April 15, 1955, and the first McDonald's "restaurant" opened in Des Plaines, Illinois, named by milk shaker-salesman Ray Kroc after the McDonald brothers, Dick and Mac, whose hamburger stand in San Bernadino, California became his inspiration. The rest... yeah well you know.
I'm going to commemorate half a century of Macca's today in the most symbolic fashion I can think of: by eating a works hamburger from the corner shop. It will be more nutritious (though how nutritious will be open to debate), contain none of that chemical mixture they call "special sauce", and I'll be supporting local small business.
And tonight I might get out the "Super Size Me" DVD again.
I stopped going to Macca's about three years ago (though I did have a dinner at the now-defunct McDonald's subsidiary Boston Market next to the RPA the night after my daughter was born). At my worst I was a twice-a-day Maccas person, when they had an outlet across the road from my place of work in Hunter Street, Newcastle. Then the 1989 earthquake shut the McDonald's (and most business in Hunter Street) down rather abruptly. Perhaps the one and only reason to be thankful for the earthquake.
Read the Corporate Responsibility section of the McDonald's website. The McDonald's Australia website has a PDF download of a piece of glowing propaganda called the MacPack (it's 3.4 megs and they don't tell you much about corporate responsibility or community involvement on their non-flash website).
And when are we going to get McDelivery like they have in Mumbai?
Perhaps a more useful resource is McSpotlight, the official website of the McLibel case. The updated documentary of McLibel was screened on BBC Four a few hours ago and had its world premiere in the cinemas last weekend.
And this Sydney Morning Herald article from 2003 documents the successful resistance to McDonald's expansion in and around the city.