When consumers do the work

This is another old blog entry of mine I want to have available again. Be assured, I will not start to republish my entire blog. Partly I am way to lazy to do this, and partly that would be extremely bad manners in my opinion.

The reason why I republish a bit of the blog entry over here is not only because I like it, but because I didn’t think, of the situation the quoted article describes, in such a way before. Look at the situation like at the famous egg of Columbus. Which ultimately makes me look like a stupid old fish, but well… It’s interesting, in my opinion.

The article has been written by Nicols Fox and has been published by the International Herald Tribune on Friday, May 6th 2005 on page 11.

It began in the 1970s. Or at least that’s when I became conscious of it. Americans began cleaning up after themselves in fast-food restaurants.

I had been living abroad and didn’t know about such things, but my children, faster to pick up on American cultural expectations, made sure I took back my tray and put my trash in the appropriate bin.

Cleverly, the restaurants made this choice not only easy but gratifying. Customers were given the sense of being good citizens or helping out the teenage minimum-wage workers who wiped off the tables.

I was never fooled. I knew what was going on. We were doing the restaurant’s work, and if we didn’t we felt guilty. My children would shrink into their coats while people stared disapprovingly if I tried to abandon a cluttered table.

Having a quick look on Google just revealed me, that the IHT got an online version of the partly quoted article.

As ridiculous as it might seem. I decided that I would no more clean up my desk in fast food restaurants. I am actually not used to visit McDonald’s. The only fast food I like is the one you can get at Burger King. That said, they do clean up the tables (at least the Burger Kings I have visited – over here, in good old Europe), which means that you do not have to do it.

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