Tag Archives: communication

Words means things…

Yes, shocker, I know. Words actually mean things. You look at that statement and say, “that’s obvious” but I’m not so sure that everyone really truly understands. Rant incoming. You were warned.

So, yesterday, Saturday April 6th, I’m out near lunch time and find myself a little hungry but really more thirsty than anything and in particular I’m looking for something fruity. Since I live in a little New England town, and people here haven’t gotten the memo about how delicious and good for you fruit smoothies are, we have nearly ZERO options. But then I remember that McDonald’s now has fruit smoothies and I think, “why not?” So off I go.


I show up to our local franchise and order up a little lunch which includes a LARGE strawberry-banana smoothie. You know where this is going don’t you? Well here’s what I got for my “LARGE” drink. Yes it’s strawberry-banana, yes it’s delicious but NO, IT IS NOT LARGE, and the cup it’s served in isn’t even filled! If I’m paying a premium price for this drink, which I did (the smoothie cost more than my meal), shouldn’t I at very least get what I expect and what is promised? If you’re going to cut corners, skimp and deliver partial portions because 22 ounces is NOT LARGE, can you deliver it in a cup that’s full?


So I ask “…how big is a “large” at McDonald’s really supposed to be?”

“Well that depends.”

Wait what?


Yes that depends on what beverage it is. For fountain drinks, a large is 32 ounces.  For coffee a large is 16 ounces.  For juices and McCafe items  including milkshakes(don’t even get me started on McDonald’s milkshakes), a large is 22 ounces.

Does this strike anyone else as utter hogwash?

Look I understand that different vendors might have different versions of what the word large means and I understand that sometimes different people have different versions of what large means but the same people running the same fast food franchise?


So as I’m driving home enjoying my fries and very delicious smoothie, I fight through my buyer’s remorse and conclude that the problem here is expectations and communication of those expectations.  And the root of the problem is that McDonald’s has forgotten…


My expectation of large is, well large.  If a beverage serving size, no matter what kind of beverage, isn’t 32 ounces or larger, it’s just not large in my never to be humble opinion.  That’s my expectation and it clearly wasn’t met.  McDonald’s is communicating several expectations for it’s customers.  First that what’s in the cup determines what “large” means and secondly that using the same word for different portion sizes is acceptable.

This is a total FAILURE in communication.

By changing the meaning of the word “large” McDonald’s has, in effect, made expectations harder to manage leading to a very dis-satisfied consumer.  I want my large back and I want us all to speak the same language so we don’t confuse each other.  Isn’t the consumer market challenging enough without trying to change words around in order to justify offering less value (serving size in this case) for more money?

The take away message:  The advertised a “Large” beverage and they delivered something less.  

What do you think about my version of large?  Am I making too much of this or are we being shorted by retailers in this way all the time?  Leave your feedback here or drop me an email at [email protected] this blog’s url and let me know.  Finally (and most importantly) sign up for my mailing list to keep in contact with me and the projects I’m pursuing.  I promise no spam, just periodic updates on the projects I’m working on and topics related to them.