McDonald’s corporate headquarters used to be located in Oakbrook Illinois, a near west suburb of Chicago. Back in the day, it was considered what I called a glamor company. Front-office visitors were greeted by 25 year-old, beautiful young representatives dressed in fly, fashionable apparel and accessories. The ground floor could not have been more enticing with a runway parade of Brazilian cotton threads posing as bikinis.
Before you believe McDonald’s employees were all dressed in G-strings, there were other people there behind the scenes. The company obviously had the usual support experts in finance, franchise, data processing as they called IT back then, human resources, research, et al working in alternate universes on thong-less, upper floors of the building. They all worked there, just not in lobby accessible areas.
A very famous McDonald’s restaurant sat within eyesight of the corporate office structure. The origin of its popularity grew from the location’s purpose; an early outlet where the corporation was able to test new menu items before they would potentially be rolled out to the larger customer base. This was where the Big Mac, Quarter Pounder, hula burger, McHotDog, some kind of chipped up batter-fried onions, and wine, among other items, made their debut. Some succeeded, and some did not.
Across the road was our favorite watering hole. I didn’t work at McDonald’s but I never missed a Friday evening de-stressing and refilling the newly empty space with some kind of railroad whiskey. It didn’t matter the brand. After two drinks, everything tasted the same. I was there for the show that inevitably began around 9:00 PM. It wasn’t a stage show, but it may as well have been. No live band played. The hum of the partyers was enough.
The non-regular players spent too much time trying to pick up the young corporate ladies. It was so much fun to watch from my place as a voyeur on the wall, so to speak. McDonald’s front office and their secretary friends all gathered at one or two tables close to center stage. The guys circled them like boys at a high school dance; like Indians around a wagon train, like vultures surrounding the near-dead. My favorite pickup exchange went like this.
“So, where do you ladies work?” asked one gentleman as he swished the ice in his drink with a finger.
One of the group glared up at him like he had just interrupted a championship chess match. She stared at him.
“McDonald’s,” she said flatly and returned to her table conversation.
“So, do you guys flip burgers?” The guy seemed to not know or understand that the corporate offices were just down the block, but he certainly knew about the restaurant across the road. Hungry young men usually knew the location of every McDonald’s in the tri-state area.
The same young lady looked astonished. She glared at the guy as she stood up to a full 6 feet.
“We f#&k the executives,” she replied.
Business is Business | The Hollow Man Series, International Espionage
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