McDonalds drama arched out of control

All for a cheeseburger?


St Feudrews is certainly a force to be reckoned with, and I'm not just saying that because MySaint crashed today five minutes after an anonymous Feudrews post that "btw, exam results are up."

I'm reffering instead to the post which went up on the 19th of January. It claimed that the University is trying to "attract the likes of SME businesses and eateries such as McDonalds and Five Guys to stimulate activity in the area."

Now, it's entirely possible that this is all shit. It might not have even been an especially succesful shitpost, had a petition calling for a McDonalds branch in the bubble not been posted to St Feudrews shortly afterwards. Adam Johnston, who started the petition, told The Tab:

"I am a man passionate about my fast food. I care intensely about the taste, quality, variety AND value for money delivered by the restaurants I frequent: McDonald’s delivers on all these categories. This being my stance, I and some closely bonded comrades, upon discovering – to our horror -that the town we had chosen for our university was devoid of a Big Mac joint, made the feverous choice to begin what we always knew would be a long and arduous campaign. We strive to see our dreams of French fries become reality; our nuggets of hope become nuggets of chicken; our late night munchies quenched by the mighty Big M. We strive for what all self respecting citizens should support: the true future of fast food."

I believe he might be taking the piss.

The petition got a few shares on Facebook and Twitter, and currently has 108 signatures. It's real impact, however, has been on St Feudrews, upon which there have been, to date, over 50 McDonalds related posts, mainly discussing the benefits of bringing Macca's to the bubble, and the impact it might have on local St Andrean takeaways like Dervish, and it's inferior cousin Empire. (There, I said it.)

Among the subjects touched on in these posts have been elitism, obesity, communism, capitalism, globalism, the relative strengths and weaknesses of multinational corporations and smaller local businesses, immigration, workers rights abuses by McDonalds, (alleged) homophobia from the Dervish owners and, for some reason, The A Team.

Some of these posts have been thoughtful, intelligent and well-argued. Others have involved personal call-outs, fatshaming and borderline antisemitism. The word "cunt" has featured more often than I imagined would be neccessary in a debate above fast food. Now, I'm not going to weigh in on either side of the debate, but I do want to say something about the debate itself.

As I've said, the McDonalds kerfuffle took place at the same time as exam marks came out, and I think that's fitting. Exam marks sum up one side-and probably the more important one- of the St Andrean student experience, but the debate over McDonalds sums up so many aspects of others.

It sums up the clash between student idealism (standing up to The Man in the form of Ronald McDonald) and the millenial desire for more (or at least, more affordable takeaways.) It sums up the clash between maintaining what makes St Andrews unique (if Dervish counts as one of those things), and frustration at what makes it so expensive. It sums up the clash between the student desire to make fake news and the sometimes complimentary desire to make sure that everyone knows all your views in great detail. The fact it involved such St Andrean institutions as Feudrews, Dervish, high prices and unneccessary drama is icing on the cake.

So study this debate. In it's own way, it sums up St Andrews almost as well as academics and royal weddings.