Saturday, August 28, 2010

Big Mac, anyone?

When one American spends 8 hours in a chartered bus with Herning Gymnasium's 30 "Seattle Kids", the conversation is bound to turn to the very typical "do they have ____ in America" Q&A. Especially when said American will be taking said 30 students TO Seattle in about five weeks.....

After disappointing them with the news of a lack of Danish licorice, rugbrød, and leverpostej, I was able to give them some hope as we talked about prices of clothes and books and electronics. They began to get more and more excited about bringing an empty suitcase with them on October 1st that they could fill with goodies during their 8 weeks' stay.

They were also a little worried when I told them that rundstykker are not readily available and that most Americans do not eat the same types of breakfasts we have in Denmark.... And that cold cuts & cheeses were more of a lunch than a breakfast in the U.S. But the disappointment faded from their faces when I mentioned that although they could not get rundstykker, they COULD get Egg McMuffins-- something that is a novelty to Danes since 99% of the McDonald's in Denmark do not serve breakfast. The excitement began to build more and more... especially when I told them the prices of these lovely warm McDonald's breakfasts!

They, of course, knew that prices were cheaper in the US, but really had no idea just how cheap until I shared the "Big Mac Index" with them! Have you heard of it? You's the economic research study conducted annually by the magazine called The Economist that ranks the cost of a Big Mac in the 120 different countries in which it is sold throughout the world. (Can you believe McD's is in 120 different countries? Especially when you consider that there are only about 190-something in the entire world?!)
Anyway.... I digress.

In order to show the kids just how cheap fast food (heck ALL food) is in the US compared to DK, I told them that Denmark ranks FIFTH out of 120 of the most expensive Big Macs!

Knowing that my "Seattle Kids" are students in the Math/Physics Line at Herning Gymnasium, I predict that during their 2 months in the US, they will conduct some of their own research... maybe a Vente Vanilla Latte Index as they will be in the neighborhood of the World's Original Starbucks, or perhaps a Fisk Fillet index since they will be able to frequent Pike's Fish Market on a regular basis...  Or maybe they will be too distracted scanning the streets for the employees of Seattle Grace Hospital. McDreamy DOES live in Seattle, right ? Hey, it's America---Anything is possible!


Kevin said...

What a great post, Kelli. Nicely written.

Anonymous said...

LOL! Although I am disturbed that economics should be measured by fast food.. Presumably it's only an index for richer countries? And I wonder how people's health fares in countries with cheap McDs?

As you might guess, I'm not a Mc D fan...

Annarella said...

I'm looking forward to read your blog posts when you get here to "my" Seattle. I'm still trying to settle here and to get used to living here. I love and I hate it.

In case your students are panicking, you can tell them it IS possible to buy rugbød (pumpernickel) in some grocery stores and in Ikea. And you can get real licorice (not the American version that tastes like flour and corn syrup) at the Scandinavian store in Ballard, and rundstykker, kransekage and other Danish goodies are available in Larsen's Bakery in Ballard. You can buy a kind of mackerel in tomato sauce in Asian grocery stores but you have to make your own leverposteg.

And when you tell your students how cheap everything is here, don't forget to teach them about how sales taxes work. It is not included in the price on the signs like it is in Denmark, so you have to figure it out yourself what the final price is. Of course sales taxes are different from county to county, and only on some items/foods. And also, don't forget to teach them how to tip the right amount the right places. It is really weird for a Dane how Americans expect to get tipped for almost anything they do because they almost work for free.

MoMo 2.0 said...

Annarella--these are wonderful tips! Thank you so much! I had planned to teach them about tipping, but there are so many other great kernels of wisdom in your comment! I will definitely let them know all of these things! :-)

And Fi, you are not the only "non McD fan".
We were at the International Society board meeting this week and the discussion turned to international cuisine and what we associate with certain countries (ie; Swedish meatballs, Italian pasta) and someone said, "Well for America, of course, it is McDonalds." I wanted to SMACK HIM! :-)

Diego said...

The Big Mac index gives a fair idea of different prices in the world, but you should be aware that prices for burgers and others stuff in McD changes inside each country from town to town. We are talking about few cents, but still.

Regarding your student, I am sure they will get use to have Dunkin'Donuts and multilayer pancakes with fruit and syrup for breakfast.
Those are the few things I envy to America, and Philly Cheesestakes...

Anonymous said...

Hi Kelli,
Saw this site and remembered your post on it!
An easier way of looking at the Big mac Index :)