A McDonald’s customer from Cambridge, UK went in a state of shock when she found maggots wriggling inside the ketchup dispenser of the outlet. Bella Ritchie tweeted the video of the entire incident and the post immediately became viral. “Never going near the ketchup in @McDonalds again. For those of you who can’t tell, these are MAGGOTS” read her tweet. Her complaint fell on deaf ears when she told a staff member about the same. She then e-mailed the manager informing them about the incident.

A spokesperson from McDonalds told Sun Online, “We’re extremely sorry to see this, and have tried to get in contact with the customer directly. Our condiment area and dispensers should be checked for cleanliness every day and we are looking into what happened here.”

But this is not the first time such an incident of filth has plagued the fast food giant. A McDonald’s outlet in Washington was temporarily closed when a video of rats running around the play area went viral on social media.

Despite this, McDonald’s seems to have stuck around with their ever loyal customer base. It’s a pre-determined definite certainty that if you’re hungry and you’re running out of time, a quick burger or a wrap from McDonalds is your saving grace. I’m of the personal opinion that the human mind has become “institutionalized” because of one empirical triangular model – money, time and taste. If a burger is cheap, fast and tasty, it’s going to rule the consumer market. This is especially true when the stakes are as high as McDonalds, which is the largest restaurant chain by revenue all over the world.

We sure can keep asking ourselves and the myriads of concerned people around us – Why did McDonalds not keep the restaurant clean? Why were there no food inspectors on rounds? I personally call this an exercise in floccinaucinihilipilification. There is no doubt that as consumers, we demand answers to the questions asked above. But moreover, the answers would either come with an “official apology” from the billion-dollar brand, or a lawsuit filed against them.

Psychologically, our minds have been fuelled with the big curvy “M” logo we have seen since adolescence, Ronald McDonald as the joyous clown welcoming us, and the three grand words which made us buy our happy meal – “i’m lovin it”. This whole campaign is a colossal failure when you look at it from a broad perspective. Everything seems redundant and superfluous when you tend to ask yourself – “Why were there maggots in the ketchup dispenser?” You’d probably think it’s a one off case, which may be true. You’d probably think the employee(s) responsible to clean it may have completely overlooked it for weeks. But what you will fail to ask yourself is, will I completely abandon McDonald’s and vow to never eat there again?

This is where McDonald’s has executed sheer brilliance in their marketing campaigns year after year and has transcended into being a mammoth – to the point where every fault of theirs will be overlooked and forgiven. There have been umpteen number of cases where unhygienic conditions have been brought to limelight, only to be buried with apologies and fallacious promises of cleanliness. After all, we must be willing to accept that this is a one-way street where they call the shots, unless people decide to be self-reliant and carve their own niche.

By Ameya Godse