I and my family passed some street kids on our way to 7 Seas shopping mall in Vadodara, India, and as we entered the mall we stopped at the McDonalds ice cream kiosk just inside the entry to buy an ice cream ice for those poor street kids on what was an incredibly hot day. The kids themselves were not anywhere near McDonalds or the building, as after the pavement there are a large number of steps into the shopping mall, security etc.
My husband had a quick errand to run so he gave me Rs 500 to buy the ice creams but when we approached McDonalds ice cream kiosk the member of staff there actively prevented us from buying the ice creams for the street kids. She said she didn’t have any change so couldn’t serve us. I thought that was really strange as Rs 500 is a small amount and this is McDonalds in a shopping mall, how could she possibly not have change of such a small amount! I was very dubious about her story and as we stood waiting for my husband we noticed lots of shoppers going over to McDonalds to buy themselves ice creams and the member of staff was handing all of them change with no difficulty. Her story simply didn’t make sense.
My husband soon returned and asked if we had finished giving out the ice creams. We told him that we hadn’t even started as we had been told by McDonalds staff that they didn’t have any change. My husband looked incredulous, he said there is no way that is possible and we walked over to the McDonalds ice cream kiosk where my husband challenged the staff member about her story. She said that McDonalds do not like shoppers buying ice cream for street kids because they will get used to having McDonalds ice cream and will be present on the pavement outside of the shopping mall and the staff didn’t like them being there as they and shoppers will have to look at them! Apart from us being utterly shocked and outraged, this ed my belief that she had been lying about having no change. I am absolutely disgusted at McDonalds, who seem to have a fear of children getting used to ice cream! These poor street kids have nothing, is it too much to allow foreigners to show them a bit of kindness and buy them an ice cream? What has the world come to and especially in India, I thought India was a caring society, McDonalds itself is an American chain but their staff in India are Indian, brought up in what is supposed to be a caring society yet they seem to begrudge a child an ice cream.
I have complained to McDonalds India about this issue and have received nothing but silence from them, my emails being completely ignored. I therefore contacted McDonalds in the US, both their customer services and their CEO Steve Easterbrook, again absolutely no response from either. It seems that McDonalds now thinks it is not answerable to anyone for any situation. It is my experience of them that if there is a problem, they will just ignore it, they seem to think their size and might gives them the right to trample on anybody and their rights and get away with it and that includes poor street kids!. Shame on you McDonalds.
For McDonalds to stop this discrimination. I do not however have any faith in them doing so as after this incident I researched on the internet if there had been any similar situations and I found some from a few years back in which McDonalds apologised (maybe only because it caused a media storm of protest at the time) and said it would now welcome street kids and serve them like anyone else. Well things have not improved one bit, so it looks like that statement was just lip service and in fact things have got worse because now it is not only the issue of the street kids being harassed by McDonalds but now even foreigners are being prevented from buying them anything from McDonalds. If McDonalds don't want customers, then just let the world know and we will all happily buy our fast food from elsewhere! I and my family and friends have all boycotted McDonalds until this appalling incident is rectified to our full satisfaction in the name of these street kids. Believe me this is not going to go away Mr Easterbrook.