Imagine being the last McDonald's customer who experiences this thing we've all grown up with. 

Imagine you're the one stopping by Mickey-D's ordering your favorite meal, and getting your favorite drink to go with it: maybe a Coke or Sprite, or a shake. Maybe even an iced tea.

Now, imagine picking up the order, and hearing the McDonald's worker tell you with a grin: "Okay, that's the last straw!"

As you'll see, the puns and wordplay possibilities are endless, but fortunately we have a little bit of time to decide. 

Because today is the day that a group of about 500,000 activists hopes we'll look back on as when McDonald's started getting rid of straws in the United States.

Yes, straws. As in, the little plastic tubes that you use to suck drinks out of cups: the scourge of environmentalists who've awakened to just how much plastic they amount to, and long they take to biodegrade (hint: never). 

Today's forum is the annual shareholders meeting at McDonald's, where petitioners are asking the company to study the "business risks" of plastic straws, "arguing that their continued use could cost McDonald's environmentally aware customers."

That description comes from a report in the Orange County Register newspaper, and it could make sense--younger customers being more environmentally aware--and McDonald's being the kind of restaurant whose 37,000 locations depend on new customers every day.

For now however, McDonald's vehemently objects to the idea.

Not that they're necessarily against finding a substitute for straws, per se. It's just that as the company told shareholders in a written reply, "the requested report is unnecessary, redundant to our current practices and initiatives, and has the potential for a diversion of resources with no corresponding benefit."

In other words, leave us alone; we're on it--not least of all with the company's plan to make all of its product packaging recyclable by 2025.

You know what? They're probably right.

You needn't believe that McDonald's will come up with some straw workaround out of the goodness of its corporate heart, because they soon might not have a choice.

The entire state of California is considering a law prohibiting restaurants from automatically giving them out--although they'd be allowed to if customers requested them. A growing list of cities and towns have cracked down on them, too. More states can't be far behind.

And across the Atlantic Ocean, a similar effort resulted in near-ban on all plastic straws at McDonald's in the United Kingdom.

So maybe it's going to happen regardless.

Maybe plastic straws are to 2018 what plastic bags were to say, 2010.

They're going away, regardless. It won't suck too badly.

And neither will you, if you get a drink at McDonald's.

Published on: May 24, 2018
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