Back from vacation in Italy (and a day in Switzerland). What thoughts do I bring back with me? Beautiful views, climate or language? NO! My main thought after this trip: Is there a ketchup shortage in parts of Europe?
At the Burger King we went to in Switzerland, you had to pay extra for a tiny ketchup packet. After paying the equivalent of 51 dollars (for two kids meals, a burger and nuggets), we couldn’t afford the ketchup. First time in my life I had to tell my kids, “I’m sorry, we can’t afford ketchup.”
And then at the airport McDonald’s in Italy, when our family of 4 asked for ketchup, the clerk gave us one tiny package. We asked for more and he brought up one more package. We gave up at that point as the line was long behind us.
So don’t listen to all those people who tell you to bring blue jeans over from the states. Apparently, Americans should be bringing suitcases full of ketchup. That’s where your money is – at least in southern Europe.
What is the fascination with McDonald’s for children? Growing up in the states, I always assumed it was because they had playgrounds and funny characters. However, in Stockholm, it is rare to find a playground in a McDonald’s (maybe out in the outskirts on the highway) and they don’t seem to use the characters. My kids have no idea who the Hamburglar, Grimace, etc. are. They have also never in their lives seen a commercial for McDonald’s. So what is the draw? They are fascinated with it and it’s their favorite place to go. Apparently, it’s only for the plastic toy in the Happy Meal that they never play with 5 minutes outside of the restaurant.
I gave my kids a choice of two burger restaurants the other day and it was fun to listen to their decision-making process:
Kid 1: Mc Donald’s has toys.
Kid 2: The other place has a play center.
They were actually completely even on this and let a third friend make the decision.
Another idea – it seems to be that if you want to solve the obesity problem in the U.S., you should just give away toys with meals at nutritional places.
This past weekend I went to a book-release party in the book department of a department store. This has to be the strangest place I’ve ever been for a party. I’m fairly sure that whoever runs the department store must have realized that everyone would be using books for coasters and potato chip plates. Even stranger was that there were 2 bands performing. This was not a bookstore or a large book section; it was a small crowded book department. The screaming singer was crawling on the floor between the displays for Fifty Shades of Grey and Pokémon Adventures (an odd combination to have next to each other anyway – but maybe not….. I haven’t read either). It really took away from the atmosphere they were trying to create.
I started wondering how you could ruin other parties just by location. Nobel award dinner at McDonald’s? 80th birthday party at a butcher store? Retirement party at the pharmacy? For myself, I’m planning my 40th at the airport security line.