I don’t play the lottery. Why? Because I’m sane and know that I would have to have a terminal case of the luck virus to ever win. But what has traditionally gotten me is the Monopoly game at McDonald’s. In the past, I have rationalized it as such:

  1. I have to eat anyway. Might as well eat at the place that might give me a million bucks.
  2. Even though I’m buying things I usually wouldn’t get and thus paying a bit more, this is offset by the fact that I’m usually winning free food for return trips.
  3. If Nancy in Albuquerque can win, why can’t I? (Alright, maybe point 3 isn’t very rational.)

Cut to this year. Yay, McDonald’s is bringing back Monopoly again in the month of October! This is my year! And then it’s nothing but headaches. The choice I have made (usually with my family) to eat at McDonald’s over other better and potentially cheaper options has been made exclusively for Monopoly. So of course I am going to maximize the number of pieces I can possibly get.

Here are the problems:

1a. There is no clear listing of what food items come with pieces. In fact, the signage is confusing and misleading. On one trip,  my wife purchased the Southern Style Chicken sandwich based on the signage sort of indicating it came with pieces. It does not. The Big Mac does. The website shows a clear list of what comes with pieces, but I’m not looking at the website when I walk into the restaurant. I’m towing two kids, looking for an empty high chair, grabbing a stack of napkins so I can wipe down a table, and hoping the message for what items have pieces is clearer than a McDonald’s picture menu.

1b. Not only is it not clear to customers, but it’s not clear to the employees as well. My wife went through a drive-thru to order fries and asked “Which size comes with Monopoly pieces?” The employee answered that a medium had pieces so that’s what my wife ordered. A medium does not come with pieces. On a second trip, we couldn’t find signage so ask the employee what items have pieces. The employee responds that only the fries and drinks have pieces. This is clearly wrong as some sandwiches and McNuggets do as well.

2. In the past, you have been able to get a larger size value meal and get more pieces. I guess that’s technically true now as well, but they’re skimping on what they’ve given in the past. It used to be a value meal came with two pieces on the fries and two pieces on the drink for a total of four pieces. Then, if you ordered a larger value meal, you got a fry container with four pieces (and sometimes an extra item like a Best Buy bonus piece or something) and two on the drink for a total of six pieces. Now, it’s two on the drink and none on the fries for the medium meal or four on the fries and none on the drink for the large meal.

Clearly I am obsessing over little issues here. So what if I only get four pieces instead of six? What does it matter? Well, I guess that’s my point. What was a fun little game has lost its appeal (no pun intended). Clearly it’s not worth it. So, why not just skip it all together and enjoy a better meal somewhere else? That’s my plan, McDonald’s. That’s my plan.