Another breaking news story from Japan’s top source for interesting and occasionally true-ish news, the Kyokö Shinbun on-line newspaper, translated by me for your consideration. Today’s story concerns MacDonald’s, Japan, which is famous for its perennial menu item, “Smile: 0 Yen.”
MacDonald’s Japan Halts Sales of “0-Yen Smile”–Overwhelmed by Demand
MacDonald’s, Japan, announced on the 26th that it would temporarily halt sales of McNuggets and Smiles, because unexpectedly high demand for its “100 Yen McNuggets” promotion, as well as “0-Yen Smiles,” have made it difficult to continue the promotion. MacDonald’s expect to resume sales early next month.
MacDonald’s had planned to run the “100 Yen McNuggets” promotion from the 21st to the 25th of this month, but sales were far higher than expected, and supplies of MacNuggets quickly ran out. MacDonald’s was forced to abruptly halt the promotion, and is instead selling 100-yen coupons that can be used next month.*
While the promotion was running, the number of customers swelled to three times the number of those at the same time last year, and huge numbers of those customers were also ordering Smiles. As with the McNuggets, stocks of Smiles soon ran short, and sales of these, too, were halted. The company plans to acquire a sufficient stock of Smiles and resume sales early next month, but until then, customers will be met with expressionless faces.
The 310 restaurants in the Tokyo Metropolitan area, however, in an effort to hold on to customers, will instead be providing free Smirks as a replacement for Smiles. According to a company spokesperson, “In light of the season, we will be providing not just cold Smirks, but warm Smirks, as well. We’re hoping customers will try both and see how they compare.”
One 21 year-old man, who had just purchased a Smirk (Hot) at the Shibuya Station MacDonald’s, reported, “The cold glare of utter contempt I received from the woman behind the register sent a shiver down my spine. I don’t know what to make of this strange thrill,” he said, suggesting that his eyes had been opened to a new world.
MacDonald’s says that in order to prevent similar shortages in the future, the company will not only maintain sufficient stocks of Smiles, but also endeavor to meet a range of customer needs by supplementing its menu with such offerings as Bitter Smiles, Sneers, Guffaws, Chortles, and Hysterics.
* Everything in this paragraph is true. MacDonald’s, Japan, actually did have to halt a 100-yen McNuggets promotion last week due to unexpectedly high demand.
**There really is a guy who calls himself Mac Akasaka and claims to be the leader of the “Smile Party.” Mac just lost the race for Governor of Osaka Prefecture yesterday, in his sixth unsuccessful bid for elected office.