“Would You Like A Bag With That?”

by | Dec 5, 2023

Remember when McDonald’s introduced the line “Would you like fries with that?” It wasn’t just a catchy upsell; it was a financial game-changer.

At one point, this simple question was estimated to have accounted for an astonishing 15-40% of McDonald’s annual profits​​.

Fast forward to today, and there’s a new query at the kiosk: “Would you like a bag with that?”

While the fries suggestion brought in billions, this new question about bags might just be the next big thing, albeit a bit less appetizing.

See, on a recent trip to McDonald’s, while placing an order at a kiosk (itself a sign of our automated times), a question popped up:

“Would you like a bag with that?”

It’s takeout; of course, I need a bag. When I tapped “yes”, a line showing a 5¢ bag fee popped up on the order.

What’s next, charging for napkins?

This nickel-and-diming had me reminiscing about this 1993 news segment, where folks bemoaned the then-new concept of paying for fast food with a credit card.

Back then, the idea of swiping for a Whopper seemed as outlandish as storing a Filet-O-Fish in your pocket.

Funny how time works. What once seemed ludicrous – credit cards for fast food – is now our second nature.

It makes you wonder: will bag charges at fast-food joints become the new norm?

Just like we eventually embraced swiping plastic for our burgers, might we reach a point where forking over a few cents for a bag feels as routine as asking for extra ketchup?

As I thought about the kiosk’s question, I couldn’t help but think about the shift in consumer behavior. There was a time when carrying cash was king, especially for quick bites.

Now, not only are we cool with charging our fries — but we’re also navigating a maze of upsells and unwelcome add-ons at every turn.

So, as I begrudgingly accepted the 5¢ charge for a bag — because really, how else am I supposed to juggle my Big Mac and soda — I realized this might just be the beginning.

Maybe, in a few years, we’ll look back at the bag charge kerfuffle the way we chuckle at the credit card fuss of yesteryear.

As I walked out, Big Mac safely in its paid-for bag, I pondered how quickly things change and how many more changes we’ll see in the coming years.

— The Prosperity Pub Team

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