Top five things McDonald's should apologize for

So McDonald's is issuing a "surprising, embarrassing and uncharacteristic" apology to its Australian customers because McCafé coffee sucks.

"We are the largest coffee chain in Australia, but we know we are not the most loved," Helen Nash, McDonald's Australian COO, told The Australian. "Customers have told us we can do better, and we are saying, 'We have heard you, and now we hope you notice the difference.'"

As long as McDonald's is getting into public acts of contrition, it has a few apologies to make to its loyal customers here in the country where the chain got its start. And so we're serving up our top five things McDonald's should apologize for.

5. Jerking us around with the dollar menu.

You add items, you take them away. Your star player, the double cheeseburger, is on the dollar menu. Then it's only got one slice of cheese and is renamed the "McDouble." Is it .99 cents or $1.19? Now there are industry rumors that it's being pulled off the dollar menu. Consumers who don't follow commodities prices have whiplash. People inside the industry are aware that meat and dairy prices are high and projected to rise even more by the end of 2011, but average consumers just see too much flippity-McDoo taking place at the drive-thru.

McDonald's, you're exploiting the rotten economic situation by touting the dollar menu, then getting your wrappers in a bunch when customers order more off it than you would like. Just go ahead and issue one of those non-apology apology statements, figure out what's on the dollar menu and how much it's going to cost, and quit working against Americans' sense of entitlement by playing Red Rover with the .99 cent things. 4. Consistent condiment deprivation.

We are all really f***ing tired of ordering our f***ing food and not getting f***ing condiments that we not only request, but now pay money for. We get that filling paper bags with dozens of free ketchup packets and micro-tubs of wing sauce was a significant cash drain, so we're willing to meet you halfway -- requesting condiments rather than expecting them, and ponying up the change to buy extras when we want a whole barbeque sauce for each McNugget.

But when we are forced to flip a bitch in the parking lot and re-wait in a plodding line to get the syrup we already asked for, the least McDonald's could do is issue a public apology -- because it'd be easier than us choking one out of a misanthropic McD's employee. Have you guys at corporate ever tried to huckle down dry hotcakes in the car? It turns swallowing into an Olympic sport. 3. Emotionally manipulating us with the McRib. Items that are only available seasonally drive us batshit crazy unless they are items that we don't like that much. Lucky for you, McDoo, we like the McRib sandwich, we want the McRib sandwich, and you parading it around like a hot stripper at a bachelor party and then taking it away again is just plain cruel. We dealt with you taking away our French fries fried in beef-flavored oil so that you could placate the screaming vegans, but culinarily water-boarding us with images of the McRib and then only giving it to us for ten minutes every year is way over the line. Say you are sorry, recognize that we are Americans and we want Christmas all year 'round, and put the coveted sandwich on the permanent menu. 2. Sporadic shakes and cone denial.

Why, oh, why, do you guys choose such inopportune times to break down and clean the ice cream machine? It doesn't seem to matter if we show up at a store at the butt-crack of dawn, during soap-opera hours, at lunch, on a balmy afternoon, during the dinner rush or on a late post-bar-hopping stretch: We just want a strawberry shake.

We just want a hot fudge sundae. And yet every day, in any given store in this country, our soft-serve wishes are thwarted by the machinations of your unpredictable employees. We know they have to clean the machines; we want dairy treats free from cobwebs and machine crustie, too. But can't you issue some sort of a corporate apology and mandate that cleanings are to be done quickly and at consistent times? 1. McCafé coffee...we hate it, too.

You introduced your scroungy blech-water in Australia back in 1993, and they do deserve a heartfelt (or at least elegantly contrived) apology for that, but the U.S. is still your biggest customer, we spend more money at your restaurants than the Aussies do, and we get the same bad coffee -- so you owe us an apology, too. A bigger and better one, now that we are sloppy seconds to your Aussie friends with bennies.

We love that McDonald's attempted to whip out its corporate member and do a size check with Starbucks, but save Americans the swordfight and tell us how truly sorry you are for subjecting us to your swill. And while you are pulling a Domino's-Pizza-already-done-it-and-it-worked P.R. rehab routine, actually g'head and produce a better cup of coffee -- because freebie coupons will only work for you if customers order your coffee a second time.

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Jenn Wohletz
Contact: Jenn Wohletz