The word “McJob” has appeared in the Oxford English dictionary since 2001, defined as “an unstimulating, low-paid job with few prospects, esp. one created by the expansion of the service sector.” This entry has chagrined the McDonalds corporation of the United Kingdom, who wants the definition to be changed because it is “out of date and inaccurate”. Yes, now that low-paying service industry employment has become a societal norm, a more accurate term than “McJob” would be just plain “Job.”
Unfortunately for McDonalds UK, our parlance does not take it cues from marketing divisions who want to tweak its public image. If it did, the definition for buzzwords like “innovative” and “adroit” would helpfully include exemplary corporate sponsors. “Class, who can tell me what this word means?” a teacher asks, pointing to “opportunity” on the blackboard. “Bank of America!” the pupils sing.
Perhaps by necessity, McDonalds UK places a greater emphasis on public relations that its American fountainhead (who, now that the super-sized criticism has slacked, is busy formulating a burger called the Third Pounder to great enthusiasm, here). McDonalds UK sponsors a website called “Make Up Your Own Mind about McDonalds” (here) to address the myriad concerns – dietary, nutritional, hygienic, environmental, societal, religious, moral – that one can have about their patronage of McDonalds.
There is a vast archive of “frank answers to genuine questions,” in which 1000s of customer concerns are addressed. This is a bold endeavor for a company as controversial as McDonalds, but they are apparently counting on the stupidity and ill-education of its would-be interrogators. The majority of the questions seemed to be misspelled, full of erroneous information, or just plain idiotic (see screenshots below).
Judging by the quality of the answers – which concisely blend public relations schtick, corporate integrity, and British condescension – there’s at least a few people employed at McDonalds who don’t have McJobs, they have McCareers and McProfessions. Here’s just a sampling of the questions: