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Mcdonaldization and Its Effect on Society

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McDonaldization is an idea developed by George Ritzer. This concept is evolving into everyone’s fast-paced busy lives. In today’s society, people have microwave mindsets. When people set out plans or goals, they intend to stick with them, they will rarely deter from that plan. e.g. When people go into a store, they plan to go into the store get what they need according to their list and leave. The people in today’s society are people that like one-stop shops and stores that exemplifies a replica of a previous store they’ve shopped at before. It’s more convenient for someone to go shopping at Walmart and know exactly which aisle to go down to grab the necessities they need such as groceries, clothes, and electronics without being confused because the store has a completely different set up than their accustomed to. 

The elements that atone for McDonaldization consist of efficiency, predictability, calculability, nonhuman technology, and control. Reaching a goal in as little time as possible is considered efficiency. An example that demonstrates the efficiency of McDonaldization would be Target having different department employees and managers that know the specifics of the department. The advantage of having different managers and employees for each department the customer can receive speedy service and get any questions they have answered. A disadvantage of having different employees would result in more money that will be distributed. When a customer can walk into any target and go can go directly to an aisle and grab their necessities that have the same organization and price is considered predictability. When a customer has familiarized themselves with the store and does not have to waste time this is can consider predictable. In some cases, the target may not carry a product that the customer is looking for they tend to go searching for other locations. The disadvantage is if one target does not carry it then no target will. Another element is calculability, which means it should be able to be calculated. For example, Target’s inventory; keeping an accrete inventory helps them know which products are more popular than others. This is a benefit for the company because they now know how much of each product they need to order for the next month. A disadvantage is that it takes a long time for inventory to be completed. Therefore, possibly having to pay employee overtime to do inventory. Furthermore, if not done accurately, this could cause an order to be placed incorrectly. An example of nonhuman technology is the self-checkout at Target. This is available for people who have fewer items and need to get out quickly. Additionally, there is usually little to no wait for self-checkout. Although, a disadvantage would be that if a person has a full cart with a large number of products. For them, this can be an inconvenience. There is often little room to put paid for products while still trying to empty the cart of unpaid products. Also, there is no assistance for bagging that much stuff with the self-checkout. Lastly, Control is the rules that have to be followed by both employees and customers. For example, in Targett, the customer is not allowed to go behind the food court counters or behind the doors, that’s labeled employee only, while the employee has to wear a specific uniform. An advantage of this is that food areas are sanitary, and employees are identifiable. A disadvantage may occur if employees don’t keep their uniforms clean and they appear dirt while behind the counter.

One significant factor in having McDonaldization in society is that there is better and faster service. One significant factor in having McDonaldization in society is that there is better and faster service. However, when irrationality of rationality occurs, the system starts to break down. For example, service becomes slower, inventory becomes inaccurate, technology begins to break down and employee positions are not staffed appropriately. The irrationality of rationality is seen in Target. From my experience from Target in Douglasville, I have found that the shelves are not restocked quickly, and as a college student with limited time, it is inconvenient for me to have to go back multiple times to check and see if what I need has been re-shelved. Furthermore, I cannot seem to ever find any employees or when I find them, they are never in charge of that department. The Target near my school has a very different layout than the one near my home in Douglasville, so I tend to get lost quite often and there are never any employees around to help me. The concept of McDonaldization is not successful in Target because it appears that Targett is trying to run their business with less and less human staff. Because there are fewer employees at target customers are not able to find the necessities, they need along with getting the assistance they need. The overall experience a customer will have when they visit target it will take longer than expected because it may be unorganized, themselves may not be restoked and no employees around. This could result in loss of money, customers, and products.

The significates of McDonaldization is that people want fast and immediate service. Society today is overworked and over-scheduled and we are often just running from one obligation to another. Many people already feel they do not have enough time for their families and friends and do not want to have to spend their extra time running errands. McDonaldization can lead to feelings of alienation based on an employee’s perspective. Marx’s theory of alienation refers to the condition in which the individual is isolated and divorced from his or her society, work, or the sense of self. This occurs because a worker feels no sense of relationship with the people or the products. He feels separated from everything in his work environment. Another concept is Max Weber’s, Iron Cage. The Iron Cage is defined as a situation in which an individual is trapped by social institutions. In today’s society as people focusing more on what they spend their money on and the value that they feel that product holds. 

Overall, I do not see McDonaldization as having a positive effect on society. Today’s society has become more self-focused and busy. Society has also become more oriented, people always want the latest clothes, shoes, and gadgets. In today’s society, people do not focus on building relationships with each other. We are losing the value of living in a true community. I believe that McDonaldization can be beneficial in my life. I can run and buy a cup of coffee and still be on time for class, or even run through a drive-through and still meet up with my friends with an already packed meal.

Works Cited

  • Griffiths, H., Keirns, N. J., Strayer, E., Cody-Rydzewski, S., Scaramuzzo, G., Sadler, T., … Jones, F. (2017). Introduction to sociology 2e.

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