Saturday 26 September 2009

Garlic chilli sauce-haters of Singapore, unite!

I admit I’m someone who doesn't like to get involved.

For example, if I come across a dead body, all I would do is Twitter about how gross it is – and then maybe write a column about it.

Civil society, schmivil society,

But there comes a time when a man must take a stand for what he believes in, even though he may be one against thousands.

And this is an issue that has divided our nation for far too long, affecting the lives of millions of Singaporeans on a daily basis.

I am of course talking about the garlic chilli sauce at McDonald’s.

For years, I’ve put up with the offensive condiment, just like I’ve put up with the pickles in the McDonald’s burgers. Hands up, those of you who remove the pickles before eating the burgers. Come on, I know I can’t be the only one.

But then about a year ago (I think), to my pleasant surprise, the fast food chain quietly replaced the garlic chilli sauce with a non-garlic one.

At last, I thought, Ronald The Clown had finally came his senses. It was a long time coming, but better late than never.

But then a few weeks ago, I was at the Yew Tee outlet when I noticed a little sign on the chilli sauce dispenser with a little anthromorphic cartoon garlic and the two most disturbing words I had ever read: “I’m back!”

I couldn’t believe it. The clown had flip-flopped.

I was upset enough that I wrote to the company to complain.

This was McDonald’s reply: “We recently re-introduced garlic chilli sauce at all our restaurants in response to strong customer preference, and have since received extremely favourable feedback. ”

“Strong customer preference”? If there was such “strong customer preference”, then why did the company remove the garlic chilli sauce in the first place?

So I Googled “McDonald’s garlic chilli sauce” and found an old online petition asking for the sauce back. It had a total of 19 signatures. That was it? That was the “strong customer preference”? Ha!

Then I searched Facebook and – holy bad breath! There were 14 pro-garlic Facebook groups, the largest of which had 2,813 members.

Oh. So this was what McDonald’s meant by “strong customer preference”.

I sighed. I was clearly outnumbered – but I refused to give in. I decided to fight fire with fire. Or to be more exact, Facebook group with Facebook group.

I’ve created my own Facebook page, along with an online petition, both called “McDonald’s garlic chilli sauce sucks”. I’m considering a demonstration at the Speaker’s Corner in Hong Lim Park too.

But as one who also believes in diversity and tolerance, I’m not demanding that the garlic chilli sauce be banned since so many people obviously but inexplicibly prefer it (possibly due to a resistance to change).

All I’m asking is for McDonald’s to at least provide an alternative non-garlic chilli sauce as well.

But until then, I guess I’ll just have to settle for ketchup with my fries.

Maybe I should get a Whopper instead.

- Unpublished