Miles Traveled: 367; Current Location: Sandusky, OH

June 17, 2011

McDonald’s Corporation
2111 McDonald’s Drive
Oak Brook, IL 60523

To Whom It May Concern:

I had a gray carseat in the late 1980’s. Today, my nieces have beautiful carseats with flower designs complimented by bright colors and patterns, but when I was a kid, my carseat was gray. I didn’t have any designs. I didn’t have any flowers. But I was happy riding along in my carseat, listening to Raffi or the Beach Boys or whatever the heck else children listened to back then. I was happy, because at a very young age, I learned that there was one thing that I could depend on whilst strapped into my gray seat. There was one thing that would make any long trip fun. There was one thing that never let me down. And that one thing was my Chicken McNugget Happy Meal with an orange soda from McDonald’s. From a very young age, McDonald’s, I knew that I could depend on you.

It was with great joy and anticipation then that when I decided to take a “car trip” across the entire country, I added Chicago to my list of destinations in order to visit you, McDonald’s, my buddy of twenty-five years. Not only do I enjoy museums that recreate experiences from the past, I knew that embarking on a trek of modern day America without including the McDonald’s Museum on that tour would be unconscionable. What, aside from Wal-Mart perhaps, could possibly be “more American” than McDonald’s? I knew that I had to pay tribute to the great American franchise and to Ray Kroc’s dream.

I researched the museum prior to my departure. I read the reviews. I checked the hours. I scanned the Internet for information on Store #1. It all looked perfect. The original scene of McDonald’s. Vintage cars in the parking lot and all. After a journey of 3,300 miles from Los Angeles to Chicago to see your museum, I was high on anticipation for today.

I’m sure then, that you can understand the disappointment that I felt this morning when I arrived at your museum, camera in hand, and found large padlocks across the gate and tarps covering each one of the vintage cars. I’m sure you can understand the disappointment that I faced, after driving all the way to Chicago simply for your museum, to find that it was closed without explanation or warning. In addition to bitter disappointment, I’m sure you can also understand the confusion that I went on to feel after reading the sign outside noting that the store is open from Memorial Day through Labor Day, with the exception of July 4th. Does June 17th not match this criteria? Are we not currently in the period between Memorial Day and Labor Day?

With the look of disbelief strewn across my face, I went to the currently operating McDonald’s restaurant across the street and demanded answers. One of the workers there told me to try back on July 4th and proceeded to inform me that the museum had been permanently closed to visitors. A “museum that’s closed to visitors?”…. I ask you, McDonald’s, is that not just storage? And July 4th? The specific date for which your sign indicates closure?

Should the museum truly be “closed to visitors,” I’d like to offer this bit of information to you. So far, on my trip, I have passed museums dedicated to toys, old gas station signs, candy, barns, tractors, and pieces of tin. I have been to museums for UFOs, alien statues, and the replication of Bedrock City, Fred Flintstone’s hometown in the Hanna-Barbara cartoon. Does it then not make sense for McDonald’s, the world’s largest chain of fast food restaurants that serves over 58 million people each day, to have a functional museum that’s “open to visitors?” You’d think, after all, that you could afford the maintenance of such an undertaking.

I’d like you to know that we proceeded to have McDonald’s for lunch because it was the most convenient option, and I’m a sucker for convenience, but in the future, I will think long and hard before dining at one of your fine establishments again. Unless, of course, you would like to send me some coupons or reimburse me for the hundreds of dollars that I spent on gas driving to your nicely decorated storage facility.

I am willing to guess that I am the only one, of the 58 million customers that you serve each day, who has ever driven through nine states to visit your museum. So, as your most loyal customer, I think that a year’s worth of free McDonald’s would be a fair repentance for your wrongdoing in this matter… unless of course, you were thinking “lifetime supply,” which I would also accept.

I look forward to hearing from you and to speaking with you about my thoughts and plans for your future museum. Please let me know which date and time I should arrive for the ribbon cutting ceremony. I am happy to provide my own scissors.

Do the right thing, McDonald’s. Do not go the way of Mighty Casey’s. “What’s Mighty Casey’s?” you ask. To which I reply, “exactly.” And you should know that they didn’t have a museum either.

Good Day to You,

Catherine Sinkel