Starting on October 1, free morning coffee isn’t the only change you’ll notice at McDonald’s Japan. Step up to the counter and, in the space where the big menu used to be, you’ll find nothing but this sign, urging you to look up at the overhead menu to make your choice instead.

Yep, the menu has gone. From now on, customers are asked to check out a menu elsewhere in the restaurant before heading to the counter, or rely on the meal suggestion board overhead, ruining it for those of us who always just point at the picture of chicken nuggets and say “this please”, in an effort to avoid the awkward Japanese pronunciation of the word.

On the surface, this is but a minor change, but it is already having an effect on frequent visitors, and the internet is buzzing about it.

The people, they are not entirely happy.

“OK, I’m going to Mos Burger from now on…” is perhaps not the reaction McDonald’s were hoping for with this slight alteration…

Upon hearing the news of this curious menu banishment, I stepped into my nearest branch of McDonald’s to see for myself. Sure enough, the counter menu is gone, and I have to admit, it felt quite odd having nothing to point to while I ordered…

It’s frightening just how well fast food joints have programmed the ordering routine into us over the years. Even though I had gone to the restaurant specifically to check up on the news reports, and had seen with my own eyes that the menu was gone, when I ordered, I still found myself looking down at the counter like one of Pavlov’s horribly well-conditioned dogs. Wincing ever so slightly, the cashier seemed to take pity on me and actually apologised for the inconvenience the lack of menu caused, suggesting that I cast my gaze upward instead.

Despite heeding her words and looking up at the enormous back-lit pictures of food and drink for a few seconds, in no time at all I was looking back at the bare counter like a simpleton…

Why has the undisputed king of fast food taken this seemingly unnecessary move? There has been no official word from the company, and its Twitter feed simply alerts customers to the change and apologizes for any initial confusion, but asks for customers’ kind co-operation.

Netizens, meanwhile, have their own theories about the change…

“This is clearly a way of getting people to order set meals and not just individuals burgers…” claims one business-savvy consumer.

“That menu up top is way too far for me to make out… I’d end up just getting a set,” laments another.

“Yeah, and all the store managers will tell their staff to recommend the most expensive set to any perplexed customers…” suggests a fast food conspiracist.

Or perhaps McDonald’s simply want to do away with those customers who stand at the counter with a line of people behind them, staring at the menu and muttering “Hmmm, what shall I have…?” while everyone else waits?

“Let’s see. I will have… ummm… one….”

There are a handful of internet users who are on-board with the idea, but on the whole the vibe is one of confusion and suspicion.

Proving that we humans aren’t so different to a family pet that gets upset by the arrival of a new sofa, McDonald’s Japan is perhaps playing with fire here, but this writer at least sees this step as just one of many intended to further speed up the already frighteningly fast process of ordering our fatty treats.

Give it a few years and we’ll all be queuing up our orders on our smart phones’ McApp., beaming them wirelessly to the register and paying by direct debit. Avoiding the need to speak to anyone whatsoever…

Mmmmn, lonely, high-calorie treats. Nom nom nom…

Source: Hamster Sokuhou