Fast Food

Imagine yourself behind the counter or in the drive- through window at McDonalds. You are programmed how to act and what to say. You have been working there for three years and earn a salary of $5.50 an hour. You have never exceeded 29 hours while working there. These circumstances are true for over 40 percent of six million people employed in restaurants today (Ritzer 59). The reason for these circumstances are due to the change in our society by which the consumer wants the biggest, fastest, and best product they can get for their money. This change in society can be attributed to a process known as McDonaldization. Although McDonaldization can be applied to many other parts of our society, this paper will focus on its impacts on the inequalities in the workplace, along with some theoretical discussions on the topic.
My belief is that the process of McDonaldization, where the ideology of McDonald’s has come to dominate the world, has caused many restaurants to emulate McDonald’s style of running a franchised restaurant chain in terms of efficiency, calculability, predictability, and control (Ritzer 60). First, before I discuss the impact of Mcdonaldization on restaurants, I will define what McDonaldization is. McDonaldization is the process by which the principles of fast-food restaurants are coming to dominate more and more sectors of American society, as well as, of the rest of the world (Ritzer). George Ritzer created this concept of McDonaldization as a continuation of Max Weber’s theories on bureaucracies (Ritzer 61). Max Weber defines a bureaucracy as a goal-oriented organization designed according to rational principles in order to efficiently attain their goals.Its three main characteristics are that it has a division of labour, hierarchy of authority, and an impartial and impersonal application of rules and policies (www.faculty.rsu.edu/Theorists/Weber/Whome.htm). Thus, from that definition of a bureaucracy, one would conclude that McDonald’s is a bureaucracy. The fact that it is bureaucracy is supported by the fact that each assigns workers to a specific job where each worker individually contributes to the overall success of the restaurant by doing his or her job. For example, McDonalds workers are assigned to work at the grill, register, or drive-through window. The restaurant also has ranks while on the job such as worker, shift manager, crew chief, and franchise owner. These ranks demonstrate the hierarchy of authority. Furthermore, the restaurant enforces the impartial and impersonal application of rules and policies.

Through the eyes of C. Wright Mills and many other theorists, this bureaucratic demiurge causes alienation of its workers. It also creates powerless workers that follow the orders from the managers. Mills states that modern bureaucratic capitalism alienates its workers from both the process and the product of work (Wallace 107-108). The Frankfurt theorists also believe that alienation is the central issue when discussing the effects of bureaucratic capitalism on personality (Wallace 103). The workers in bureaucracies are denied such basic needs as creativity and identity. This causes their work to be entirely impersonal. They have no love for working; they just complete their work. Basically, they explain bureaucracies as dysfunctional and creativity blockers that deform human personalities.

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In the short video, Fast Food Women, the process of McDonaldization and the insights from Mills and the Frankfurt school can be clearly observed. The video illustrates women in Kentucky that work in various fast food restaurants. Even though their jobs all differ, these women are very similar. They are programmed workers that act the same, they get paid minimum wage, and they have no health benefits at all.
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Fast Food

Background

One of the greatest concerns facing parents across the world today is getting their children to adopt healthy eating habits. Unfortunately, due to the economic pressures, many parents spend only a few hours with their children as they work long hours and only realize their children have developed unhealthy eating habits when it is too late. Parents only realize the poor eating habits after they have developed obvious signs of unhealthy eating habits such obesity or diabetes.

Childhood eating habits not only affect an individual’s childhood, this habit follows them for the rest of their lives. An explanation for this phenomenon is that foundational behaviors are developed at childhood and if children develop poor eating habits during this age, these same habits will become part of their life unless proper interventions are undertaken.

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Research shows that the number of obese and overweight children is growing at a startling rate and nearly a third of all children now have a weight problem. Moreover, children are developing diseases that were previously associated with adults. These findings are a wake-up call for all of us to lay the groundwork for healthy eating habits among our children now and in the future.

Don’t Blame the Eater

Summary

Zinczenko begins the article with a reference to a case in which some children are suing McDonald’s for making them overweight. He mentions that before 1994, diabetes was a genetic disorder with just 5% of all cases being linked to obesity, however, this has changed and obesity now accounts for more than 30% of all cases of diabetes among children.

This has led to a corresponding increase in the money used to treat diabetes. He attributes obesity among children to the lack of alternative foods. Further complicating this issue is the lack of information regarding the nutritional information of various fast foods on their packages as done on groceries, advertisements too do not warn potential users of health effects the way cigarette ads does (Zinczenko, para. 9).

Critical Analysis

Although I agree with Zinczenko’s assertion that the lack of alternative healthy foods is making children to resort to snacks and other unhealthy foods, hence developing poor eating habits, I disagree with his claim that lack of nutritional information on fast food packaging augments children’s poor eating habits.

Zinczenko’s assertion that the lack of alternative healthy foods contributes to poor eating habits is true since most of our streets are dotted with fast food ventures with only a few businesses selling healthy foods. This leaves the children, particularly school-going teenagers, with only a few options and resort to fast foods for their daily food requirements.

However, the parents also have a role in influencing their children’s eating habits since studies show that parents play a great role in determining their children’s eating habits. Parents are therefore partly to blame for children’s unhealthy eating habits.

The author’s claim that lack of nutritional information on fast food packaging is a major cause of obesity among children and teenagers is not true. When a child purchases fast food, he/she pays little attention to the nutritional information printed on the packaging.

Instead, they give priority to brand name and it is common to hear a child order a snack by its brand name and proceed to consume it without paying attention to the amount of calories it contains. If this claim were true, children would avoid fast foods with nutritional information on their packaging, however, this is not the case.

Work Cited

Zinczenko, David. Don’t Blame the Eater. The New York Times. November 2002. Web.

February 21, 2011.

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