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Fast Food Nation - Book Report/Review Example

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Instructor name Date Fast Food Nation In his book Fast Food Nation (2001), Eric Schlosser argues that fast food has greatly influenced American society and culture. As he discusses the development of the nation in relation to the development of the fast food chains, Schlosser begins to paint a picture of how philosophies introduced within organizations such as McDonalds have served to reduce the general quality of life for the average American in a variety of areas…
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Download file to see previous pages This is necessary tactics, Schlosser argues, in order for these organizations to maximize on their profits by convincing consumers to purchase inferior products proven, in many cases, to be detrimental to health, at premium prices and at high demand. These are strong accusations to make and seem to grossly exaggerate the probable impact the fast food concept could possibly have on a thinking public. However, by examining Schlosser’s arguments with input from other experts in the field, it seems that there may be a greater element of truth of Schlosser’s claims than one would be comfortable admitting. In the end, one must conclude that fast food, as a commodity, has contributed a great deal toward the degeneration of American society by destroying traditional American values, removing social rights and weakening the physical health of the nation through inferior products. Schlosser begins his argument by narrating the history of the fast food industry as the McDonald brothers incorporated the concepts of the factory line worker to the production of immediately available food products. Even within this history, he builds his case arguing organizations like McDonalds drove out the independent restaurants through the application of factory processes to food production, the development of franchises to spread this mechanized process and through the bold new move of advertising to children. That franchises are still edging out the independent options is evident in a warning published by the Council of Independent Restaurants of America: “If the dinner-house chains have their way, the dining scene in most cities will soon offer the limited choices that consumers now find in shopping malls throughout America: the same 30 or 40 stores in every location” (cited in Nye & Drake, 2008). This is because they can offer seemingly more food for less money in more locations at a quicker and more predictable pace while retaining the ability to sustain long-term market slumps in a given geographic location. The fast rate of production is due to the assembly-line approach to food preparation. Authors Heizer and Render (2006) illustrate how McDonalds has used a combination of new technologies and Taylor’s scientific studies to bring the production process to its most efficient level that is expertly timed to have the completed assembly arriving for the customer at approximately the same time as their change. While this whole process seems to dehumanize the traditional associations Americans have had of eating around the family table, these organizations managed to divert attention through media campaigns professing alignment with these values. For example, Ronald McDonald continues to be a well-known character for no other reason than he offered a friendly playground for children to disappear into while Mom and Dad shared a relatively private meal. While this seems to support family values in that everyone is eating dinner at the same time, no one is together as the kids are playing probably independently in the playground and the restaurant is too noisy for Mom and Dad to do anything but wish, independently, they were somewhere else. As these ideas proved successful, they have leaked into other areas of the marketplace, undermining ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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