THIS SNACK SUCKS: McDonald’s Big Mac Snack Wrap

This may come to a shock to many of you, but I was single for a pretty long time.

I know, I know.  I’ll give you a minute to recover from your shock.  Please — please, don’t start weeping, it’s okay now.  Sometimes things just don’t make sense, right?  We have to accept it, no matter how insane it is.

The thing about being single for a while is that, over time, actions and decisions that were previously unacceptable slowly start to worm their way into our reason.  Good habits fall away like leaves in the autumn, and self-discipline starts to take on a weird, funhouse dimension.  You may still find yourself unable to leave the kitchen without putting all the dishes in the sink or washer, but those socks you left on the counter?  Those don’t need to move for a couple of weeks.  They’re only socks, right?  Who’s going to see them?  Maybe the kitchen counter is exactly the place for those work socks you took off one time while you were waiting for the red wine to breathe.  WHO IS ANYONE TO JUDGE.

So what if you’re pretty sure birds nested in your BBQ over the winter, anyhow?  The fire will pretty much sterilize the area where the eggs hatched.

Who cares if there’s actually only one chair in your living room?  99% of the time, there’s only one person to sit in your living room, so that just means you planned well.

And if the only thing in your fridge on a Thursday night is a frozen hamburger patty and some old tortillas, well… beef is beef, and bread is bread; who’s to say in these crazy times what really constitutes a hamburger, anyway?

Of course, this is purely internal logic.  It’s not the kind of thinking you would actually disclose to the rest of the world, because — even though there it’s possible everyone out there is exactly as crazy as you are — you simply cannot take the chance.  Even in the depths of the longest isolation, you secretly are aware of which decisions are the ones tinted with madness, and those you can casually disclose over coffee with your co-workers.

So, what I’m trying to say is, I’m really worried about McDonald’s.  Is your sister still single?  I think we might need to fix them up.

big_mac_wrap_mcd

Because… what the hell?

In principle, I understand where McDonald’s is coming from with this idea.  The Mac Snack Wrap follows in the overall philosophy that McDonald’s is trying to push into the marketplace — that you can have delicious awful food in small enough portions that it’s not actually bad for you, or at least no worse than anything else you’ll buy from a fast-food restaurant.  Not just scummy crap you’ll buy for your kids after soccer practice, it’s reasonably healthy food that you wouldn’t object to getting for yourself, with all the flavor you remember from when you didn’t care about calories.

It’s sort of a weird stance, but one they’ve been forced to take:  “McDonald’s!  Where incredibly unhealthy food isn’t a big problem, any more.

So conceptually you might imagine how this would arrive at the point where someone, somewhere, thought it would be a good idea to take the successful “snack wrap” program and back it over McDonald’s existing menu.  It works with grilled chicken, right?  Or those salads that were selling so well?  Why not just extend it to stuff that McDonald’s wants people to actually start buying again?  And who cares if my socks are on the kitchen counter?  Those birds had it coming!

I appreciate the initiative taken by McDonald’s here, to attempt to pare down one of their most traditionally godawful offerings — one so synonymous with junk food that it remains the benchmark against which all other junk food is compared — into a reasonably-portioned snack. But truly, to extend this idea into reality requires so much dream logic that I am stunned it actually happened.  It would require long-standing business people to agree to the following statements:

  • People will enjoy Big Macs when they are 1/5th the size but 1/2 the price.
  • Big Macs are just as delicious and addictive when they offer only a fraction of the beef and no cheese to speak of.
  • Tortillas are an acceptable substitute, flavorfully and texturally, for three hamburger buns.
  • Sticking 1/2 of a Big Mac patty into a tortilla with a bit of cheese and some special sauce will trick people into thinking they got value for $1.89
  • Canadians are perfect to test this kind of crap on.

Of those statements, only a single one is true — and that’s not nearly enough.

img_9044

Behold the Chicken Big Mac Snack Wrap, so darned new and test-marketed that it doesn’t even get it’s own branded wrapping paper.  It’s roughly large enough to fill a tea saucer, or hold in the palm of an adult’s hand.

Before anyone tells me how I’ve been conditioned by the fast food world to expect gigantic meals, permit me a moment to establish that a) I have seen Super Size Me, but thanks and b) I actually consider this portion size a good thing.  Frankly, good for McDonald’s to be adapting in any way to the idea that not all of their customers want massive junk food overdoses every day — if this helps them to compete in the marketplace, more power to them and fewer heart attacks for the rest of us.  I call that win-win.

However, what I will say is that when you’re introducing a calorie-conscious, reduced-portion version of something called the Big Mac… well, you’re asking people to take a leap.  And it’s got to be worth it.

img_9047

I’m not sure this is really convincing enough.

The Mac Wrap comes in a steamed tortilla, carefully wrapped around what McDonald’s would love to have you believe are all the core ingredients of the Big Mac:  the beef, cheese, lettuce, pickles and special sauce.  What else is there, really?  And if those respective ingredients are reduced in proportion to almost comically small amounts, who’s to know the difference?  The flavors are still basically the same, but without the guilt of having gulped back an entire Big Mac on your lunch hour.

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Except:  Wow.

I am at a loss.  Unwind your carefully-assembled tortilla and gaze upon exactly what your two bucks bought you:  half of a single Big Mac patty, hopelessly slapped on a tiny bed of lettuce and sprinkling of cheese, with only enough special sauce to adhere the contents to the bread.  One might be tempted to spite the restaurant staff for sloppy assembly, were it not for the almost artful arrangement of the pickles — this is clearly the work of someone who is trying their best with the job they were given, and I am willing to accept their briny apology.

img_9056

But God, doesn’t this make you just a little bit sad?  I realize that for two dollars I can’t expect all that much — and I don’t think I’m asking for a miracle.  I am possessed of sickness, but I do not expect the Big Mac Snack Wrap to be my cure; I am saddened by life’s defeats, but I do not expect the Big Mac Snack Wrap to cheer me.  But this strikes me as so despairing that I am nearly at a loss for words, so completely half-assed and weak-assed as it is.

Behold, I am stunned:

img_9059

(Also, covered in cat hair, but that has nothing to do with the situation at hand.)

You may notice that even while I defend the size of the Mac Snack, it is relatively miniscule in comparison to my total body mass.  Therefore it is important to realize that a healthy adult will plough through one of these in fewer bites than it may take to consume, say, a donut or a breath of fresh air.  You have been duly warned.

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Now, some may say that I have the oral capacity of a python on a diet, but I prefer to think of myself as freakish in the most positive way.  Regardless, one can witness from the scale of the photograph exactly what I’m talking about when I discuss portion size.  There’s nothing wrong with how much McDonald’s is serving me in the way of volume, only with what it actually tastes like once I take a bite out of it.

And, no matter how inhumanly large a bite that may be, it only seems fair that I should expect flavor that — if not entirely like that of a Big Mac — at least approximates it.

But hey, how often is life fair, right?

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Instead, welcome to Flavor Country.  You know, if that country were Burkina Faso, or one of the Pacific Island nations destined to sink in the next fifteen years.  Planting your teeth through a recently-steamed tortilla isn’t a bad thing, nor is encountering a Big Mac patty on your way through — it’s just that when those are the only two elements that make it into your first bite, you realize just how very badly the Big Mac relies on the special sauce, pickles and (God help us) even the lettuce to bring the flavor all together.  Until then, it’s just steamed bread meeting microwaved meat.

Mmmm, and what tastes better than steamed, undressed tortillas?  Only re-heated, re-constituted beef!

By the time you actually do hit the pickles and other ingredients, even the most normal-mouthed of humans will start to wonder if they’ve been short-changed, and with good cause.  It’s because you have been, with a fraction of Big Mac sold to you for a considerably larger fraction of the price.  There’s nothing wrong at all with the idea that customers might want only a taste of the sweet, delicious junk food that their metabolism can no longer sustain; however, there are many, many problems with offering a microscopic slice of that flavor for a macrocosmic fraction of the price.

Even if you are not, as I am, of Scottish heritage and therefore highly sensitive to the price of everything, you are unlikely to find the Mac Snack Wrap to be anything but a disappointment.  As a bachelor isolated in my townhouse with only tortilla bread and frozen patties, this might be an acceptable meal, but only because I can pretend that no-one on earth but me knows I am enjoying it.  On the other hand, there’s no way that a restaurant chain should get away with the same kind of thinking.

THIS SNACK SUCKS, McDonald’s.  Canada appreciates your efforts, but really — give us a teensy bit more credit, if you wouldn’t mind.

  • http://www.kalofagas.ca Peter

    I’m at a loss for words other than to suggest Rotten Ronnie’s adopt the slogan, “This bowel movement brought to you by McD’s”!

    • http://eatingcookies.net Christina

      This was hilarity in a blog post. Thank you for sharing, Mike. This is my first time as a reader, but I’m sure it won’t be my last.

      I found you guys while Googling “Mac Snack Wrap.” I am no longer enduring… err… enjoying McDonald’s food, but my son likes it and while I’m trying to wean him off, cold-turkeying a toddler is no easy task. (My husband and I are in the middle of our own “healthy lifestyle rebirth” for 2010, and giving up Mickey-D’s was one of the first things on the list…)

      So, I digress… anyway, the “Mac Snack Wrap” glory shot was blaring it’s promises of tiny deliciousness at us as we walked in the door, and I had to fight not to laugh. So thank you for this hilarious review, as it pretty much met all my expectations of what this lovely new addition to the cheap-eats culinary world can possibly offer.

      Cheers!

      • http://eatingcookies.net Christina

        Sorry for posting to a reply – I didn’t mean to do that!

        • casey

          ditto. hilarious post. first-time reader. mac snack wrap?!? never heard of such a monstrosity before today, when i just caught the commercial. clearly, the idea being: serve it in a tortilla, call it a “wrap” instead of a burrito, people will think it’s healthy.

  • Jenertia

    This entry is a tour de force, sir. If I didn’t find the flabby, bald tortilla offensive enough to avoid this “snack,” your review would have saved me the dishonour of trying it. Bravo.

  • Tory

    I have now officaly laughed my ass off

  • susan

    Brilliant review. I had similar feelings of disappointment when I experienced what I now
    refer to as the “Chicken Wrap incident of 2008”, which by the way looked identical to your
    wrap, with a taunting like amount of chicken, except I think you got more cheese in yours.

  • http://www.eatingclubvancouver.com _ts of [eatingclub] vancouver

    This post, I’m lovin’ it!

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  • honeydijonay

    Just stumbled on your blog courtesy of Big Fat Deal and LOVE IT (said in high shrill sing-song voice!) You’re my new fav blog and I love that you’re Canadian too!
    That is all…carry on.

  • http://thespitefulchef.blogspot.com kristie

    I know you already know this, but you’re a pretty damned talented humor writer. I like laughing out loud. And that snack DOES suck. I always get a hamburger kids meal. About 500 calories, and you still get to eat a bun and fries.

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  • http://www.madelinesadaptations.blogspot.com Madeline

    Ahahaha, I love it! When my husband and I started dating he only had one chair and like, 2 glasses, although I’m not sure on the glasses because I was never allowed in his kitchen (thank god.) He was gentlemanly enough to always let me sit in the chair.

    As for your Snack Wrap, I’m terribly sorry for your disappointment. Always stick with the Big Mac…Always.

  • L.M. Smyth

    I don’t know why you’re complaining. You did get 3 pickles and several shreds of lettuce with the “sauce”. But just a question, is that brown stuff meat? If it is, it looks previously nibbled. Yikes!

  • lisa keyeto

    yo guy we no how 2 eat a big mac wrap its not like we dont know how 2 wad u think where
    stupid….where not stupid so stop eating it.2 meee and my family its like ur sayin (people always eat from da left side dont eat from da right bcuz it’ll fall out) which is realy stupid……….

    • http://www.choosy-beggars.com Mike

      I really just approved this comment to show everyone that there are people — and their families — who care very, very deeply about the inherent dignity of Big Mac Snack Wraps.

    • http://facebook.com/mommachefcherie Cherie

      Is…this…English…

  • http://namastemari.blogspot.com mari

    I was googling the snack wrap and found your blog and wow you just saved me 1.89!!!! I can’t believe that’s what it looks like in the inside…they need to call it the sad mac wrap. I rather eat the real thing and workout for an hr extra lol.

  • Randy

    Thanks for saving me $1.49. Let me return the favor. A double cheeseburger cost $1.19. Just order a double cheeseburger with just onions and Mac sauce and get ahead of the game.

  • Heather

    Why could’t I have read this before last night? I tried it, and if there is any outcome lower than underwhelmed, I had reached it. A cold pencil-shaped “patty” and extra-vinegary sauce do not a great snack make.

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  • Marcel

    It seems the Canadian test market wasnt sufficiently pathetic as the Big Mac wrap will be finally coming to the States. Conan Obrien mentioned it in his monologue tonight

    “McDonalds is reportedly introducing a new Bic Mac Burrito. Then 5 minutes later they’re introducing McDiarrhea”

    just thought you should know

    • http://www.choosy-beggars.com Mike

      I think that’s why they use us: We forgive everything except the truly terrible, and it gives them the confidence to unleash these things on an un-discerning American public.

  • Cindy

    i love your tshirt! where can i find one like that? its on of my fave simpsons quotes ^_^

    • http://www.choosy-beggars.com Mike

      Alas, it was a limited-run Glarkware tee — however, I strongly urge you to check out what else is available… pretty much my whole tee shirt drawer (and therefore 90% of my daily wardrobe) is drawn from there.

  • Jennifer

    I actually like them, better than horking down all that beef and buns. I don’t like cheese that much, and the sauce was a bit overwhelming, so I ask them to take it easy on the sauce and no cheese. I’m trying to find out if the tortilla is any healthier than the bun…. I had an angus burger without the bun and it was FANTASTIC!!!

    • http://www.choosy-beggars.com Mike

      From what I was able to tell, the tortilla is about half as caloric, give or take. So you’re not actually saving that much going from one to the other.

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  • Donkey

    I LOVE BIG MACS

  • fred

    Thanks for the amusing warning about this ripoff

  • chingy

    an amazing review of probably the worst product of the year… for now at least

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  • Mikee

    I too was curious about this new snack, as the work I do keeps me in the desk frontier for too long of a day, and this would be my saviour of the day. This snack wrap was a total disappointment, as it doesn’t even have a WHOLE beef patty in it. Some of the kids may enjoy this, but when I can get a McDouble of the $1 menu, with two whole beef patties and cheeze, to help pass the lunch break, I’m turned off with the snack wraps idea of something tasteful. Mouthfuls of sauce and lettuce, with the tastebuds passing the beef all together, is attrocious. There is something to say for McDonalds always keeping in tradition though, there will always be more bread on the Big Mac than beef.

  • Sarah

    Wow, a great author AND attractive to boot! Do you have a girlfriend? 🙂

  • Jen

    So I got a letter from McDonald’s in the mail yesterday, with (wait for it)….

    2 coupons for free Mac Snack Wraps.

    • http://www.choosy-beggars.com Mike

      Also redeemable for 1/2 of a Big Mac.

  • http://www.blogspot.com/melissavina Melissavina

    Me plus this article. I saw the Mac Snack Wrap commercial and thought, seriously, how gross are Americans that we’ll eat this crap? And here we are… thank you!

  • cj

    wow thanks for the info i was going to get one today but now that i know how small it is, I would have been pissed off if I would of bought today.

  • Telly

    I was on the way to Mickey D’s to get one. SOOOOO glad I dropped by here first.

    I was ecpecting TWO ALL BEEF PATTIES, not half of one patty.

    I would have been pissed!

    Thanks again for the heads up!

  • Cait

    I haven’t laughed this much in a long time, thanks 🙂

  • Al in SoCal

    McDonald’s will never learn how to be slightly generous w/ their food. This is a good idea done all wrong. 2 patties would have been great – and if they are worried about cheese costs I wouldn’t mind half a slice of cheese.

    How about a Big Mac w/ 1/4 pounder meat instead

    I used to work at McDonald’s in my acne years – and they call the small patties 10 to 1’s – 10 patties = 1 pound. So this is half of even 1 patty – SO sad.

  • Tjt1012

    I also find this by googling “Mac Snack Wrap Sucks” I was pretty pissed off ordering this. After tax it was $2.11 a full big mac on its own is a lil over a dollar more. Total scam.

  • Roland

    While I enjoyed your opening and your sense of humor. This is a rather overwrought posting bashing a pretty easy target. (McDonalds)

    Anyway, I tried it the other day and it was surprisingly (very surprisingly) delicious. In fact border-line awesome. But…

    It had more meat than yours and a slice of cheese, not a sprinkling like yours. You either got ripped, or they have changed how they make them. Or…perhaps they make them different where you are?

    • http://www.choosy-beggars.com Mike

      I’d hate to be thought of as being overwrought on a website where I’ve written in the voices of lotharios, muscle-bound gangstas, a region of Italian geography and Satan himself — so count that as point taken. We actually declined writing about McDonald’s latest test marketing effort (The Smores Pie) because we agree that it’s too easy a target.

      So WATCH YOUR ASS, ARBYS! YOU’RE NEXT!

      In response to your question, I certainly hope that they’ve gotten better at making them. Because we got a pretty piss-poor effort, hyperbole notwithstanding. Improvement was practically a given.

  • Roland

    Actually, it’s half a quarter pounder not half a big mac patty. Also supposed to be half a slice of cheese not a sprinkling. You got ripped.

    P.S. The humor of looking this up is lost on me.

    • Roland

      Er…that is “The humor of looking this up is NOT lost on me.”

  • Mitchiepoo

    OK, I tend to have to agree with this blog on the “snack wrap.” The people from McDonalds brought some of these to our radio station, to promote them. Yes, they appear to be good in taste, but thought I could personally do it better, with my own cheaper ingredients. I couldn’t say that on the air, since they are a sponsor of our local station…which borders Canada. My Market is a midsized test market and had been for years.

    I was amazed at how the blogger posted what litter is in the folded tort. I thought the same exact thing. It is being p[promoted as “healthier,” but really is not at all. Sure, fewer calories, less “red meat,” and more of an “actual portion.”

    As I said, I can do better… I did. I cooked up some ground beef, which wraps better. I took 3 heaping TBSP of it and put it into a large tortilla. I then added 1 TBSP of cheese, 1 TBSP lettuce, Drizzle of onion, and 2 pickle slices. I then added the “secret sauce” (Thousand Island dressing), over the top and rolled it up.

    You wanna bet this is heftier than the thin version McD’s sells? You can even make it leaner, add more lettuce and onion, as you need to.

    Note that you must steam the tort for it to keep together.

    After the “free sample” we ate, I decided it was better for me to make my own. At least I know what is in it, how it was made, etc.

    Several Radio station employees also got the recipe. Now we talk about making them, regularly.

    In this bad economy, you need to keep your dollars. Yes, this includes keeping the price of “fast food” down. You can make it cheaper to do, and make it healthier, which makes the previous statement easier to do… as in keeping it cheaper.

    I thank you Mcdonalds for giving me the thought of trying this, myself… to be more economic. I also thank you for making me laugh – by advertising your product on a blog that does not favor it. Can’t get any funnier.

  • http://www.gdup.com G’d Up

    Mike,

    This was mothafuckin funny.

  • Kelly

    You, sir, are crazy hot… and funny… and Scottish. Win,win, win.

    • http://www.choosy-beggars.com Mike

      FACT: This was the easiest comment to approve, ever.

      • http://www.choosy-beggars.com Tina

        Aw, man. Now I’m going to have to watch Mike strut around with a smug look for at LEAST a couple of weeks. It’s only a matter of time before the “I’m so sexy” dance breaks out too. On the plus side Kelly, you evidently have excellent taste!

  • http://www.rubywildflower.wordpress.com Ruby Wildflower

    I was just thinking “would it be weird if I commented on how attracted to him I am” and I was all like.. ‘yes Rubes, disgustingly weird. Get a life you loser”. Then I noticed that some others had. So thanx darlinks.

    Mike = PHWWOARRR. Particularly with Maccas-in-mouth.

    Butterfly kisses
    Rubes

    • http://www.choosy-beggars.com Mike

      I am marking today on the calendar as the very special day when a photograph of me eating terrible food inspired a woman to make a whooshy-growling-purring noise.

      I will celebrate its anniversary by strutting.

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  • Megan

    I stumbled on your website and will now be a regular. Besides being hilarious and candid, you are also extremely easy on the eyes. Thanks Mike! Oh, and strut on baby!

    • http://www.choosy-beggars.com Mike

      Thank you!

      And a note to any others who may be wondering: reminders of how handsome I was in 2009 = fast track to comment approval.

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