This week photographer Stephen Von Worley set the blogosphere buzzing with his astonishing image of the distribution of the 13,000 McDonald’s fast food outlets across the United States.
Close to highways and population centres, there is apparently no escape from the Big Macs, fries, 710-calorie salads and super-sized vats of coke.
Is anywhere sacred, wondered Von Worley?
“For maximum McSparseness, we look westward, towards the deepest, darkest holes in our map: the barren deserts of central Nevada, the arid hills of southeastern Oregon, the rugged wilderness of Idaho’s Salmon River Mountains, and the conspicuous well of blackness on the high plains of northwestern South Dakota. There, in a patch of rolling grassland, loosely hemmed in by Bismarck, Dickinson, Pierre, and the greater Rapid City-Spearfish-Sturgis metropolitan area, we find our answer. Between the tiny Dakotan hamlets of Meadow and Glad Valley lies the McFarthest Spot: 107 miles distant from the nearest McDonald’s, as the crow flies, and 145 miles by car!”
Yesterday, Britain’s Telegraph Newspaper reported that America’s Fast Food Temple is celebrating its 30th anniversary in France by opening its 1,142nd Gallic outlet a few yards from the Louvre Museum.
“This is the last straw,” said one art historian working at the Louvre, who declined to be named. “This is the pinnacle of exhausting consumerism, deficient gastronomy and very unpleasant odours in the context of a museum.”
This echoes the sentiment of many in France who view “McDo” as the Trojan horse of globalisation and the scourge of local produce and long lunches.
Despite this, statistics suggest the battle of Le Big Macs has already been lost. France has become McDonald’s biggest market in the world outside of the US, according to the chain. While business in traditional brasseries and bistros is in freefall, the fast food group opened 30 new outlets last year in France and welcomed 450 million customers – up 11 per cent on the previous year.
British people will either be horrified or reassured to know that despite the comparatively tiny size of our islands, we still find room for an artery-busting 1,250 McDonald’s outlets.
Is it any wonder we have an obesity crisis?
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