July 13, 2009

Free, but at what cost?

I was definitely intrigued by McDonald's recent announcement that every Monday through August 3, they would be offering free sample sizes of their McCafe Mochas. It seemed like the perfect little treat for me to grab one morning while out running errands or what have you, and - even though I got a late start on the day today - I stopped by after the lunch rush to cash in on my free sample.

Can I just tell you that no matter how horrible the food is, I freaking love the smell of a McDonald's? There is just something about it that takes me back to being a kid and the specialness of getting a cheeseburger and fries, and the smell is still EXACTLY the same as it was back then, and I always get a little bit high when I walk in there. And I'm sure that is exactly what they are going for. But McDonald's is really bringing it when it comes to appealing to my visual senses lately and it was sort of all I could do to resist the urge to get myself some sort of bacon and cheese smothered piece of beef with fries for Lunch: The Sequel. Their new menu boards are very chic and make everything seem VERY nice, even though I know it's the same old tiny burger patty in the same old white bread bun. Whoever redesigned those things deserves a prize, because if I weren't so savvy, I would be toast. Or a McGriddle.

Anyway, I know as well as most smart shoppers that getting you in the McDonald's with it's crack smell and pretty pictures to get your "free sample" of the McCafe is a gamble the company is taking to try and upsell you on ANYTHING else. And I'm sure it will end up working out very well for Ronald & Co. But not on me, and I could tell that the McEmployee was kind of irritated when I confirmed that I only wanted my sample McMocha.

And though I had tried a McLatte before and have not been super impressed, I was willing to give McMocha a chance, especially since - as I found on my way over to McD's - my Dunkin Donuts has closed after less than 2 years in operation. (Hmph. There goes my Sunday morning bagel with blueberry cream cheese! AND I HAD COUPONS!) So I watch as the McEmployee #2 makes my McMocha with care (seriously! I was shocked), and as he hands it to me, I realize that I am looking forward to getting maybe five good, long sips out of this thing. It was so small, y'all. How small? Well take a gander:
Look at that quarter next to the McMocha! Look at the wee-ness of the cup! Look how big my regular straw is in there! (Oh, how I wish there had been mini-straws! Maybe I should have drunk it from a coffee stirer straw!) And if you know me in real life, you know I love abnormally sized things so that even though this sample size at first seemed a negative, it's mini-ness quickly won me over.

Until I tasted it.

How was it, you wonder? In a word: Artificial. Can we really not spring for real chocolate in our mochas, McD's? I mean, it was so NOT good that I didn't even drink all 4-5 ounces of liquid in that cup. And I gave it a proper opportunity to get better through 3-4 small sips. Sadly, McMocha did not prevail.

So, I am left now in a world of coffee-less Sunday mornings. McCafe's are too gross to pay for and Dunkin Donuts has apparently shut down overnight, leaving behind no evidence of ever existing in the location. My local coffee shop (which I am missing SO bad during this experiment, btw!) isn't open Sundays and I am scared to death they may suffer the same fate as Dunkin if I can't figure out how to convince people to go out of their way for local, natural, freshly baked goods and coffees. I'm pretty much willing to stand with my cute baby on the highway with a sandwich board if necessary!!!

Verdict? The time I had to take getting there, getting the baby out of the car, getting in, placing my order and then going back home to drink my nasty little "treat" was just not worth the price I didn't pay.

Of course, I'm aware that my opinion is just that, so what's your take on the McCafe? Thumbs up? Thumbs down? Have another place I can get my Sunday Morning Treats? Want to send me a coupon?

The floor is yours...


Zufall said...

It's free, Goldilocks. In other news, on July 14th Long John Silvers will be giving out free Baja Fish Tacos. See you there.

Tiana said...

I think the real problem with the size is that the straw is meant for a giant soft drink and it's in an APPROPRIATELY SIZED glass....

just sayin'

Anonymous said...

McNasty....I agree.