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.