Are Chips Really Banned at London Olympics? #OlympicChipGate
McDonald's Owns Your Chips: Welcome to London 2012
You may have thought that the photo below was a hoax: Vendors are banned from serving chips (french fries) on their own during the London Olympics. The IOC has decreed that McDonald's, the major food sponsor of the Olympic Games, has the sole right to sell chips during the Summer Games in London.
However, LOCOG (the London Olympic organizing committee) got a special dispensation: their caterers can sell chips if served with fish. See, McDonald's doesn't do fish and chips. LOCOG. The photo below spread like wildfire across Tumblr and Reddit.
Yes, it's silly. Yes, it's nonsense. Yes, it's true. Remember that the Olympics are not about sport. They're about making money for sponsors. More and more, that means forcibly squeezing out competitors. London is churning out some of the strictest sponsorship rules, far more so than Vancouver or even Beijing.
The only branded food for sale in any Olympic zone will be brought to you by Coca-Cola, McDonald's, Cadbury, and Heineken.
Here's the text from the image below:
"Due to sponsorship obligations with McDonald's, Locog have instructed the catering team they are no longer allowed to serve chips on their own anywhere within the Olympic park.
"The only loophole to this is if it is served with fish.
"Please understand this is not the decision of the staff serving up your meals, who given the choice would gladly give it to you however they are not allowed to.
"This is being escalated through to the directors of L2012C and Locog and the IOC. Please do not give the staff grief; this will only lead to us removing fish and chips completely.
"Everyone has the right to work in a non-abusive environment."
Next time your country wants you to "back the bid", keep this little story in mind. When the Olympics come to your town, the IOC takes ownership, and uses your tax money to do so.
You can see Twitter reactions to the chip fiasco below. Needless to say, this doesn't make LOCOG, the IOC, or Mickey D's look particularly good.