Have you ever felt like something was a little bit weird with your local fast-food chain? Like you were being messed with? Or maybe it was just that your Spidey senses were tingling? Well, maybe it’s not all in your imagination and the fast-food restaurants are inside your mind. Let’s find out exactly what is happening in your local fast-food chain with our list; 10 Ways Fast Food Chains Are Messing With Your Mind!
10. Collectible Toys
‘Gotta catch ’em all’ The famous Pokemon slogan could almost be a fast-food mantra as we delve into the ways fast food chains mess with us. For years many fast-food restaurants have offered toys and gifts as part of their meals, and for years we have been lapping them up. With some truly awesome toys over the years as well as plenty of tie ins with the biggest movies around, fast food toys have been a much welcome and fun inclusion to our food. However, there is a catch. When these fast food giants release a new line of toys, especially if they involve favorite superheroes or Disney characters, then, of course, the children want them all. As you only get one toy per meal, you are going to end up going back to the restaurant multiple times in order to finish the collection. Then the inevitable happens; you go to collect the last toy in the series, finally, you’ve done it, and then you suddenly release that they’ve changed their promotion and you have to start all over again! It’s not just children that get caught by this promotion, adults are constantly being targeted to buy more fast food then they need to. With popular game promotions for Monopoly and Trivial Pursuit, we are invited to play these beloved games as we buy our food and the bonus is we can win some fabulous prizes. If we collect the entire set that is.
Flavorful. Tasty. Delicious. Warm. Crispy. Homestyle. Organic. Food chains add these nice words to help make the food seem flavorful, tasty, delicious, warm, crispy, homestyle, and organic. And we fall for it every time because we like adjectives. We believe them. We believe them to be more than an advertising technique. We believe them to be the truth. But, are they? That is what you have to ask yourself. Check your egg in your sandwich. Is it fluffy? Look at your hot dog. Is it moist? Then, they are the other words that aim to get people into stores but may actually deter a few and those are words like real or true. Now, really think about this one; if the ketchup is now made with real tomatoes, what was the previous ketchup made with? Real and true may make some eaters a little bit more trusting while it may throw others into complete confusion and despair. Everyone wants to know about the ‘non-real’ things. The fake food they have been serving. If you claim that something is now real then clearly you are doing some other sneaky stuff on the side. Oh, you sneaky fast-food chain, how you have messed with our minds!
8. The Container Trick
Over the years fast-food chains have learned a few tricks in order to boost their productivity and sales, while of course making a nice profit. One such trick has to do with the containers our items come in. There are many occasions, and we are sure you’ve had this too when our food has gone way too quickly. We start eating it and seconds later, it’s gone. Many staff have taken to Reddit to say that this isn’t all in our heads and in fact the staff purposely underfill containers so it looks more than it is. With fries, for example, the trick is to slightly pinch the container as you fill it up and pass it to the customer. It looks full, so when you start tucking in, you don’t think anything of it. That is until a second later you’ve finished them and you either feel bad for eating them so fast or you go back and order more. Then comes the containers that hold liquid. Do you get a cup of soup or a bowl of soup? A medium soda or a large? Chances are that no matter what your answers are, you are buying exactly the same amount of liquid. This is all to do with the way containers are made. The soup bowl looks bigger but because it’s made shorter and wider than the cup, it is, in fact, the same. As for drinks, it’s a well-known fact that a lot of ‘large’ drinks just means more ice, or milk or foam rather than the actual drink. Just another way the fast-food industry likes to mess with our minds.
7. The Moving Menu
The menus move and they show pretty pictures and they are completely capable of changing your order. Maybe you went in wanting the chicken tenders because you were served them as a child and heck, you miss your mama today and figured a chicken tender trio would be just the thing to satisfy your lonesome. But then you walk in and you see the menu in motion. It sweeps across your field of vision. You are entranced. All of a sudden you want the seasonal special. It is not every day that you can have that. It is special and it is here only now. You do not want to miss it. And, wait, let’s see if it scrolls by again… oh yes, there it is. Yes, it is on sale. You’ll get that instead. Or maybe you wait in line and tell yourself that you will wait until you get to the cash to make the decision. But, you will likely choose the item you saw swoosh by. You know why? Because you do not want to miss out and you do not even know the price of the item you came in to buy because it is not showing right now. Even if it is offered it is not upon the screens. So you trust what you see. That’s how they are getting to you. Literally through optical illusions of grandeur.
6. For A Limited Time Only
If there is one phrase that is sure to set all fast food fans buzzing with excitement, then it’s ‘For a limited time only.’ The very notion that there will be a new item on the menu and it won’t be around for long whips us all into a frenzy as we rush down to our local fast food restaurant to try out the new thing. Who can forget the genius promotion from Popeyes in which they released their chicken sandwich, for a limited time only of course? Within two weeks the chicken sandwiches had sold out across the country! The internet, and the country, almost broke as we all demanded the Popeye’s chicken sandwich to come back. Eventually, Popeyes gave it to us, after making us all wait for so long. McDonald’s is another master of the ‘limited time’ trick as they constantly release and re-release fast food items for a short period of time. We do wonder if the McRib would be the cult icon it is if McDonald’s put it on its menu permanently? We don’t think so. Not only do fast food restaurants toy with us by having these ‘on again off again’ items, but more often than not they are priced more expensively than the regular items.
5. The Celebrities
When you love a certain famous person and they are linked for the short time of a campaign to a chain or a menu item that a chain offers then you just have to have it. Maybe you will even get some neat memorabilia? Maybe that is part of the reason you went to eat at the fast-food restaurant? It could have been a mix between you loving the celebrity and the advertisement they did with the fast food joint of choice and the fact that you’ll get a reusable cup with your favorite celebrity plastered all over it. But, if you look closely, what is next to that celebrity? Oh. Hey, look at that, it is the logo of the chain. Go figure. Maybe every time you drink out of that cup now you will want to go and get some food. Doesn’t that sound just a little bit like brainwashing? Maybe that is because it kind of is… Not necessarily in a bad way and we must give credit to these amazing fast-food giants who have studied the human mind and know exactly how to get to consumers. Those are some mad skilled, just like Madmen. We must admire their work. Even if it does mean we will go and buy a meal just because of the actor, singer, sports player, or even a cartoon character we love posed next to it. Pretty wild!
When a slogan or a song gets into your head you cannot get it out and you have to do something about it. For some, that is to actually go to the place and eat. But, in that case, the fast-food joint that was targeting you with that ad wins. They got you. They invented that catchy phrase and/or jingle to hook you like a fish on a line. Are you comfortable being a fish on a line? Most of us are, right? Are we? Are you? Slogans really do mess with your head because they are like little mini works of art. They are well crafted and they often last for many years and have the ability to reach numerous target audiences. They can be translated. They are so well done. But, they are also so evil because they make you want something you didn’t want before. They are like hexes on your mind.
3. Add Ons
‘Do you want fries with that?’ ‘How about a shake?’ ‘Extra pickles?.’ These phrases are very common when we walk into pretty much any fast food restaurant. We can understand this one as although fast food restaurants give us some truly tasty food, they are also in it to make money. One way they do this is by either selling us ‘extras,’ which we always say yes to. After all, who has been into a Taco Bell or Del Taco and just ordered one, plain taco? No one has. We want the extras. We don’t just want a burger either, we want the combo. The reason for all the add ons and extras is that fast-food restaurants have a huge mark up on these, especially on things like soda. So they will always push you to get a soda, to get the next size up or just to get more. Unfortunately for the consumer, the extra portions and extra sizes are a waste of money as more often than not, we can’t finish them and they go to waste, or we just feel bad. Either way, this is another area that fast food restaurants are messing with us. Having said that, we still always ask for a large.
2. The Healthy Option
On our list of ways fast-food restaurants mess with our minds, we now come to an area of fast food that isn’t pretty. Due to changes in the way we view food, and ourselves, society has become a lot more health-conscious. To keep in line with that, fast food restaurants have been adding plenty of ‘healthy’ options to their menus. Which is great, right? Unfortunately, all is not as it appears to be. It’s been a well-documented fact that a lot of healthier foods, salads, in particular, aren’t very healthy at all. In fact, by adding things like fried chicken to a McDonald’s salad is actually more unhealthy than some of their burgers. As well as the ‘healthy’ option not being so healthy, fast food restaurants are also guilty of putting ingredients into their food that can be seen as addictive. MSG is a big flavor that is used to make the food more appealing to us and to have us wanting more. Not to put the entire blame of unhealthy eating in the hands of the fast-food companies. There is actually a psychological condition, known as vicarious goal fulfillment, that has been studied in fast food lovers that if we see salad items, lettuce in particular, then we are more likely to buy the item and feel good about it. Even if the lettuce is in a double bacon burger, because we see the green, we connect it in our minds as being healthy.
1. Children Are The Future
It’s no secret that the things we love as children stay with us for most of our lives. Whether that is our taste in movies, TV, music or food, a lot of what we love as children we continue to love as adults. It is no surprise that fast-food chains are well aware of this fact and do everything they can to target children into loving their food. Having special promotions; like free toys and gifts with meals, colorful mascots, and even playgrounds and ball pits in their restaurants, are all designed to get children excited about going to their restaurants and to hopefully make a life long bond that will have us coming back again and again. The other trick fast-food chains use in order to entice us into their restaurants is the colors of the restaurants themselves. Red and yellow in particular are colors that work on a subliminal level with all of us. The color red naturally attracts attention; we are programmed to notice anything red form a young age, which is why a lot of things to do with fire are red. Yellow is color that makes us feel warm, safe and happy. It’s the color of sunshine and daylight whenever we see yellow we want to embrace it. This is why red and yellow are used so much withing advertising and companies, especially fast-food chains. While fast-food restaurants use a lot of tricks to mess with us and to get us into their restaurants, we still wouldn’t want to be in a world without our favorite comfort food so we can forgive them a little.