Seniors Want ‘McJoe’

Published 7:52 am Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Commentary by Dr. Don Newbury

As a group, senior citizens are docile, taking in stride whatever comes next. The majority “tsk, tsk, tsk” at the world, perhaps adding such comments as, “Oh, well, it’s a new day.”

Ray Croc, the late mastermind who introduced McDonald’s with a single store near Chicago, believed strongly in the “golden arches”–perhaps fast foods’ most recognized icon.

The company initially bragged about the specific number of millions sold, then settled on “millions and millions” before deciding not to mention massive figures. Perhaps they don’t know how many stores they have–much less how many burgers sold; closest guesses suggest there are now more than 36,000 stores in 100+ countries. (A World War II buddy–admittedly “opposed to pretty much everything”–noted opening of the first McDonald’s in Tokyo. “That should start payin’ ‘em back for Pearl Harbor,” he muttered.)

Who among us has not peered down the road, watching for golden arches standing tall in the sunshine or shining in the dark of night?

Children squeal at the prospect of toy giveaways and happy meals; seniors welcome arrivals where comfort stations are well-maintained and coffee is predictably excellent.

No doubt, McDonald’s makes strict demands of franchisees relative to details about specific menu items. They’d have to, what with national advertising campaigns. However, senior coffee tabs–once pretty much the same–have varied greatly for several years.

The other day it happened. My wife and I–en route to Colorado–stopped at a New Mexico McDonald’s. There, we heard words never expected from a “Mickey D” employee. “We don’t sell senior coffee.” My eyes crossed; thankfully, I had already taken my daily blood pressure reading.

We are McDonald’s devotees, as much “on the look-out” for the golden arches as we were for Burma-Shave signs on fence posts in yesteryear. (The signs were known for clever verses pushing the popular shaving cream.)

Anyways, I was stunned. What’s this about no senior coffee? This was a first. Not too many years ago, it was two-bits at most McDonald’s, then some of the stores went to 35 cents, then a half-dollar and even a few pennies more but now, NO SENIOR COFFEE? I’m not saying we should call out the National Guard, but isn’t this a matter worthy of corporate attention?

Clearly the store wasn’t having a good day. Its soft serve ice cream machine was “on the fritz,” and the single stall in the men’s room had a simple handmade sign taped to the door: “It’s Broke.”

In the ladies’ room–according to my wife–things were “okay” except for a bathroom tissue issue. You know the kind, one-ply and on a huge roll delivered in a wheelbarrow. It wasn’t in the dispenser, but rolling freely on the floor. We were both “miffed,” but mostly about NO SENIOR COFFEE.

To be fair, on the return trip, the ice cream machine was fixed, and the comfort stations were okay. But they still didn’t offer senior coffee. We seniors may not revolt, but McDonald’s risks loss of patronage by millions who can buy senior-priced coffee at numerous other places. There is no obligation to stop at McDonald’s.

Hey, I’m beginning to sound like a contrary “old geezer.” The latter is 100% true, but my contrariness is spasmodic.

One business establishment that remains “old school” is the Mam’zell Beauty Salon in Fort Worth. A majority of clientele there clearly remember Absorbine Sr.

A veteran beautician there is a great listener, smiles often and has a “customer is always right” leaning. One client calls Mary Ann Weisiger her “t(hair)apist.” And a sign at Mary Ann’s station brings smiles: “I’m a beautician, NOT a magician.”


Dr. Newbury is a speaker in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex. Inquiries/comments to: Phone: 817-447-3872. Web site: