Jessica Leigh Hester is a former senior associate editor at CityLab, covering environment and culture. Her work also appears in the New Yorker, The Atlantic, New York Times, Modern Farmer, Village Voice, Slate, BBC, NPR, and other outlets.
Go ahead and sleep in. You’re an adult and can get an Egg McMuffin whenever you want one.
There’s something devilishly satisfying about tucking into a stack of butter-smothered, syrup-dripping flapjacks at 5 o’clock in the afternoon. You’re a grownup! You can break the rules and have breakfast whenever you want! You’re free!
Starting October 6, McDonalds will recognize your sovereignty over your food domain by serving breakfast all day at more than 14,000 franchise locations.
The company announced the change with a series of deliriously excited—and mildly incoherent—tweets.
Here is someone making it rain hash brown patties.
This is, as First We Feast pointed out, a return to the chain’s roots following awkward attempts to tiptoe towards new fare (looking at you, McPizza). McDonald’s has been testing out the concept of all-day breakfast since March in select locations in San Diego, Nashville, and Mississippi. Breakfast items account for about a quarter of the company’s total sales, and keeping them on the menu all day could boost revenue by nearly 3 percent a year, Bloomberg reported.
The existing 10:30 a.m. deadline is a plot point in the (criminally under-appreciated) 1999 Adam Sandler flick Big Daddy. Sandler plays a decidedly lazy bachelor who has to get his life together when his estranged young son shows up on his doorstep. The motley duo head to McDonald’s, clocking in just after 11. When he finds out that they’re “thirty minutes and four seconds” late for breakfast sandwiches, Sandler—unsurprisingly—loses his mind.
The unlimited breakfast is poised to be convenient for Adam Sandler as well as travelers, who might want some familiar food upon disembarking from a flight from a different time zone. It also makes sense for people whose jobs don’t adhere to the 9 to 5 schedule.
But what’s at stake in removing the time rule? The CityLab staff is divided. One of our editors celebrated more options when she “has to eat there out of desperation.” Another complained that it’s an apocalyptic sign that expectations of people have dipped way too low: “Get it together for one thing.” (Essentially: If you want to reap the tasty benefits of breakfast, you have to earn them by not sleeping in until the middle of the afternoon.) We already unfairly chide Millennials for lacking a work ethic and living in their parents’ basements. Will we also now harass them for eating McMuffins at off-hours?
Our colleagues at The Atlantic think so. Adam Chandler writes that enjoying a mid-afternoon hotcake makes us angsty, insufferable teenagers.
In demanding eternal breakfast, America is reverting to its adolescence. It wants what it wants and cares not for the rules or the structures that kept us together.
Maybe getting somewhere by a certain time is a lost art, and part of what makes someone A Grown Up.
Plus, writers over the The Verge argue that the scarcity is part of the allure. If we can have weird little sausage patties whenever we want them, will we still want them at all?
But here’s the thing: Breakfast food is delicious, especially at night. Leslie Knope gets it: