I was watching television yesterday and a commercial came on saying that for a limited time only, McDonald’s is bringing back the Arch Deluxe. Yes, after a 15-year hiatus, the Arch Deluxe—a quarter pound of beef with ketchup, a secret mustard and mayonnaise sauce, and peppered bacon, all on a sesame seed bun—is finally returning. Not only did the thought of eating one excite me, but I immediately got caught up in the novelty of the whole thing. There was a lot of buzz when this sandwich first came out, and now, albeit for a short time, I can have it again.
Apparently, though, I shouldn’t get my hopes up too high. According to a very brief but undeniable statement at the end of the commercial, it turns out that “participation may vary,” meaning, basically, that my local McDonald’s can opt out of the Arch Deluxe promotion entirely if it so chooses.
Needless to say, I hope it doesn’t come to that.
I’m probably concerned for no reason. The truth is, my local McDonald’s franchise consistently participates in promotions like this one. For example, they always participate when the McRib comes back every couple years, and I can’t even imagine them not participating in the Monopoly game promotions. They even participated in bringing back the chicken fajita a couple years ago, and that was definitely optional.
In any event, what I’m saying is, it would be highly unusual—and, in fact, unwise—for them not to take part in this particular promotion, so I’m sure I have nothing to worry about.
Still, I can’t get around fact that the ad specifically mentioned the variance of participation. After all, the Arch Deluxe wasn’t the most popular sandwich in the world during its time as a regular menu item. It wasn’t like the McDLT, which people still remember quite fondly, or the McLean Deluxe which, if I’m being honest with myself, I’d probably be a little more excited about them bringing back. So if the question is, “Does my local McDonald’s need to participate in this promotion?” the answer is no. Obviously, as long as any McDonald’s sticks to Big Macs, Chicken McNuggets, and french fries, it doesn’t need to participate in anything that goes above and beyond.
But that’s not the point.
The point is that I like it when McDonald’s has special offers or brings back old sandwiches. And I want my McDonald’s—the one I go to, the one that’s closest to my house—to participate. I don’t think that’s asking too much. Look, I fully understand that prices may vary. I’m not naïve. Different McDonald’s have different costs to cover based on where they are located. I get that. But participation varying? Come on now.
I’ll tell you one thing—if the McDonald’s in Villa Grove is serving Arch Deluxes come Feb. 1 and mine isn’t, I’ll be pissed.
Here’s what really bothers me: Why would you run a nationwide commercial for a product that you know full well some locations aren’t going to be able to provide? Surely by the time the commercial airs the higher-ups at McDonald’s already know which locations will and will not be participating. Why not just run commercials in the areas that will be? Or, if you can’t do that, why not just do a scrolling alphabetical list of all participating McDonald’s locations at the end of the national commercial? That would eliminate this weird guessing game altogether and assure me that if my McDonald’s doesn’t participate—which I am still confident that it will—I’ll know before I pull up to the drive-thru.
Maybe I should just call and ask point-blank if they are participating. I’ve met the assistant manager and talked to him a couple of times, so he’ll be straight with me. I’ll say, “Hey, Dave, look, just level with me, okay? I saw the commercial. Are you participating in the Arch Deluxe promotion or aren’t you?” Maybe he’ll say yes, and all my fretting will have been for naught. Or maybe he’s on the fence about participating and I can nudge him in the right direction. But if he says no, I’ll respect that, because I understand it’s the right of his franchise not to participate.
Actually, you know what? No. If anyone at the Greenburg McDonald’s is reading this, hear me now: Yes, participation may vary. Not only did the voice-over say it, but upon re-watching the commercial, I can see that the caveat also appears in small white print at the bottom of the screen. But, why not just participate, you know? What’s the worst that could happen? So you might lose a couple bucks in Arch Deluxes. You’ll make it up in customer loyalty. Just participate, for God’s sake. Participate for as limited an amount of time as you want, but at least participate. That’s all I’m asking.
By the way, I’m talking about the McDonald’s near the mall, not the one near the Wendy’s. That one’s really crappy.