Monday, September 17, 2007

The low, low price of dignity

I have a blanket rule against setting foot in a McDonald's, Burger King, Kentucky Fried Chicken, or comparable American fast food chain when I am outside the United States. Starbucks currently occupies a nebulous zone, where I'm not certain whether or not it's subject to the American brands ban. Because there is a Starbucks on campus here, I may be forced to resolve that issue soon. Since establishing this rule, my international consumption of American fast food has been limited to the ordering of a Royale with Cheese and a beer at a Paris McDonald's (because I am a pop culture whore). Over time, the thing has gotten out of hand. I won't even enter a McDonald's to use the bathroom, and if someone else does, I'll wait outside. It's gone far beyond any rational bounds, but that's just how I roll.

Anyhow, at the airport in Hong Kong, preparing to leave for Malaysia, we stopped in the food area for pre-flight breakfast. Pickings were slim, and it looked liked I was being put in the unenviable position of deciding between Burger King, Popeye's (!), and going hungry. And just when I was preparing to resign myself to my ignominious fate, I caught sight across the way of Wildfire, a major American-style, but Hong Kong-based pizza chain with a breakfast menu.

At HKD $78, my delicious Spanish omelette, toast, and coffee breakfast rang in at just HKD $6 more than the HKD $72 Burger King Whopper Value Meal that so many of my compatriots opted for.

HKD $6. US $0.75. The price of dignity.

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