Getting it on at Maccas


Buy Em By The Bag. We dare you.

As you probably know, the good citizens of Guildford are rejoicing over having fought off plans for a 24-hour Maccas to be built at the back of the Guildford Hotel. Even the local MLA, Michelle Roberts, is against any new fast food outlets in the town.

One of the reasons given for opposing the chain was that it was too close to a primary school. In other words, “Won’t somebody think of the children?” But this is far from a novel complaint about hamburger bars.

Although the media had regularly written accounts of how exciting Americans found them, the first burger bars seem to have arrived in WA only during World War II. And, just like the proposed Maccas, these were all-night joints. Which some sections of society found problematic.

In 1943, the head of the Salvation Army demanded that Perth should ensure all burger bars were closed at midnight, or society would be destroyed. How? you might ask. Well, they are “places of temptation”. And not just a temptation to supersize your order, oh no, temptation between the sexes.

You see, burger bars had become pick-up joints. (For young people: a pick-up joint is like Tinder, but without the need to register your email address.) “Perth has held such a fine place in moral standards that it ought to be the vital concern of every citizen to keep it in that position,” thundered the Salvation Army’s commissioner.

And he was not alone. The Women’s Service Guild wanted early closing on hamburgers, as did the Children’s Court magistrate and the Child Welfare Secretary.

Won’t somebody think of the children?

We suspect that the problem with burger bars was they were simply too American for the taste of Perth’s leading citizens. What was more likely to corrupt young minds than being exposed to Yankee food?

Anyway, Guildford has managed to protect young people (at least for the moment) from both the pleasures of a thick shake and the pleasures of the flesh. So we salute them.

Value for money? In Perth?

must-wine-barSo, you think Perth is an expensive place to eat out? That’s because it is.

But this is nothing new. As increasing numbers of American sailors arrived in Perth during WWII, dining establishments realised they could hike up their prices and the visitors would have no choice but to pay up.

This blatant profiteering was everywhere condemned, but it didn’t stop the cafes and restaurants ripping off their customers. (Does this sound at all familiar?)

One local, Gavin Casey, complained that he was charged threepence for a solitary, small tomato on his plate. And at the same food stall, two shillings for the contents of a five-penny tin of spaghetti, a penny roll, a little butter, and a very small cup of coffee.

Gavin was outraged to have to pay two shillings for a hamburger and coffee, sixpence for another small cup of coffee, and a further sixpence for a small cup of milk.

Who can believe that it cost three shillings for a piece of steak? Especially when Gavin had to grill it himself over an open fire, although the establishment did supply a single piece of bread and butter to accompany the meat.

Dodgy Perth is not entirely sure that Mr Casey frequented the highest-class restaurants. Even at those prices.

In 1942, some restaurants were even getting so greedy as to demand a three shilling ‘cover charge’ from each diner, without bothering to provide entertainment or anything else to justify the money.

You can’t imagine feeling that ripped off in modern Perth can you? Oh, you can.