“$30 for Just That?!” – McDonald’s Customer Exposes Possible Price Gouging, Internet Erupts in Agreement

By: Georgia | Last updated: Nov 22, 2023

In a time when discussions about the economy are ever-present, a seemingly ordinary experience at a McDonald’s drive-thru has brought the escalating cost of fast food to the forefront.

This exploration begins with a customer named Jammie Kathryn and her unexpected bill, leading us into a broader investigation of the rising food prices in the U.S.

A Customer's $30 McDonald's Bill

During what appeared to be a regular visit, Jammie Kathryn decided to order six items from a McDonald’s menu. Upon receiving her total, she was taken aback by the cost.

A close-up view of McDonald's iconic items on a wooden surface: golden fries peeking out of a red container with the recognizable 'M' logo

Source: Brett Jordan/Unsplash

This experience was not just a personal shock for Jammie, but it prompted her to share and highlight the broader implications of such pricing trends in the fast-food industry.


The TikTok Revelation

Taking her astonishment to a broader platform, Jammie Kathryn shared a video on TikTok detailing her $30.36 bill.

A glowing McDonald's sign illuminated against a moody evening sky, prominently featuring the iconic golden arches above the red-labeled "McDonald's", with a smaller "McDrive" sign below it

Source: Jurij Kenda/Unsplash

This wasn’t just a fleeting post; the video rapidly amassed over 2.8 million views, serving as a testament to how relatable and concerning the issue of rising costs is for many individuals

Breakdown of Jammie's Order

Digging into the specifics, her order consisted of 2 Sausage, Egg & Cheese McGriddles coming in at $12.38, a Double Patty Sausage Egg McMuffin priced at $5.50, and 3 Hash Browns for $10.17.

A close-up view of a McDonald's breakfast spread, with the main focus on a wrapped Egg McMuffin in its distinctive blue and yellow packaging that reads "freshly cracked eggs." Surrounding items include a syrup packet, other wrapped foods, and a plastic fork, all arranged on a tray

Source: Getty Images

Add the state’s sales tax of $2.31, and her final bill reached an unexpected total of $30.36, raising eyebrows and sparking discussions.

Food Prices Are on the Rise

Jammie’s experience isn’t an isolated event. From 2021 onward, there’s been a notable increase in the price of food, encompassing everything from essential groceries to restaurant meals.

Two brown paper grocery bags filled with a variety of fresh produce on a wooden floor. One bag prominently displays red apples and ripe bananas, while the other reveals a green cabbage, a plastic-wrapped loaf of bread, and other assorted items peeking from the top

Source: Maria Lin Kim/Unsplash

If the data and market predictions hold true, these elevated prices are expected to persist and potentially rise until around 2024.

Broader Implications of Rising Costs

This surge in prices isn’t exclusive to the food sector. Americans have been grappling with an upward trend in the general cost of living, which extends to vital areas like housing.

Close-up of a person's hands delicately holding and counting U.S. dollar bills against a dark background

Source: Igal Ness/Unsplash

Meanwhile, alongside domestic economic concerns, the U.S. continues to allocate significant resources to overseas involvement.


Fast Food Chains & Pricing Dynamics

In the midst of these economic shifts, there are speculations around how fast food chains are responding.

An exterior view of a McDonald's outlet at night with its iconic golden arches illuminated against a backdrop of a starry sky

Source: Visual Karsa/Unsplash

While some adjustments to pricing may be a direct result of genuine economic pressures, it’s crucial to discern between these factors and strategic business decisions that might be driving prices up.


The Role of Mobile Applications

In an era of digital transformation, many fast food chains, McDonald’s included, have shifted promotions and offers to their mobile applications.

A hand holding a smartphone inside a car, displaying the McDonald's app. The screen showcases an offer for 1,500 bonus points, with options to link a card and view the menu

Source: Getty Images

On one hand, this provides consumers with potential discounts and deals. On the other, it necessitates consistent engagement with these apps, compelling customers to stay digitally active to obtain cost benefits.


Public Response

The viral nature of Jammie’s TikTok post demonstrates a shared sentiment among a large portion of the public.

A close-up view of a hand holding a smartphone displaying various app icons. Prominent social media apps such as YouTube, WhatsApp, TikTok, Instagram, and Facebook are clearly visible on the screen

Source: Getty Images

The comments ranged from those reminiscing about past deals, like the 2-for-$1 hash browns, to others offering potential explanations and theories for the seemingly high costs in the present day.


Employee Wages and Food Costs

A point of discussion that emerged from public reactions centered on employee wages.

Interior of a Mcdonald’s restaurant showing customers at the counter and staff members assisting. In the foreground, digital ordering kiosks display promotional meal deals

Source: Getty Images

Some comments hinted at a potential correlation between the rise in hourly wages within the fast food sector and the subsequent increase in menu prices, suggesting a link between personnel costs and end-consumer pricing.


McDonald's Food Quality Concerns

Price isn’t the sole focus. A segment of the reactions drew attention to the quality of certain food items.

Close-up view of a table with a tray full of crispy golden french fries, accompanied by ketchup dips. Adjacent are a wrapped burger with "DOUBLE" printed on its wrapper, a drink cup with a Coca-Cola logo, and another fries container

Source: Alia/Unsplash

Specific mentions included critiques about the temperature and crispiness of hash browns, emphasizing that consumers expect value and quality that’s proportional to the price they pay.


Understanding the Current Fast Food Landscape

Jammie’s $30 McDonald’s bill serves not just as an individual’s experience, but as a lens into broader economic and industry challenges.

Illuminated exterior of a McDonald's restaurant at night, showcasing a prominently lit "McDonald's" sign, "playplace", and "Drive Thru" signage. The ground displays digital menu boards with bright images of food, adjacent to parked cars

Source: Shahbaz Ali/Unsplash

As discussions evolve, understanding the intricate balance between costs, quality, wages, and pricing strategies in the fast food sector will remain crucial.