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FBI has charged McDonald’s Corporation with Monopoly fraud

Published: Wednesday, September 5, 2001

Updated: Wednesday, July 25, 2012 20:07

When there is a contest, people want to win. When there is a contest like the annual McDonald’s Monopoly game,with large and glamorous prizes, people want to win badly. When people want to win badly, there are two reactions people have. First, there are people who will do whatever it takes to win, regardless of the rules of the game. Then there are people who will not be able to win; they will sit back and cry about it, blaming anyone they can for their misfortune. The recent McDonald’s Monopoly scandal has been plagued by both of the latter. Eight people have been arrested for connections to a scandal involved in stealing McDonald’s winning game pieces, allowing them (and only them) to be the winners of the large prizes. So everyone else lost, and the losers are crying that McDonald’s cheated them. McDonald’s was cheated just as much as its innocent customers, and to blame it is nothing more than sour grapes.

The McDonald’s Monopoly game is supposed to award large sums of money to winners. The prizes range from free ice cream or french fries to a new car or large sums of money. McDonald’s wanted to be fair about the game, and because of that, the company was scammed. The people at McDonald’s wanted the prizes to be equally distributed across the country. They hired a company called Simon Marketing, Inc. to make sure that the contests were set up fairly. According to The Atlanta Journal and Constitution, Jerome Jacobson of Lawrenceville, Ga., worked for Simon Marketing where “among his duties was making sure game pieces were fairly distributed to various areas.”

However, after a one-year investigation, the FBI believes that Jacobson was distributing the winning pieces to himself. At this point, it is believed that he was working alone within the company, but he was certainly not alone in this scandal. Seven other individuals from states including Texas, South Carolina, Florida and Rhode Island have been arrested for their involvement in what may have been the biggest scandal ever in these kinds of contests.

The way that the prizes were rigged was simple, yet it continued to work for many years. Jacobson was allegedly stealing the winning game pieces, contacting mere acquaintances and entrusting them to get in on this scam. He would distribute the winning pieces to these people and, in return, gain a cut of each prize.

This case is not even two-sided. Blaming McDonald’s is childish and silly. A crime was committed against McDonald’s, and just because other customers feel that they had to suffer, it is McDonald’s that currently is short at least $13 million. McDonald’s did not cheat its customers purposely — how could the company possibly benefit from this scandal? It should not be believed that just because the stealing went on for six years that McDonald’s automatically knew what was going on. The large, fast-food company did not even know about the problem or the investigations until a month after the FBI had begun.

For all the sore losers out there, stop crying about how McDonald’s made it impossible to win. It is just a game, and because one person cheated, it was ruined for everyone. Sadly, sometimes that is how life is, and the best bet is to just get over it. While McDonald’s is in no way responsible, it still feels very sorry about the entire situation. Jack Greenberg, McDonald’s chairman and CEO in the United States said, “customer confidence is at the very heart of McDonald’s business. We’re determined that nothing gets between us and our customers, and we’re outraged when anyone tries to breach that trust.”

It even introduced a new game specific for the Labor Day weekend with $1 million dollar random prizes across the country, simply to prove itself and its desire to have true winners.

McDonald’s is a place where there are Happy Meals with toys, hamburgers for 29 cents on Mondays and America’s favorite fries — like it or not, this company is part of our culture. The company knows that, the customers know that and there is no way that McDonald’s would cheat its customers out of anything.

Melissa Bedsole is a senior psychology major.

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