You've got $10 in your pocket and it's lunchtime so you decide to spend $5 on a burger and a coke. Against your better judgement you decide to go to a fast food place because you know you can get a burger and a coke from McDonald's for under $5. You pull into the drive thru and scan the menu wall of pretty pictures of fries and big juicy burgers and before you know it you're ordering by number instead of by name - "Let me get a number 2".
"Would you like cheese with that?" Cha-ching
"Would you like to make it a large?" Cha-ching
"Want to add a pie for $1 dollar more?" Cha-ching
"Your total is $9.50. Please pull up to the window"
45 minutes later lunch is over you're broke. To top it off your gut is overstuffed with fries and you're thinking about the extra 2 hours you need to workout to get rid of that cheese you added to your double burger (that was supposed to be a simple burger).
Does this sound familiar? You have just become another victim of "The Great Value Meal Scam"
The Great Value Meal Scam - Bundling burgers, fries and sodas together to force consumers to buy more food than they really want and to pay more than they have to.
1) Contrary to what Ronald McDonald tells you, many people do not want french fries EVERY TIME they want a hamburger.
2) Drink refills are free at Wendy's, Burger King, etc. so NO ONE should ever need to order a large coke.
If both of these things are true, then why do millions of Americans go for the "Value Meal"? People get the "Value Meal" because corporations have tricked consumers into thinking that a Value Meal is a good deal. They have found a way to trick you into believing you are getting over on them when they are the ones who have actually gotten over on you.
|What McDonald's tells you||What you think is happening||What is really happening|
|"For $1 more you can go large"||I am getting a ton more fries and drink for a really good price||McDonald's is making more profit because it costs them 10 cents to give you those extra fries and 4oz of extra coke|
|"You want cheese?"||My burger will have more flavor now||A slice of cheese costs burger King 10 cents but they just charged you 50 cents for it.|
|"You want the sandwich or the meal?"||They are offering you a way to save money||They are trying to get you to spend more money|
|"You want a drink with that?"||They want me to have a great dining experience||Water is free so they are taking that option off the table. They want you to buy $1.50 coke NOT drink free water|
Fast food mega-corporations exist to maximize profit. Most of the profit is made on the sodas and the fries, but only if you buy them. The "Value Meal" is the way to get you to buy fries and soda and to overpay for them. MacDonalds gets richer and you get fatter.
Corporations know that too many Americans are inherently lazy and will just order a meal deal. We stare at the big pictures on the wall menu and grunt out our choice - "Give me a Number 2". When the cashier asks the right questions to make your "Number 2" bigger and more costly, they are just maximizing the amount of money they can suck out of your wallet.
Instead of falling into the "Value Meal" trap, buy the individual items that YOU want to buy. Ordering separately will almost always save you money. If you just want a burger and a drink, order a whopper and a small coke. Refills are free so you can drink as much as you want and you will STAY UNDER BUDGET. If you want fries, order a small fries from the Dollar Menu and you will still come out ahead.
Jack doesn't even like his own tacos. Jumbaco!, Jumbaco!, Jumbaco!, Jumbaco!
Most fast food places offer free refills on soda so you should NEVER order a large drink. Get a small and go get your free refill.
Every question they ask you at a drive thru is designed to get you to spend more money. Just say no to "make it a large?" or "do you want cheese with that?"
If you want a REAL value meal order from the "Dollar Menu". A burger, fries and a coke will cost $3 not $7.
Water is FREE. You can order the biggest burger on the menu but if you order a water with it you will still spend less than $5
The "Dollar Menu" has become smaller and smaller over the years but take your time and look for it. All the major fast food joints have them and using that menu will save you 50% or more.
Only order a value meal if you want that specific burger, AND fries AND a LARGE drink. This is the only scenario where a "Value Meal" costs less than ordering items individually.
Return to The Food Survival Guide Home