Saturday, February 13, 2010


I have to, and hate to, admit that I ate at the McDonald's here on one of my first days. It was the first day of classes, and I had a 3 hour break between classes. I figured that I would have enough time to wander downtown, get some quick food, and make my way back to Forresterhill (the medical school campus of University of Aberdeen that all of my classes are at). It took me almost 2 hours to get downtown, I had just kind of headed downhill and towards any tall buildings. So by that time I was starving, lost, and a little bit frazzled. McDonald's was the only restaurant in sight, besides KFC and Pizza Hut, so I caved. I usually don't go to McDonald's at home either, unless I'm driving for hours and need food, or I just need that quick [slightly gross] meal. I just had chicken nuggets and fries, and they weren't that different from the McDonald's at home. A little less flavor, but I expect that's probably less grease. The McDonald's here in Aberdeen is really nice. As you can see below, it's realllly crowded all the time. Actually, a lot of stuff here is crowded here at unexpected times. We were told that people in the UK love to shop, and it is so true! I'll walk around downtown between or after classes (I figured out the bus routes), and tons of people are out shopping in the middle of the day. Does no one work? Why aren't these children in school? Those are just a couple questions that run through my mind at times like these, haha. But anyway, back to McDonalds:
It's very crowded inside, with nice, modern decor. The whole atmosphere is comfy, where at the McDonald's at home, it's a lot of fluorescent lighting and monotonous tiling. The chairs all look comfortable, not plastic-y
In the way of the Scots, there is a cemetery right across the street. When I ate here, I actually sat at a bar on the 2nd floor (yes, there are two floors) and did some hard-core people watching while I ate. It was actually a nice experience, which isn't usually something people associate with McDonald's. At home McDonald's usually gets the job done, and is satisfactory, but the workers here were all very polite and helpful, everything was clean, the service was fast, and it was a positive experience.
Now on to the food: I have deduced that not much is different. They have McNuggets, McChicken, McFish (or some derivative of that), McFlurries with Scottish candy bits, and Big Macs. They also add some more Scottish/British items, like Bacon Rolls, the Big Tasty, a better selection of deli sandwiches, the "Chicken Tikka Snack Wrap," and more. There seems to be a pretty big demand for organic and fair trade food here. I read on the McDonald's UK website that they are trying to find an organic milk supplier for their McFlurries and milkshakes. Someone in our housing complex said something recently about a law that bans certain chemicals in food, so I'm sure that affects the food in McDonalds.
As far as the website goes, the UK website was a little bit simpler, more pleasing colors (to me at least), where the US one was busier, and more aimed at younger people, I think. Both websites advertised Wi-Fi becoming available in their restaurants soon, which reflects how computer-oriented both cultures are. Comparing the two websites, there aren't too many differences overall.

There was only one ad that I have seen a lot around here that I could find online. It was for Diet Irn-Bru, which is a orange-y soda, with kind of a bubble-gum taste to it too. The adds pretty much state that the only difference between Irn-Bru and Diet Irn-Bru is that the diet version is sugar free. The ads make me laugh, and there are like 4 other versions that I've seen around town so far, there's pretty much one at every bus stop that I go to.
And sorry that the picture is so small, but it's the only one I could find. My only beef with this ad is that there isn't just one difference between the pictures, there's obviously a shark in the second one. I could appreciate it so much more if there was a shark fin in the first photo too. The other ads are a giraffe who's spots change in the second picture to say "Sugar Free," and a cat that in the second picture has a bag with the words "Sugar Free" on it. You can see Irn-Bru's favorite ads here; they usually have some good puns involved. Slightly dirty puns, but funny nonetheless!

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