In 21st century America, so much of our lives has been pushed towards technology, efficiency, and the desire for routine. For this reason, a so-called McDonaldization has taken over society. Popularized by the fast food industry, this optimizing of a business/entity for peak efficiency, calculability, predictability and control has had an influence on almost everything. To get a firsthand look into this, I ventured out to a nearby Culver's restaurant.
As I set out to break McDonaldization, I was feeling nervous about having to put myself out there. After a swift check of the menu, I asked the male worker for a double ButterBurger with ketchup. I paused slightly and then said, "Is there any way I could get that burger a little more well done?" To this, the worker stopped for a moment and then said "Uh, yes I can do that.". He could sense my uneasiness but still was very friendly toward myself and other customers. Next, he handed me a number and my receipt and I stepped back out of the way to wait. As I stood there, I looked at the worker and those around me. He gave me a few suspicious looks before waiting on the next customer.
Shortly after, my order came and I headed home. I have to say, the ButterBurger was not as tasty as usual, likely a testament to the company's optimal cooking of the meat. This plays into the aspect of Predictability. I am used to the taste of this particular hamburger and I know I enjoy it. Thus, I skewed the usual satisfaction expectation by ordering it this way. As George Ritzer writes in his book, The McDonaldization of Society, "[t]he success of the McDonald's model suggests that many people have come to prefer a world in which there are few surprises." The knowledge that a ButterBurger (if not ordered well done) here in Michigan is likely to taste the same as a ButterBurger in Illinois is comforting as a consumer.
To continue, as I sat there eating the burger, another thought came to me: I am eating a plate of corn. The burger, the bun, the ketchup. Everything had originated from the yellow miracle. Evidence for this comes from journalist Michael Pollan's book, The Omnivore's Dilemma, where he refers to ending up in the American Corn Belt each time he traced an industrial food back to its start. Over the years, a lot came together causing this such as high subsidizing of the crop.
Getting back to exercise, I feel, the thought of this activity was a lot worse than actually doing it. As comical as it sounds, I truly was not talking to a machine. I was communicating with an actual person that could process my request and satisfy my demand. For this reason, McDonaldization can be bad in that it weeds out human interaction. In a time of (un)social media, as I've heard it coined, it less and less common for unique experiences to take place.