How McDonald’s Saved my Life (back in 1984)

2159 days ago in Articles, The Cronicles by Brent | 6 Comments

So, I’m sitting here watching the (freaking amazing) closing cerimonies of the olympics in Beijing and I am reminded of another summer back in 1984. I thought I would share my experience. Travel back with me for a minute…It’s the summer of 1984, I live in eastern Washington, I’m 10 years old and I’m about to enter the 5th grade. I do remember that in the 80′s there wasn’t a lot of economic fortune traveling around and our family was definitely no exception. In fact, times were pretty tough for us in the Spore household. It was especially tough that summer and there wasn’t a lot of hope anywhere around. We were basically reduced to eating stuff you could get in bags for under 99 cents (like beans, potatoes and stuff like that). Don’t get me wrong, I was fine but I can imagine the stress on my parents wasn’t too much fun at all.

Subsequently, McDonald’s was sponsoring the 1984 Olympic Games and ran a campaign (video shown above) titled, “When the US Wins, You Win!”. Not really any different from any other campaign they have run except somewhere in the mix of it all, in response to the American-led boycott of the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow, 14 Eastern Bloc countries and allies including the Soviet Union, Cuba and East Germany (but not Romania) boycotted the Games. For differing reasons, Iran and Libya also boycotted.

This created a problem for good ‘ol Mickey D’s. Suddenly, nearly every game card issued was a winner in some form and in a lot of cases, the events were a complete sweep by the US. It was a funny situation because when you went in with your game card that won a Big Mac, Fries and a Drink, you walked out with 3 more game pieces that almost assuredly won more food.

Tie this into the economic distress that my family was experiencing and there wasn’t any better timing at all. I can truly say that McDonald’s saved my life in 1984. I understand that MD’s really hurt from this, but they survived and so did I, so we all win, right?

Imagine me, a 10 year old boy being told “You want McDonald’s for dinner tonight, son?” HECK YES I DO!!! It’s like a dream come true. All I can say is “Thank you McDonald’s!” … or should I say “Thank you boycotting crew!”

Either way, this years olympics was stellar, but I will NEVER forget the 1984 summer games. Good times!

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  • http://mostlylisa.com Mostly Lisa

    this story is the antithesis of my McDonald's Monopoly story. but i do have all the Fraggle Rock and Muppet Babies characters which almost make up for it.

  • http://twitter.com/rom Rom

    Amazing story – never expected that times were difficult for you back then, specially on that side of the planet. We had our share in the 1980s as well. We can all look back and be glad — glad that we are here, better and stronger. :D

  • atea41

    thanks!

  • Tim Walker

    I remember working at the local McDonalds back in high school when this was going on. We did give out a ton of free food because of that promotion. I remember especially the two U.S. swimmers that tied for a gold medal in one event, so someone with that game piece won two Big Macs…

  • Nmmanzella

    Umm, dude, that’s goin’ a little far. I’m pretty sure that you’d have survived that summer without McDonald’s my friend.

  • Kyle H. Davis

    Flashback!!! I think there were days when my little brother and I never left McDonalds.  It’s a wonder I didn’t weigh 800 lbs after that summer.  Too funny.

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