July 27, 2009
When I was a child, going out to eat was a big deal. It usually meant going to McDonald's. That outing was typically the highlight of the day... the week... most times even the month. Eating out was a rare treat. I don't think it holds the same allure for my children. If we drive by McDonald's my daughters will be the first to point it out. How can they not recognize it with all the billboards, magazine and TV ads out there?
Since my daughters have always been underweight, it's not our country's obesity epidemic that necessarily has me steering away from a lot of fast food outings. Although, truth be told, even though my daughters could stand to put on some weight, I don't think loading them up on fast food is the way to do it. As a family we simply can't afford to eat out a lot. For the six of us, eating out is still a rare treat. Even if we only buy drinks, sandwiches and fries off the dollar menu, our meal is still going to cost close to $20.
I know people who eat out every day. They know Tuesday is Fazzoli's night, Wednesdays are reserved for Chipotle, etc. How in the world do people afford this day in and day out? Convenient? Sure, but also a drain on the wallet. I work with people who run out for fast food at every lunch break, yet they complain about never having any money.
I'm not one of those parents who will stand on a soap box and wax poetically about the evils of fast food. That would just be hypocritical since we do go out to eat on occasion. But I want those trips to be the same treats they were for me growing up. I want to see smiles when they realize we're not just driving by the golden arches, we're actually going in. Now if I can just convince my daughters that the dollar menu is better than a Happy Meal wallet will be happy.