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October 27th, 2009:

Iceland is no longer civilized

IMG_1377.JPGMaking the world safe for free refills and Big Macs is not an easy task.

When colonizing a new market, McDonald’s often faces skepticism and sometimes outright hostility. But the folks at McDonald’s will fight tooth-and-nail to win, and they usually do.

Take France for example. The French hated “Le Big Mac,” and saw the spread of McDonald’s as a kind of American occupation (I prefer to think of it as our advance guard. Just wait till we open some Burger Kings over there). Hatred of the golden arches ran so deep in France that in 1999 French Presidential candidate José Bové vandalized and dismantled a McDonald’s restaurant as populist campaign stunt. But McDonald’s soldiered on. And this year they finally conquered France by opening a store in the Louvre.

But despite their best efforts, McDonald’s has to retreat from hostile environments from time-to-time. Yesterday, news broke that the golden arches would be closing all of three Icelandic locations due to the complete collapse of the country’s economy.

Iceland will become only the third country that McDonald’s shuttered its operations in.* The other two are Iran and Bolivia.

This raises the question, once a country loses it’s McDonald’s can we still consider it a civilized place?

*Caribbean islands that no one has heard of don’t count.

Previous topics mentioned in this post:

Making the world safe for free refills and decent coffee

McDonald’s: 1, France: 0 [we’re winning]

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