Thursday, August 11, 2005

If McDonald's Were Run Like A Bar

Just had a random thought today about America's growing obesity problem after reading about New York City's recent Anti-Fat campaign. The NYC Department of Health has begun urging restaurants in the area to voluntarily eliminate certain types of cooking oils that contain a lot of trans-fat, which really increases fattiness and heart disease risk.

Anyway, I was thinking about how different everything would be if fast food chains adopted a policy that is in effect at bars today. What if an obviously obese person were to walk up and order a Super-Sized value meal at McDonald's, and the cashier said, "Sorry, you're cut off. You're too fat, and we're not going to promote this self-destructive behavior. But, we can let you have a chicken salad and some lite dressing." Surely, restaurant revenues would decrease by quite a bit. But, what if the government subsidized the loss of revenues, since they would certainly save a fortune in health care costs further down the line.

I know that this would never happen, but I think it's interesting to think about. Also, while the obese of the world might find this practice discriminatory, I don't see how it's all that different from cutting someone off the alcohol at the bar. This of course assumes that the person in question was not going to drive, which could potentially lead to injuring another individual.

Interested to hear your thoughts on this. It's radical, but I am willing to bet that it's effective. I do not believe that we would have widespread obesity if it wasn't so easy to get a hold of really fatty foods.


Anonymous said...

The issue is that they aren't directly causing anyone else harm.

And a lot of things where you force people to do exactly what you think they should do are effective, but this isn't Soviet Russia.

Brute Force said...

If you could prove that you had a ride home, why aren't you allowed to continue drinking at a bar? How come suicide is technically illegal? You're not doing anyone else any direct harm in that either.

But, what the obese are harming is my pocketbook with additional healthcare costs that I shoulder in part when I pay my taxes.

Anonymous said...

Bottom line is it is a liability issue. Bars are scared that if they allow a drunk have yet another drink chances are he may have a car accident and hurt somebody. In turn the family of the person hurt can and will sue the bar. That’s why they decline service to few and I mean very few patrons. Now the whole part of proving you had a ride is not their business nor will bars take it on. Again that’s too much liability.

On the other hand, an obese person ordering a big Mac is certainly causing harm to himself but he does not pose a risk to others when he leaves the premises of the restaurant. Denying obese people greasy food would be a foolish thing for restaurants to do because I am willing to bet you that obese people dining dollars comprise a significant part of their revenues. Your whole idea of restaurants offering restrictive menus to obese people is a stupid one. Obese people are usually pretty sensitive. They do that and that person will never bring his business to that restaurant again.

Suicide is only illegal if you are unsuccessful @ it.

But your point about obesity being a problem is absolutely true. And I agree it increases healthcare costs for everybody.