My dearest Ronald.
My name is Ciaran Watkins, and I’m twenty three (almost twenty four!) years old. I’m going to make it quite clear early on; I dislike your food.
That’s correct. I think that McDonald’s food is appalling. The burgers are too greasy, they’re almost always badly made, they’re bland, tasteless, and lord knows they have absolutely nothing going on for them in the calorie department. Your chips, or should I say ‘fries’, are that of the same; a mess of overly fried, overly salted stodge that barely passes as being even slightly potato related. Your drinks are almost always flat, and filled to brim with too much ice, but not many places at all can get something as hard as a Diet Coke right, so we’ll chalk that one up to bad experiences.
Although I was once addicted to your Sausage McMuffins (even though I detested ordering them with that name), and have occasionally succumbed to the odd pancake breakfast, I can safely say I eat in your ‘restaurants’ less than once a year. Now you may think “Why is this person writing to tell me this? What point could this poor soul be trying to convey?!” but I’m just about to get to that.
Today Ron, if I’m allowed to call you that, I looked out of my window, and I saw the sun. That’s correct, the sun. Now for someone living in Manchester, this is a rare once in a lifetime opportunity, so would you like me to tell you what I did on this glorious mid March day? Well Ron, I donned my finest pair of old-jeans-turned-shorts-via-scissors-and-fold-ups, the whitest of white “Goonie’s Never Say Die” tshirt, a pair of vans with no socks (That’s right Ron, no socks, for we were truely bless with the warmest of temperatures!), and perhaps the pièce de résistance, a pair of my lovely girlfriend’s sunglasses. With my outfit decided, I strode out of my flat with my head held high. Today was rare Ron, today was summer.
Now you may be trying to understand why I chose to divulge that glorious piece of information, but it comes down to this. Although I seldom partake of what you try to pass off as ‘food’, I do have one weakness when it comes to The Golden Arches. I, like every man, woman, and child on a hot, sweltering day, like to partake in something that it seems only your chain of burger bars can get even remotely right. I like a blisteringly cold, refreshingly thick, perfectly sweetened milkshake. Yes, I like to partake in a milkshake so frozen and thick, that I have to use the straw as a spoon to begin with, before the heat of the day, and the heat of my hand start the slow but equally wonderful melting process. I had looked forward to this milkshake the second I looked out of my window and saw the glorious orange hue of the British sunshine. I had looked forward to this moment, for six months or so. Yes, it had been six months since my last milkshake Ron. Six months. Do you know what I found out as I practically waltzed into your store Ron, filled with the joy and gusto of a small cockney child upon hearing he was going to play the lead in the new Bob Hoskins adaptation? I heard that the perfect flavour of milkshake is no longer available. Why Ron? Why would you take away one of my summer pleasures? Why would you take away my vanilla milkshake?
Vanilla Ron. My vanilla. This is what I fail to understand. Vanilla, the perfect flavour of milkshake, is no longer available. Replacing this wondrous flavour, is the incredibly odd choice of ‘caramel’. CARAMEL?! Who in their right mind is going to partake in a ‘caramel’ milkshake? Just to emphasise that again, CARAMEL!?!?!
“Why Ciaran, we have two other flavours of milkshake for your enjoyment. Why not try a chocolate or strawberry milkshake, and forget your crippling need for a vanilla milkshake”. I did Ron, I did just that, and dear God I regretted my decision. After partaking in what you’re trying to pass off as ‘chocolate’ these days, I regret to inform you that real chocolate, proper chocolate, doesn’t actually taste like that. Chocolate should be sweet, dark, slightly bitter. It should have some colour to it. It shoudn’t taste like dank coffee with at least fifteen spoonfuls of sugars in it. That’s not chocolate Ron. That’s mockolate. Mockolate, as in it makes an absolute and utter mockery of chocolate.
I quickly forgot about that failed experiment, and I moved on to my second milkshake. Strawberry. This, unbelievably, was even worse than the mockolate milkshake. Never have I tasted something so sickeningly sweet. Never have I recoiled and smacked my lips so hard Ron. It was awful. Again, similarly to the chocolate milkshake, your strawberry milkshake tasted nothing like what it was supposed to; the classic British strawberry. After two mouthfuls I could not continue. I had a stomach ache that could be cured only by the smooth taste of vanilla. Unfortunately, you’ve made that impossible for me Ron. Impossible.
Vanilla might not be the most exotic of flavours. It can be misconstrued as being the flavour for the discerning ‘over-50’ gentleman, or for being the flavour of those people with an unadventurous palate, but you’re dead wrong. Vanilla may be the middle road in Flavourtown, but you have to understand Ron, that some of us, some of us just like it that way. Some of us stroll down the middle of the road, hand in hand, celebrating in the mild, smooth, refreshing taste of vanilla. We prefer the crisp, clean taste of vanilla over your sickeningly sweet ‘strawberry’, or the fullness of your seemingly devoid-of-chocolate ‘chocolate’ flavour. For us Ron, vanilla is a way of life. Why try to change, when you can sip the nectar of the gods, and join together in the appreciation of the most unlikely flavoursome pod.
This is where my complaint lies Ron. You have deprived me of something I enjoy. Something I look forward to. With this in mind, I shall be making a stand. I alone, hopefully soon to be followed by the hundreds and thousands of vanilla milkshake drinkers, will be boycotting your vanilla milkshakeless selection. I shall be taking my money, business, prosperity and word-of-mouth to your rivals in the vain hope of trying to find another shake to satisfy my vanilla cravings. I need this Ron. I need my vanilla milkshake.
I hope your company can survive without my purchase of at least two, that’s right two, milkshakes this summer season Ron. I really do. You have not only lost my business, but you have lost my respect.
Yours ungratefully, disappointed and broken, and unfortunately milkshakeless,