Loss leaders

I noted yesterday that the McDonald’s in the Pentagon City mall had raised the price of their Sausage McMuffin with Egg meal to $5.09, which was about $1.30 more expensive than it had been on Friday. This morning, when stopping for my morning Coca Cola, I gave a closer look at the menu and discovered something utterly shameful:

  • A Sausage McMuffin sandwich costs $2.89. The meal costs $5.09
  • An Egg McMuffin sandwich costs $2.89. The meal costs $3.79

McDonald’s is charing me more for hash browns and a soft drink if I buy a Sausage McMuffin than if I buy an Egg McMuffin. A friend at work called this a loss-leader: they want people to buy Egg McMuffins. I think it is patently ridiculous, but I didn’t have the energy to argue with the managers.

I realize that a lot of people hate McDonald’s and consider the food there to be awful, but I like their breakfasts, particularly the Sausage McMuffins. But not enough to pay $5.09 for them. Not because the McMuffin isn’t worth it to me, since obviously, the price hasn’t changed on the sandwich, but since I will not, out of principle, pay more for a soft drink and hash browns just because I chose a different sandwich. There’s just something wrong about that.

Published by Jamie Todd Rubin

Jamie Todd Rubin writes fiction and nonfiction for a variety of publications including Analog, Clarkesworld, The Daily Beast, 99U, Daily Science Fiction, Lightspeed, InterGalactic Medicine Show, and several anthologies. He was featured in Lifehacker’s How I Work series. He has been blogging since 2005. By day, he manages software projects and occasionally writes code. He lives in Falls Church, Virginia with his wife and three children. Find him on Twitter at @jamietr.

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