The sandwich skeptic

July 3, 2008 at 12:47 pm Leave a comment

Is the Southern Style Chicken Sandwich as delicious as the McDonalds marketing campaign would have us all believe? I’m so dubious that this sandwich is actually worth all the money being poured into it. It looks like a tragically incomplete regular chicken sandwich. It looks like a chicken patty with pickles on it. What makes it Southern? Are the chickens raised in Alabama? Does it believe in states’ rights? I don’t understand.

George Watts, of the National Chicken Council (which actually exists), says:

The new Southern Style Chicken Biscuit and Sandwich underscore McDonald’s unfailing commitment to meeting consumers’ need for a variety of meal choices, while giving them opportunities to enjoy chicken whenever they want it, whether that’s breakfast, lunch or dinner.

So it also comes in biscuit form. I respect that. But why doesn’t it have lettuce? For those who didn’t visit the link, this is from a press release in which McDonalds announced it would be giving the sandwiches away for free. Because McDonalds knows that no one is going to buy a chicken patty with pickles on it without some sort of economic incentive. Look:

The sandwich, which has a suggested retail price of $2.89, comes on plain steamed bun, with butter and two pickles as its sole condiments. The biscuit, which goes for $1.89, comes adorned only with butter.

The pickles cost a dollar, you guys.

In all due fairness to McDonalds, I decided to take the plunge and buy the Southern Style Chicken Sandwich. It would have been rude of me to dismiss it without even trying it–and I’ve heard that a lot of people actually swear by the sandwich now that it’s been released. So after work yesterday I went to the McDonalds at L’Enfant Plaza and shelled out three bucks for the sandwich.

I was anticipating–hoping, actually, since I was kinda hungry and I had also just sacrificed three bucks–to be blown away by how delicious the sandwich was. I wanted to walk out of that restaurant a changed woman, ready to defend the Southern Style Chicken Sandwich’s honor to any poor fool who dissed it without trying it, like I had.

But it tasted like a chicken patty with pickles on it. Seriously, it was pathetic. The bun was slightly damp (with butter, I’m assuming) and the pickle slices were sort of overlapping so that they only covered about a third of the actual chicken patty. There were also only two of them. You’d think for a buck they’d throw a few more on, but I guess not. It wasn’t even any bigger than a normal chicken sandwich, which had been another theory of mine. It was just a chicken patty. With pickles.

While disappointed, I come away from this experience with the smell of fried chicken and vinegar on my breath and also with a renewed sense of respect for McDonalds and why it has managed to do so well for itself. I had convinced myself that McDonalds was insane to spend all that commercial time selling the most ridiculous sandwich ever, but the insanity compelled me to try the sandwich. It’s kind of like the marketing staff of McDonalds had threatened to set itself on fire or something. I had to know why.

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