Wednesday, July 13, 2011

One Cent

My kid hearts McDonalds. Actually, he's a bit of a fanatic, thanks to 'evil' marketing people. I was okay with that. I was okay with the chicken nuggets and fries/apples. I was okay with the cheap toys. I was okay with a backseat sticky with apple juice. After all, buying a happy meal meant money going to the Ronald McDonald House. Since some of the money I was spending went to a worthy charity, I rationalized that my purchase was a good thing.

Until yesterday in the drive-thru. I happened to be looking at the same sign that talks about the Ronald McDonald House and how some of the money from Happy meals goes to that charity. The sign is at driver level, so you really can't miss it, and even though I've read it a thousand times, I always read it again while I'm waiting.

And this time I noticed the asterisk. I was close enough to read the tiny print: "one cent from every happy meal goes to the Ronald McDonald house".

One cent.

A Happy Meal costs around five bucks, give or take. The actual cost of a happy meal, including the box/bag and the toy, is probably around two bucks, if that. Then there's the markup, because a business has got to prosper. There must be profits for the shareholders, even if it means gouging the peasants who buy and use the products. That's the American Way, aka Capitalism. I suck at math, but that's a LOT of markup. A lot of profit.

One cent.

I understand that McDonald's sells bazillions of Happy Meals a day, and so that's a bazillion dollars that go to the Ronald McDonald House Charities. The Ronald McDonald House is a fine institution which has helped many, many people over the years, and for that it is to be celebrated.

Forgive me, however, if I think that a gargantuan, international organization like McDonald's should be giving more than a single cent to the charity associated with its namesake. The fact that this particular corporation only gives one cent says volumes about corporations and how they choose to contribute to the communities in which they prosper. But I digress.

One cent.

This particular blog post isn't about boycotting McDonald's. This is about the power of a penny. What if everyone out there made a pledge to save up their pennies for their favorite charity? Just about everyone can afford a penny here and there, and some of us can even afford one penny a day. (If you're like me, you probably have quite a few pennies at the bottom of your purse.)

Charities are desperate for funds right now, and since times are tough a lot more of us need the helping hand that those charities can provide. I've come to the realization that all those pennies adds up to money for food kitchens, animal shelters, community services, etc.

I am not writing this to demand that everyone follow me and save up their pennies for a charity.

I am not here to judge anyone about their charitable giving.

All I would like people to do is consider giving up a few pennies, and maybe pass it on.

One cent.

Think about it.


  1. Yes, don't get me started on these big corporations and their profit margins!

    But I like where you took this and, yes, I think I can dredge up a little more than a few pennies.

    Thanks for the reminder.

  2. When you're right, you're right. I think of how much money I blow just buying coffee at Quik-Trip, and it comes to mind that I must have something extra to offer. We spend money on inconsequential things every day. Pennies add up.

  3. ONE PENNY?! Sorry ... one penny?! One bloody penny?
    Both my husband and I are unemployed, and we have no unemployment checks. We're looking at living in a camper, and still ... STILL ... the other day I caved and bought my daughter a treat. She gets few. It was McD's over Burger King because of the RMH .. and I argued that she had to have a Happy Meal. (Boy, that was one for the books. And apparently so worth it. NOT.) If I'm going to throw away money it dang well better go far. But one penny?! I feel cheated. I think I feel more cheated now than I normally would, because literally every one of my pennies counts.
    Wow. That is so demoralizing. From now on I'm donating directly to a cause.

  4. Very enlightening and well written!

  5. One penny can really make a huge difference.

    And it's true that one cent from each Happy Meal goes to Ronald McDonald House, but that's not the ONLY money the company spends on it.

    Anyway, but this is a good post about the power of a penny. Thanks for sharing!

  6. I really don't care if I have given my change for charity. McDonalds is doing a great job. I don't care if they're giving only 1cent per box as long as I see the smiles of children while eating a Happy Meal.

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  7. Thanks for this article. I linked you on my blog about the same subject.

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