Fast food, as well as discount, low-price businesses are destroying small communities. The economic and physical strain to the areas with an abundance of fast food restaurants in particular is clear, yet almost nothing is done to correct the problems that are being afflicted. If this isn’t enough, the children are the ones who really suffer.
The first thing that stands out about food in general that I noticed by driving through multiple white communities is the abundance of fast food facilities along nearly every street. In these communities there is always at least one McDonald’s, which is conveniently placed on the busiest intersection in the center of town. What I don’t understand is why an entire township would allow so many fast-food establishments to be constructed, especially with the rising percentages of obesity related illnesses? Is it to provide jobs to the community? Is it to promote the local economy? Neither of these reasons are logical.
The first issue, that of providing jobs, is severely flawed. These “businesses” usually operate at minimum staff capacity and pay minimum wage, compensation that still keeps a full-time worker below the poverty line, not that these places hire full-time employees. In order to avoid having to provide benefits and giving employees raises, these “businesses” will hire a strictly part-time staff, with the small exception of salaried positions, such as a manager. This forces individuals to seek out other means of raising money to survive, usually by obtaining another job, which further limits the already small area of available jobs, and leaves many more unemployed.
As for providing a boost to a local economy, the entire philosophy of fast-food is counterproductive. The goal of any such establishment is to get the customer out of the building as soon as possible. The methods used include uncomfortable seating, brisk, impersonal interaction between the staff and the customers, even having a sub-standard cleaning schedule so the idea of eating at one of the provided areas is unappealing. This concept does not promote tourism. It does not encourage individuals to stay within the community to spend money and boost the local economy. At best, this philosophy sends the message, “Good, you’re leaving.”
All of these reasons should pale in comparison to the issue of the children. I realize that many adults want to consider their kids, “reasonable” and capable of making healthy, logical decisions on their own. Unfortunately, this mentality only proves false when one looks at the habits of these unsupervised children. Most, if given a choice, will go to a McDonald’s on their lunch period, or buy snack foods from a vending machine. Many know these foods are unhealthy, but will continue these actions every day they are able. This isn’t because they’re completely incompetent, but because they are CHILDREN. They are, for the most part, incapable of long-term critical thinking. This conclusion is most obvious with the current YOLO (You only live once) movement, where children use the phrase YOLO as an excuse for doing something incredibly irresponsible, or downright stupid, and continuing to do so on a regular basis.
So where should the responsibility lie? Who should be taking steps to ensure the children will be less likely to be influenced by these negative factors? Normally, the responsibility would fall to the parents to supervise their children and any activities they engage in. Unfortunately, as I have stated earlier, many communities are becoming dependent on professions that require no formal education, which makes the idea of someone with the mind of a child taking responsibility for children absurd. When most of the population in a community is incompetent, and barely able to take responsibility for themselves, who should take the responsibility for these ever growing issues?
In my opinion, it would only be logical that the township, who can decide which businesses are allowed to construct and operate within its borders, should take on the responsibility for the people within its jurisdiction. Should the town be unable to provide an adequate solution to the problems, the logical progression would be to pass it along to the state, and eventually require federal intervention, something no one wants.
In conclusion, there is a serious lack of personal, and communal, responsibility within most of the communities around the country, big and small. I understand that taking responsibility for one’s child is stressful, especially when the American society mindset encourages parents to ignore their child’s needs in order to accommodate the combined “wants” of both parent and child, regardless of the well-being of either. What I don’t understand is how so many individuals will actively ignore the well-being of others. It’s not socialism to worry about the future of a child that is not your own. It is a responsibility that we, as human beings, should be concerned about.