Le Big Mac and the Royal with Cheese
The Romans knew how to move water.
Today we visited Pont de Gard, which is the ruins of a towering Roman aqueduct which channeled water from Uzes to Nimes. After the visit we started up our rented Skoda and headed down the rural route to L’isle Sur la Sorgue , which we will be staying at for the next few days.
We were feeling hungry and I had been joking with Shenya and Andrew that it was time to stop off and get a le big mac from McDonald’s — which we had avoided until now. We wanted to test two things: (1) whether there was such thing as a Royal with Cheese and (2) whether we could in fact order a beer at McDonald’s. Not to keep the suspense going, the answer is yes to both.
We stopped in the city of Beaucaire at the first McDonald’s along the path.
We visited McDonald’s a few times when we were in Russia last year. Aside from that, I think I went once years ago when I was in the Netherlands, but I can’t say I have been anywhere else.
The McDonald’s in Beaucaire was very similar to the McDonald’s that we visited across from the Moscow Train Station in Nizhniy Novgorod last year. It was also very much like the McDonald’s in downtown Avignon. It is also what I believe we will see more of in the States as time goes by.
When we entered the restaurant there are large touch screens on stands to the left in front of the service counter. You can see the screen behind us in the picture above. Each screen has a credit card machine at the bottom. We could select our preferred language. Once we selected English it asked us whether we had a “McDonald’s Account”. I pressed “no”. We then could scroll through the menu options. We selected the “Signature Menu” which was a bacon double cheese burger with friend potatoes and a Heineken. It tried to upsell a dessert item, but we resisted. Then Andrew selected a Happy Meal. We then tried to pay with our credit cards, but all of them were declined, but it placed our order and we approached and paid at the counter which was restricted to one cash register on the corner right next to the wall. There was not a line of cash registers, and in total I saw only three employees while I was there (albeit we were there at about 2:30 pm).
We then sat down in a booth. An employee brought us our food.
It seems quite apparent that we don’t need cashiers to select from a fast food menu. I wonder why McDonald’s is not deploying more touch screen in the States? I wonder whether minimum wage is still so low that it is cheaper or it is something that franchisees don’t really want to invest in right now. Either way I think it is only a matter of time until we see more of these.
There is something else that I want to touch on in this post. That is that we have run across many bathrooms that are not segregated by sex. This was the case with the bathroom at the Beaucarie McDonald’s. I didn’t take any pictures as I think that might be creepy even in France.
Most public bathrooms here in France have an ante room in which they had common sinks and hand dryers. Further on in there are individual stalls for people to use no matter what their sex. It makes me wonder why we are so fussy in the States about bathroom regulation when we just need private stalls. I mean, according to a mutual friend porta-potties are all unisex — why all the fuss?
Je suis Américain!