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Fast Food Nation

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Once I started reading 'Fast Food Nation', the book got me seriously thinking about the hardships that a fast food worker must go through and how industries only care about maximizing their output, or profits, and minimizing their input, or cost of labor and production. The fast food worker works for minimum wage, earning a whopping $6.55 an hour, without any health insurance, 30 hour shifts, so the restaurant doesn't have to worry about the formation of a union, and whenever they work overtime many are not paid the correct amount of money. As for the industry itself, it gets richer and richer by the month. But the C.E.O's and the company's board are not satisfied with what they have, and therefore build more restaurants around the globe. The author, Eric Schlosser, an anti-business person, scolds the acts of the big companies for taking such advantage from the people. But who is really the blame for all of this?
Once another franchise of a fast food restaurant is built, the owner instantly signs an agreement saying that they will not sue the corporate in any form, that the land that the restaurant is in, is owned by the corporate franchise, and that the owner of the new franchise will pay, at the end of the year, royalty payments, which are a certain percentage of total profit, to the corporation for letting him use their name and whatever comes with it. Furthermore, once this new restaurant is opened, it requires labors to function properly. These labors are usually teenagers looking for a part time job or immigrants who have no place else to work. The funny part about this whole process is that at no such time did any of the board members or the C.E.O's force any of the workers to work there, or any of the entrepreneurs to open a restaurant with a big franchise's name. They all do it willingly. The workers come to work at these fast food restaurants knowing that they are only going to get paid minimum wage, knowing that, at least once, they will get either cut, burned, or bruised at the job, and knowing that they are working there out of their own free will. I can say the same about the entrepreneurs. They decided to be safe, and open a business with a big corporation logo, instead of risking opening up a business by themselves with no manuals.
Another thing that the author forgot to mention in her novel, was the persistence and hardship that the current C.E.O or any other person that's high in the corporate ladder had to deal with. He must have forgotten that before any McDonald's, Wendy's, Burger King, or KFC got started, there was a young man who decided to take a leap of faith and start his own business selling potatoes, or working at a butcher shop learning how things are done. Then after tough years of learning how the business works or trying to sell a product but falling, they got their big break and opened their first restaurant. Maybe the author forgot that the restaurant was build from sweat and determination.
From the beginning, Eric Schlosser tries to give some inside information on the reality of the fast food world, from 'one of the fast food industry's pioneers' (Schlosser 13), Carl Karcher, to the step by step process of how the meat is made. His arguments are always backed up with some evidence backing up his theory, like the memorable quote from the Taco Bell employee 'just add hot water' (Schlosser 69), that gives us readers something to remember next time we eat at Taco Bell. The purpose of this book is to give everyone who has once eaten fast food in their life, some information on what they are eating and who makes it for them. Although our opinions might differ at time, the author does a great job at depicting all the areas of the fast food world for the reader.





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