The sordid tale of the McDonald's McRib sandwich is little known, little discussed. This tasty nugget is simultaneously the laughing stock of the fast food world (and that's saying something -- remember the Mc-Lobster Roll?) and a product that inspires cult-like devotion. It has been referenced all over pop culture (multiple Letterman Top 10 lists, the Simpson's, King of Queens, etc), spurred fan clubs, and generally been fawned over like finger sandwiches in a tea room. We love the McRib. And that's the McRub.
We're certain that if it just get our grubby hands on those pressed together pork pieces dipped in tangy,industrial strength barbecue sauce and served with two pickles and a spattering of onions on a non-descript bun just one more time, we could be rid of the yearning.
McDonald's knows this. And they're playing on that craving. They introduce a thoroughly reprehensible menu item, trick us into loving it, and then take it away like a baby bottle full of Coca Cola from an infant. It's just not right all the way around. And it's been happening for way too long (notice the limited time offering phrase in ad below).
First let loose on the general public in the early 1980s, the McRib was dumped after a couple of years. The company line is that it was dispatched because it was something called a "promotional product." And that's how the dance started. The fast food giant began a give-and-take that has lasted almost three decades. We thought it culminated in 2005 with a statement that the sandwich would be permanently removed from the menu following a farewell tour.
But that was just another ruse. And it worked, we wanted it more than ever. The same tricks continue to be played on us and we keep eating them up hoping to one day eat up another McRib.
Well, we've had enough. Now we're holding the porkers at McDonald's accountable. We sent a McFlurry of interview requests to top executives. Our persistence paid off, as we somehow managed to get a rep of the evil empire on the phone. This is a transcript of what transpired:
New Times: I want a McRib sandwich. What can you do for me?
McDonald's Rep: Uh, not much. You have to wait for the company to reintroduce it. It's a seasonal menu item.
Seasonal menu item? Pray tell what is the McRib-season?
I meant promotional menu item. It's whenever the company decides to promote the McRib again.
So you keep changing your story. That's your M.O. I see. Well, I'll tell you what. Just get me a McRib Sandwich this week, and this story never sees the light of day. I promise.
Sorry sir, I cannot.
Give me a damn McRib sandwich?
Sorry about that, I'm just... you know, I really need a McRib and I don't know where or when I can get one.
Well, like I said, McDonald's will reintroduce it again in the future.
At the very least give me a fixed date. This year? Next?
I don't know.
How come you're such a McRib-tease? You get off on that?
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What's wrong with you?
You heard me, McRib-tease. You're like my McRib-blocker friends. Always getting in the way of me having a good time.
I'm hanging up the phone now.
So there you have it. The McRib marketing ploy revealed. We don't know when it's coming but we do know it will come again, and again, and again.