This weekend, McDonald’s unveiled a new device which CEO Donald Thompson promised will revolutionize the fast food industry. Taking its cue from Redbox, the vending machine for movies and video game rentals, McDonald’s developed a vending machine which cooks and serves food to order. According to CEO Donald Thompson, “The McBox not only equals or betters the quality and consistency McDonald’s customers have come to expect, but it is faster and cheaper than visiting a McDonald’s staffed by humans.”
The McBox unit is about twice the size of a RedBox, but features a similar touch screen for easy ordering. Like the RedBox, the McBox will only require minimal supply and maintenance, slashing overhead for McDonald’s.
Dr. Angstrom H. Troubador, economic theorist and famed philosopher, spoke out with stern words of warning. “Brick-and-mortar retail sales are failing because of online shopping, nearly all video rental stores have shut down in just a few years, and it now seems inevitable that the same thing will happen to fast food. The pace at which jobs are being replaced by automation has hit a critical juncture where we’re going to have to reassess not only the work ethic of our great nation, but also ideas once thought of as fundamentals to all economic theories. Perhaps we may find new value in leisure, and maybe it’s time to repay the taxpayers for their continued investment in computing technology which has allowed such leisure time. When these technologies were introduced in manufacturing, few benefited and many lost jobs. As a result, a majority of citizens now live below the poverty line working in retail and service industries, and it will not be long before those jobs go the same way as manufacturing. It will happen nearly overnight, like the closing of video rental stores, and we will be left with fewer and fewer options which are tasteful to our aging ethical sensibilities. We must remember the story of John Henry, but give up the notion that he could even compete with technology by sacrificing his life. He can’t flip burgers fast enough. Given the chance to compete with today’s technology, I believe John Henry would rather sit by and eat fish ‘o fillet sandwiches, despite his legendary work ethic.”