The below intro in italics is unrelated to the subject of this post. Feel free to skip if you are so inclined.
As I was preparing this post, I noticed a very weird and somewhat unsettling thing – as I added ‘war’ as one of the tags for this post, after a moment, it disappeared. Every time. Is WordPress being that involved in moderating what we write about?
Some people might call me a skeptic but I like to think of myself as observant and rational. I have seen too many platforms fall once they implemented seemingly positive changes. WordPress has recently launched a ‘We will help you promote your blog if you have the right content’ initiative and it sent a warning ping down my spine. Being unable to add ‘war’ as a tag made me put those two things together… I hope I am wrong and nothing will negatively affect my experience with WordPress in the near (or a more distant) future, but now I am worried. Up to this point, I was able to speak freely.
Recently, I was looking at my exported copy of this blog and realized that it is not in a readable format, which means that if I was ever to move to a different platform (or just wanted to put my blog in a book), it would not be as easy as I thought it might be.
Did you notice any red flags with WordPress on your end?
The news seems to be a collection of cycles these days. I remember many years ago when news from all different facets of life was presented in a single segment. Now – as many of you have noticed – the ‘news’ industry seems to rely on one topic at a time for all of their discussions. For a year and a half, it was COVID-19. Once the interest in that became waning, all eyes turned into the Canadian/tracker protest. Now, for many days now, it has all been about the conflict between Russia and Ukraine. We have all been affected by it in some way.
Whenever something happens on the international stage that is relevant to countries across the globe, I like to observe reactions. All I can do is shake my head and facepalm whenever I read about various people/organizations coming up with punishments that are said to make the ruler of Russia – Putin – realize his mistake, get on his knees, apologize, and then offer himself for a sacrificial lamb.
Let me ask you this – Who do you think was more affected by the coronavirus? A) the general public, or B) the wealthy/celebrities? Whom do you hurt when you impose increased tariffs? A) A single individual or B) the entire nation?
Now that we got that out of the way, let me tell you what is going on (or more accurately what is NOT going on) in Russia. Last week – to condemn Russia’s actions – McDonald’s announced they would be closing their Russian locations for the time being. I break out in hives whenever I read/hear that someone ‘condemns’ something or someone’s actions. When has that ever helped anyone?
If someone does something bad, do we need to stand up and scream that we think they did something bad or should it be assumed that we consider it as bad unless we say something else? You see, our morals have eroded so much the past few years that bad things need to be condemned in order to make them bad.
It is worth mentioning that McDonald’s is not the only business that has put its operations on pause. Paypal, Apple, and Netflix are some of the others that took a stand against the Russian ruler.
The first worry that I thought of when hearing the McDonald’s news was the employment of Russian citizens. Will people get laid off? Will employees be forced to take unpaid leave? Apparently, the company will pay their employees – over 60 thousand of them. But for how long? And what will the long-term effects of that be? The money will have to come from somewhere. Will costs be cut in other countries? As much as 9% of the company’s revenue comes from Russia and Ukraine (not sure why they are lumped together like that) while only 2% of all McDonald’s restaurants are in those countries. The only help comes from the decreasing worth of the Rubel – Russian currency. Will the prices of hamburgers and fries increase by tenfold in Russia once the fast-food chain reopens its locations? But no one is interested in that. We only care about what is here and now and what feels right.
And by you not selling fast food the human suffering will cease to exist? Or did you close your restaurants because of the pressure from social media activists who called for people to boycott your company if it did not ‘take a stand?’ Or because you were bullied and felt threatened?
If you look into the matter further, you will find out that Russian McDonald’s was experiencing some supply chain interruptions, which most likely factored into their decision to close their business for the time being. You cannot sell fries if you do not have potatoes or burgers if you do not have buns.
There are over 800 McDonald’s locations in Russia and over 80% of them are operated by McDonald’s, as opposed to being franchises (My head exploded when I took a closer look at a receipt many years ago and learned that not every McDonald’s was a ‘real’ McDonald’s), which means that the decision to close those locations was an easy one to execute.
Just like there were long lines when McDonald’s first opened in Moscow, there were many customers waiting to get one more fast food fix when the announcement about the closure was made.
To me – that sounds like someone who will be biased against Americans in the future. The action of closure meant as something positive is causing hate, which we definitely do not need any more of. Like with anything else, some people saw that as an opportunity to make themselves richer at the expense of their compatriots – BigMac meals are now selling for hundreds of dollars.
A Yahoo article describes the psychological effect of the closures on regular Russians – a large portion of them will feel alienated, which will cause them to feel like the Westerners are their enemies. The country is motivated to become more self-sufficient and to show everyone that they do not need outsiders dictating their lives.
P.S. Russia found a loophole and might have locals reopen the McDonald’s locations anyway. That is just another reason that supports why these closures are not effective.
As I did the research for this post, I was reminded of how important it is to look for more information than what is readily available/ in front of your eyes. Yes, it is easier to consume whatever the social media feed tells us. But, what that does is deprive us of the full picture. So – PLEASE, be curious! Look at a piece of news from all angles. The more information you have, the more educated your opinion will be.
- If you are from outside of the US, how would you feel if McDonald’s (or your favorite ‘Western’ brand) withdrew from your country?
Did you enjoy reading this post?
Have some thoughts on the topic?
Share in the COMMENTS.
Do you regularly enjoy my blog?
Be sure to FOLLOW.
Are my posts getting lost in your busy Reader?
Want to get to know me better?
Check me out on TWITTER @SamGoldieKirk.