When was the last time you saw Ronald McDonald? What was the last commercial or print you recall with his maudlin painted expressions? It may surprise you when you realize Ronald has been out of the public eye for a little while.
There are many explanations that have been offered as to why the Clown Prince of Cheeseburgers has been quiet as of late. Some of these have been offered by McDonald’s itself.
Other potential reasons that have been suggested is McDonald’s effort to distance itself from it’s appearance of being an evil corporation who uses a child-friendly character to doomed children to a life of obesity and horrible eating habits.
Not satisfied with mere theories, we went on a hunt to find Ronald and get it straight from the clown mouth.
Part 1: Down to Clown
When we contacted McDonald’s representatives on multiple occasions, we received the same answer every time, which was a repeat of the above CNN article, almost verbatim. This was done on 36 separate occasions. After this, we changed our tactic when calling. Instead of asking about the reason for Ronald’s disappearance, we began asking for Ronald himself. This seemed to the throw the support employees for a loop as it veered so wildly off of their normal script, aside from perhaps some pages in the back that dealt with scenarios in which a child would call in. After several unprepared but still canned responses from the support staff at the call center for the Golden Arches, we received an interesting response. We have posted the following discussion word-for-word as it happened on the phone.
McDonald’s Corporate Call Center: “McDonald’s Call Center, this is Rob, how can I help you?
The Superb: “Yes, this is A with The Superb. We would like to know where Ronald McDonald lives.
McDonald’s: (pause) Why would you want to know that?
The Superb: We would like to ask him some questions regarding his absence in recent advertising.
(At this point with every other operator, we would begin to receive the same response that basically asserted that Ronald was not a real person, but a corporate entity used in advertisement, effectively ending our conversation. It was here that this conversation diverted.)
McDonald’s: (pause, mixed with some background noises) Why do you keep calling here?
The Superb: Because we feel the people deserve to know the truth. The reasons given by your corporation are not satisfying.
McDonald’s: To who?
The Superb: What do you mean?
McDonald’s: Who are you asserting our answers are not satisfying for?
The Superb: Well, we represent the people, so we feel that we are speaking fo-
McDonald’s: Whoa, whoa, let me stop you right there, Mr. W. We have see-
The Superb: How do you know my name?
McDonald’s: I don’t have to answer that question, but it should be obvious since you have been hounding us relentlessly about Ronald. You don’t think we look into cases like this? We’re a worldwide corporation. We have resources. Now, let me tell you something, pal. You DO NOT represent the interests of the people, okay? We’ve seen your little blog you run. You have something like 80 followers or something.
The Superb: 81
The Superb: We have 81 followers, as of 10/29, to be accurate, sir.
McDonald’s: Do you know how many people ate at our restaurant across the world yesterday?
The Superb: Well, according to an article published by thefiscaltimes.com, you serve approximately 68 million people daily.
McDonald’s: Yeah. We’ve got more followers than most churches do, okay? So you need to let go of this whole idea that you’re going to create a story out of this and get any traction whatsoever, you understand me?
The Superb: Well, sir, you do realize that by answering in the the way you just did, you yourself have made a story out of this?
McDonald’s: (sound of fabric brushing against phone receiver) Listen to me, pal. I am not your enemy. I am saying this out of kindness for my fellow man….DROP THIS NOW. I know this may seem sensational or like something newsworthy, but don’t you think for a second that you are the first person to come snooping around here about this. Much larger, much more powerful people have contacted us about this and we gave them the same response we’re giving you. There is nothing more to this that what we have stated.
The Superb: Then why are you looking up my information?
The Superb: I said why are you looking up my information if you have nothing to hide?
McDonald’s: (Pause, followed by strange acoustical changes in the phone call. Much more reverb is introduced, suggesting a change in environment on the other end, as if the McDonald’s employee just walked into a large cave system. Also, it has been noted upon repeat replays that the sound of the man’s voice seems to have changed enough to suggest someone else was on the phone for the final part of the conversation) Yes.
The Superb: Oh…Yes, who is this?
McDonald’s: (pause, along with sounds in the distant background that resemble objects being thrown down a stairwell) Yeees.
The Superb: What is this? Who am I talking to?
McDonald’s: (Pause, followed by several clicks) I know which one you are from.
The Superb: I don’t know what that means. Could you explain that?
McDonald’s: (Pause, followed by several clicks and the immediate disappearance of the reverb) ...SIR! Are you hearing me? (Rob was back, and the creepy ambiance was gone).
The Superb: Hello?
McDonald’s: Yes! Sir, I am trying to tell you that if you could please leave Ronald alone, he would appreciate that. He’s trying to get some rest out in Santa Martinez, California, and it would be impolite to disturb him.
The Superb: (Pause) Yes, absolutely.
McDonald’s: Have a good day, sir.
(End of call)
As you can see, there are many things that are curious about this call. Why did the support staff choose to handle this particular call of mine in an unorthodox way? Why was it Rob? Who in the world was that talking to me in the middle of the conversation? What did he mean by saying he knew “which one” I was from? And why did Rob suddenly willingly, and suspiciously vomit valuable information into the whereabouts of Ronald?
Santa Martinez held the answer.
To be continued…