relevance with millennials. Doritos received a lot of flack for their stage a couple years ago, but i’m going to assume they paid Lady Gaga.

Oh, I almost forgot; “McDonald’s will offer free food to all audience members”

I don’t doubt that tons of bands will kowtow to this lame, lame attempt at a rock show. And I’m aware that to achieve any exposure is a Herculean task in 2015, but the Boethian Wheel is a real thing, and this will continue to exist if we, as artists, keep saying yes in exchange for a taste of success. Even if smells like a shitty Fish filet.’

Can you be a burger artiste? Just wondering because McDonald’s have a few opportunities – all unpaid – for anyone who can pump sauce into intersting shapes…


Posted: 7th, March 2015 | In: Key Posts, Music, The Consumer | Comment

In 1979 The War On Drugs Outlawed The McDonald’s Spoon



MCDONALDS alientated a key demographic among its clientele: the drugs user.

McDonalds created a spoon that could measure out exactly 100 milligram amount of drugs. No, not sugar or salt (those will be banned soon enough), rather speed, cocaine and whatever else the cool kids were buying to get stoned with.

Anti-drugs lobbyists  led to the spoon’s removal from view, it being classed as drugs “paraphernalia”.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted: 23rd, September 2014 | In: The Consumer | Comment

McDonald’s Terminates Worker Who Put Free Swastika In Woman’s Chicken Sandwich

nazi chicken


LUCKY Charleigh Matice found a Swastika in  her McDonald’s chicken sandwich, bought at a brand in Morehead City, North Carolina.

Eat yer heart out, Hamburglar. This is the surprise gift that will get the kids flocking to the store.

But Charleigh was upset by the free extra. She says her grandfather fought for the Allies World War II. It’s not what he would have wanted.

McDonald’s is swift to punish:

“We are very sorry for the service that our customers received, and to be clear we have terminated the employee who was involved. We do not tolerate that kind of behavior at McDonald’s, and it’s not what we stand for personally as owners. It is about providing the best level of service and care to our customers, and anything less than that is unacceptable to us.”

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Posted: 12th, August 2014 | In: Strange But True, The Consumer | Comment

This Terribly Stupid Strike Against McDonald’s



THERE’S a very stupid piece of labour activism going on over in the US. It’s a series of strikes and demonstrations against McDonald’s over the pay that the people working in the stores receive. The reason it’s such a silly set of demos and strikes is simply that McDonald’s doesn’t actually employ the workers. So why shout at the people who can’t change the situation?

  More than 100 demonstrators seeking better pay for McDonald’s workers were arrested as protesters swarmed the fast-food chain’s corporate campus near Chicago demanding a minimum wage of $15 (£8.88) an hour and the right to unionise.

The protest against McDonald’s Corp, the world’s biggest restaurant operator by revenue, came a day before a shareholder vote on executive pay, including that of Chief Executive Don Thompson, who earned total compensation of $9.5 million (£5.62 million) in 2013.

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Posted: 22nd, May 2014 | In: Money, Reviews | Comment

McDonald’s Fan Stian Ytterdahl Gets Entire Menu Tattooed On His Arm

MEET 18-year-old Stian Ytterdahl of Lørenskog, Sweden. He’s got a tattoo on his arm of the entire McDonald’s menu. 

mc tattoo

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Posted: 27th, March 2014 | In: Reviews, Strange But True, The Consumer | Comment (1)

Drunk Yorkshire Woman Drove To McDonald’s Drive Thru When Staff Refused To Seve Her Unless She Was In A Car

WENDY Simpson had been drinking when she walked up to the Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, branch of McDonald’s.
But the shop was shut. Staff won’t serve her unless she used the 24 hour drive-thru window. 

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Posted: 23rd, March 2014 | In: Strange But True | Comment

McDonald’s Gets Dinged By The French Taxman

IT’S something of a pity that the various taxmen across Europe don’t actually understand the tax laws that they’re supposed to be administering. We had the case a couple of weeks back of Italy trying to impost the “Google Tax” in clear violation of EU law and here we’ve the French taxman going after McDonalds. Again, seemingly ignorant of the fact that they’re just not allowed to do this under EU law.

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Posted: 27th, January 2014 | In: Money, Reviews | Comment

Brilliant man invents the McEverything

Nick Chapman mcdonalds

WASTING time is a glorious endeavour and one writer has done something that is of zero use to anyone, but brilliant all the same.

He’s gone and invented the McEverything, which is basically the ultimate McDonald’s burger which has every sandwich on the menu contained within.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted: 20th, September 2013 | In: Reviews | Comment

Chicken McNugget rage video: customer threatens to eat waitress’s face and ‘shit it out into the gutter’

mcnuggets rage

I LIKE Chicken McNuggets. You like Chicken McNuggets. This woman loves chicken McNuggets. But, then, she also likes eating the fast food worker’s face and “****ing it out into the gutter”. After I while, I guess your tastebuds just die:

Other key utterances not on the menu:

“I’m gonna eat your ***ing face and I’m gonna digest it, and shit it out into the gutter”

“Don’t make me assume my ultimate form”

“I’ll do more than just ****ing hiss at you”

“…you fat meatbag, I will end you”

“I want my ****ing nuggets”

“You want a piece of me”

(No. I want 20 pieces with sauce on the side)

“I will get my super sayan”

Posted: 16th, July 2013 | In: The Consumer | Comment

Behold! The Irishman stuck in a baby seat in McDonald’s!

mcdonalds_stuck copy

THE Irish are an unfairly maligned people, often jibed at for being a country of dimwits. However, like all national stereotypes, there’s always one berk on-hand to live up to it.

And so, we go to a McDonald’s in Cork (bring back the Oriental McRib, please) where a man managed to get himself stuck in a baby seat like a big buffoon.

Of course, the Gardai had to be called out and here’s the picture evidence.

“McDonald’s is aware of the incident involving a customer who decided to sit in one of our children’s high-chairs in Winthrop Street,” said a representative from McDonald’s.

“And as you can see, we recommend that children don’t use the high-chair without adult supervision!”

The man fulfilled another Irish stereotype while he was at it: He was reportedly drunk at the time.


Posted: 16th, May 2013 | In: Strange But True, The Consumer | Comment (1)

Fast food legends: creator of the McDonald’s Chicken McNugget dies

A LEGEND whose work impacted on all of our lives has died. Former McDonald’s CEO Fred Turner, creator of the Chicken McNugget, has died:

Last week when he was in the hospital, Mr. Turner turned to his daughter, Teri Turner, and two of his grandchildren.

“He said to us, ‘Who’s had a better life than me?’ “ she recalled. “He said, ‘I did something with my life. I made a difference.’ ”

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Posted: 10th, January 2013 | In: The Consumer | Comment

Thanks for the Olympic McDonald’s (photo tribute)

THANKS, McDonalds. Thanks for a great London 2012 Olympics! Now for Rio!

Posted: 12th, August 2012 | In: Sports | Comment

McDonald’s medal table says Team USA are beating Team China

HOW is Team USA getting along in the 2012 Olympics? Well, it turns out that in spite of winning fewer gold medals than China, the Americans are winning. The McDonald’s Olympics table on NBC shows that Team USA are well ahead of Team World. It’s all those bronze medals, readers – which is understandable given that McDonald’s gives its own staff gold stars aplenty…

Spotter: DaiBaker

Posted: 9th, August 2012 | In: Sports | Comments (2)

What the McDonald’s Olympics tells us about shyster-friendly Government

YOU’LL have heard of this no chips but McDonald’s chips at the Olympic sites, yes? Because Mickey D’s is the official fast food sponsor of the Games. If people are going to be fed chip butties then they’re going to be from Mickey D’s.

One particular site is complaining in a slightly more sophisticated manner:

Companies like McDonald’s do sponsorship deals all the time. They’re very good at negotiating them. But this isn’t just any old sponsorship deal. It’s a massively important public event, in which it’s a privilege – for spectators, athletes and sponsors – to participate. Every potential sponsor should have been made very strongly aware of that from the outset.

In other words, if LOCOG had been stronger negotiators – if they had been more confident in what they had to offer to sponsors – the Olympics, for God’s sake – then the balance of power would be more even and we would be reading fewer of these depressing stories.

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Posted: 13th, July 2012 | In: Money | Comments (3)

Racist ad of the day: 1976 McDonald’s

RACIST advert of the day harks back to 1976, when the Golden Arches welcomed black folks inside with the news that thee don’t ahve to get dressed up and “there’s no tipping”. “Get down with your food” at the place where yo mama’s legs are optional…

Posted: 9th, July 2012 | In: The Consumer | Comment

Behind the scenes on a McDonald’s photo shoot

YOU know food adverts that look nothing like the actual food. Well, Hope Bagozz, marketing director McDonald’s Canada has filmed the makings of a Quarter Pounder with Cheese photo shoot. (No need to rush, Mr photographer. That burger cannot be killed by conventional weapons.)

via PetaPixel

Posted: 22nd, June 2012 | In: The Consumer | Comment

LOCOG celebrates ‘best of British’ with Coca-Cola, McDonald’s, Nature Valley and Heineken

THE latest missive from the The London 2012 Organising Committee (LOCOG) is headlined: “London 2012 serves up the best in British food.”

Oh, really?

The “800 spectator concessions…will showcase the great diversity and quality of British food.”

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Posted: 30th, May 2012 | In: Sports | Comment

Escaped cow heads to McDonald’s drive-thru

TO Brush, Colorado, where escaped cow Darcy has arrived at her destination, a McDonald’s drive-through.

Was she looking for an old pal?

Read: The Long Life Of A McDonald’s Happy Meal In Pictures

YouTube link.


Posted: 26th, April 2012 | In: Strange But True | Comment