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There is a clear reason why the insanely unhealthy--and inhumane--food of McDonald's continues to draw long lines at the drive-thru and entire sports teams on the bus ride home from a game: MARKETING.

The McDonald's brand is synonymous with comfort, consistency, and even family.

Nowhere is that core essence reflected better than in the "Happy Meal."



Introduced in the mid-70s, the "Happy Meal" was conceived as a way to drive business in one of the most effective ways imaginable, by making kids love McDonald's so much that they scream at their parents about it from the back seat of a car.

A complete fast food meal with a little toy thrown in, all served in a fun cardboard box that looks like a little smiling face, the "Happy Meal" has stood the test of time, albeit with some healthier changes in the recent years.

But a recent Reddit thread ran a thought experiment. They imagined a 180: a "Sad Meal." People from far and wide offered interpretations of the very opposite of fun, family, and delicious.

lukeamotion asked, "If McDonald's sold a 'Sad Meal,' what would be in it?"

Some people offered up ideas that still had a foot in the McDonald's universe.

They imagined what shocking preparation faux pas might be at hand, or they modified existing meal choices to be only composed of their very worst elements.

Bad Toys and Worse Food 

"Cold fries, an apple pie that's been under the heat lamp so long the filling has dried out, and a warm flat coke. The toy is a used game pass code." -- score_

"Same stuff just the stuff that's been sitting a couple hours under a hot lamp, with a broken Jar Jar Binks toy." -- adanipse

"Nuggets are burnt, fries are cold, unsalted, and the bag is only half-filled. Soda has too much ice and the toy is just a note that says :(" -- Avicii_DrWho

All About the Buns 

"Two buns that hold nothing but a fat slop of mayo" -- turquoisepurplepink

"Just the weird middle bun from a Big Mac" -- octupleunderscore

"and the juice from a mc rib lol"

"I'll take one to go. But idk if I want it stale or still frozen, or maybe just untoasted. and a moldy frape for the drink" -- Idabro

Repulsive Imagery

"A large container crammed with french fries and chicken nuggets that are lathered in ketchup."

"It doesn't come with any utensils - you'll have to place the container on the floor, get on your knees and eat it like a dog."

-- reachthepromiseland

Other entries left the boundaries of the McDonald's food world. They imagined other foods that kids--and even plenty of adults--would hate to receive at a fast food joint.

Brace yourself for healthy boredom and truck stop favorites.

Quinoa Quips 

"A container of plain quinoa, and a cup of heavily chlorinated, room temperature water" -- D3vilUkn0w

"'Ever snorted up a big loogie that had some weird hard bits in it? Quinoa is pretty close' -original quinoa marketing campaign" -- loptopandbingo

The Anti-Health Movement 

"That's just called salad" -- I_N_C_O_M_I_N_G

"Healthy food. Makes me gag just thinking about it" -- JeffCalledMeSushi

"Liver and onions with prunes for the fruit option." -- greg_reddit

All Enjoyed While Cruising Down the Highway 

"A cup of water served at room temperature, fruit slices, onion nuggets, and a mislabeled sauce packet." -- ReadingReddit66

"Natty Ice and a slim jim" -- tmcg6

And then there were the entries that took a broader approach.

These Redditors put the "Sad" in "Sad Meal." But for them, sadness relied on an extensive context surrounding the meal. They developed character sketches and relied on tropes of middle age apathy.

The Decisions That Led There 

"Exactly what's in a Happy Meal but you're 36, divorced, and ordered it by accident when you forgot that you don't have the kids this weekend." -- wanderweather

"Hey, what's wrong with someone in their 30s wanting a collectible kid's toy? ;)" -- Some_Random_Android

"I was gunna comment something but yours blows mine out of the water" -- I_Nocebo

Bombshell To Go 

"A 23andMe report showing your real dad never loved you." -- wheniwascake

"How does McDonald's know this?" -- strangehitman22

"The fact you're in McDonalds is proof enough." -- wheniwascake

A Litany of Options: It's a Cruel World 

"Crippling anxiety accompanied with back pain, with a side of hamburger flavour vodka" -- Screwloose1985

"Mirror" -- PMForDickGraysonPics

"Student Debt" -- jbro145

Earning Your Meal 

"The cashier would ask you what happened and caused you to buy it."

"And then gives you a note inside the sad meal box that roasts you about the problem that you told the cashier that caused you to buy it."

-- Arvindjor


We're happy to report that you don't have to worry about receiving anything quite like this the next time you swing by the McDonald's drive-thru.

Perhaps it might make you feel a touch more grateful to have that 1000 calorie beast in a bag.

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The old saying goes "one man's trash is another man's treasure." But sometimes--how could that NOT be considered treasure?

The waste system we have developed as humans all but guarantees people will throw out something that will be useful to the person who finds it or has to collect it. The wealthy seemingly have unlimited resources.

And eventually even us peons may come across something really really nice that we can take home and use for ourselves.

u/wayne88imps asked:

Garbage men/woman of the world. What's the best/worst thing you have found "thrown away" ??

Here were some of those answers.


Sexy Sax Time

When I was a kid my dad worked for a company that hauled away dumpsters and at one point found an old alto sax complete in the box.

Ended up playing it for four years up until high school when it was stolen, couldn't play after that since my family couldn't afford a rental let alone pay for a new one.

Colausbra

A Chest Of Hopes And Dreams

A Lane cedar chest. I was helping my dad clean out this lady's garage and she said as long as we were there, we might as well take that, too. She said she always hated the smell of cedar but her husband wouldn't let her get rid of it and now that he was dead, she was sending it on its way!

The veneer was never in great shape but it still keeps my wool items safe. I've had it for over 30 years now.

auntiepink

Let's Head To France

My little brother was emptying out a client's basement and everything was going to be thrown away so my brother was told to keep anything he wanted.

He saw a nice looking bike and took it. Turns out it was a Dahon mu p8 30th anniversary limited edition and in perfect condition. From what I found on it, it goes for over $4K.

PsychedelicWeaselGun

Some of these items are just plain luxury, thrown in the garbage.

Stock Up That N64...But Not The Corpses

My dad was a trash man when I was growing up. He would always be bringing cool stuff home to us. He used to always say that the "poor" neighborhoods had the most trash and they threw away literally everything.

The two best ones that I can think of was a brand new BMX bike and like 20 Nintendo 64 games that he found at a video rental store.

Also once at the transfer station one of his co-workers found a "dummy arm" in the big pile of trash. He pulled it and it ended up being a dead guy, the police later determined that it was a homeless person that got picked up and died when the trash truck compacted him.

vickt

A Chaise, If You Will

When I was a kid I found a couch. It wasn't very big, but thats why it was so great. 10 year old me was able to carry it all the way home by myself. (About a block and a half.) This was before kids having cell phones were huge so I didn't call my parents about it first and they were at the store anyways. So I took the couch home and put it in my room. It was pretty dated... Made of some material I've never encountered again so far, but I thought I was THE SH*T. I had a whole couch in my room.

How many 10 year olds had couches in their room? Well my parents came home and clearly weren't happy, but given I carried it up to the second story and got it into my room they let me keep it. (My down stairs neighbor helped me.)

I felt like a king. I had a couch. I had a big box TV for my play station. I had it all. Simpler times.

deadlyturtle22

HD BaBYYYYYY

Found a 55 inch tv next to the dumpster 4 years ago. It was missing 1 hdmi port on the side. It looked like someone might have tripped and ripped it out. Anyway, I opened it up googled the motherboard serial number and found a brand new replacement for like $60 less then 25min away....needless to say I called ahead on my day off picked it up and it works like a charm. Still use the tv to this day.

55in Sony 2012 lcd tv. I have chromecast with google tv hooked up to it now and it's awesome.

2021 and going strong!

jollyjellopy

Itty Bitty Kitty Committee

I worked as a garbage man in 1972. A small stray cat jumped into the back of the hopper to look for food. I took him home and named him saigon.

This was the best thing. Second best thing someone threw out an old pair of skis. There was snow on the ground and me and the other guy each took a ski and stood on it and held onto the truck, great fun.

Third best we found an entire case of "brylcream" (look it up) and me and the other guy had brylcream fights all day, total mess (I stripped off before going into my house after work). Worst things a garbage can that had live coals in it that started our truck on fire.

Ulrich_The_Elder

What was once trash to some folks are now priceless memories for others.

Silver And Gold

Not me but my brother. Someone apparently threw out grandpas stuff from the attic after he passed away. This was the last scheduled pickup at the house and everything was already moved out, nobody living there.

Driving an automated (claw to grab and dump) truck, my brother was irritated there were these 2 bowling bags he had to get out to throw in the truck.

He realized they seemed a bit heavy, so he opened them to see why. Inside there was real silver silverware/flatware. He ended up selling it for scrap prices to a jeweler and got $3000.

Jedimasteryony

How A Trampoline Could Have Changed My Life

My father was a garbage man who also did clean-outs for homes and businesses, where they'd rip apart the entire building and throw everything out in their dumpsters. He worked on a ton of really massive houses, some worth 10s of millions of dollars, one was worth 40 million and wasn't even the permanent residence.

Best things I got as a kid: A pretty much unused trampoline with a net and everything.

A go-kart that my dads friend was able to fix up and we used all the time (I live on a dead end).

And once he cleaned out a deli that was closing down, and we no joke had unlimited Snapples and Sodas of every flavor for almost a year. I'd drink the Snapples while out on the trampoline. I used the hell out of all 3 of those things in my childhood

paulippolito

WIDDLE PUPPER

My father was a garbage man when I was born. I don't remember because I was like 3 months old. But my first dog was in the trash. My dad stopped. Picked up a box and heard some shuffling on the inside and there were two puppies. My dad kept one and the driver kept the other.

They were brother and sister (my dad assumed). He kept the male and named him Jasper. He was literally my best friend growing up. I had him for 13 years and my dad tells me the job was worth it just for that dog.

He called the police and animal control on the residence but doesn't know what happened after that. All I know is I'm 37 and still love that dog so much. I'm so thankful my dad saved him and his sister.

Glove_Compartment

There you have it. People throw out TVs, trampolines, and even pets. People get their best friends from these garbage stops.

But seriously, don't throw out your pets. Please call an ASPCA if you are that desperate.