I was in town Friday night for dinner at a great Indian restaurant with my Peace Corps friends, Tiffany, Cassie, Corina, and Chelsea. In the midst of inhaling our meal, we all concurred that a trip to McDonald’s for ice cream would be a good idea after our Indian food.
McDonald’s in Samoa means more to volunteers than it ever meant to them when living in the United States. On several occasions I’ve heard volunteers say that they had only eaten McDonald’s once or twice in their life, before coming to Samoa. But walking down the road and seeing those Golden Arches here, stirs something inside of us that reminds us of home. It really does become what we call, comfort food.
After doing a little research, I found that McDonald’s first opened in Samoa on March 2, 1996 and has restaurants in 123 countries worldwide. Whenever traveling in another country, there is always something special about seeing that famous logo, and thinking about America’s ability to spread it’s corporations around the globe.
But Friday night’s visit wasn’t about analyzing McDonald’s ability to brand itself on the world stage, it was about its ability to satisfy my sweet tooth! Walking in I had intended to get a vanilla ice cream cone which is only 3 tala (1.23 US dollars). However, a big new advertisement behind the counter on their menu board looked much more appealing: apple pie a la mode for 6 tala (2.47 USD).
Waiting there in line each time I visit, I’m always amazed at McDonald’s ability to keep so much about its business familiar to their consumers. Everything from the cups down to the straws and paper napkins are exactly the same as in the United States. Wherever I’ve traveled in the world, the French fries taste the same and this is part of McDonald’s genius. Even its playgrounds and Ronald McDonald image have made it to Samoa.
Although there is a McDonald’s here, the average Samoans who live in the rural villages have never been there. They have heard of it, they just never have eaten there. This is mainly because they can’t afford to eat there when they have so many other financial responsibilities to their families and church. Therefore, McDonald’s has become mostly a destination for those families who live in the Apia area or for the tourists who flock there because of its familiarity!
For me, Friday night’s visit ended with no regrets in choosing the apple pie a la mode! I was in a familiar place and eating familiar food, and I must admit, I was lovin it!
My selection for the late night run was a new item on the menu here in Samoa. Last month they had taro pies and they were actually good too!
They look the same, but most of all, they TASTE the same too!
The night shift getting into the swing of things.
I'm lovin it!