Like birthdays, Christmas and taxes, McDonald’s Monopoly is one of those annual traditions that is now just an accepted fact of life. Every year, fast food takes on a new and frantic appeal, as legions of hungry, desperate fans fight each other to find stellar prizes concealed inside Big Macs, milkshakes and French fries. The world thought that a box of McNuggets couldn’t get any more exciting. Throw a Mini Cooper into the mix, and it becomes abundantly clear how wrong we all were.
The rules of McDonald’s Monopoly are elegant and simple. For a limited time only, items across the restaurant’s range come complete with a removable strip, decorated with one of the colours from the Monopoly board and inscribed with a prize. Match up enough of the same strips, and customers can claim rewards of anything from a free cheeseburger to £100,000 cash. For a free game from a fast food franchise, the stakes are remarkably high.
Every year, the wealth of top drawer prizes on offer prompts some people to take drastic measures, and 2019 has been no exception. This was exemplified by the approach of 19-year-old YouTuber Saffron Barker. Inspired by the idea of claiming the UK’s top £100,000 prize for herself, decided to invest £121 of her own money in an attempt to root out some of the game’s most sought after awards. Her entire experience was documented in a YouTube video.
Despite Barker’s commitment to finding 100 grand glued to a filet-o-fish, the attempt to game the system ended in failure. Instead of landing any of the top tier prizes, which range from cars, to holidays, to games consoles, she instead had to settle for a string of less lucrative rewards. At the end of the video, all Barker was left with to show for her efforts was a new Kindle, a few carrot bags, some doughnuts and a hell of a lot of leftovers.
Despite ending up relatively empty handed at the end of a £120 fast food binge, Barker gave her audience some mixed messages about the experience. While she stressed that “We don’t recommend anyone doing this,” Barker also acknowledged that she ‘enjoyed’ the experience and that is was ‘quite fun’. She also made it clear that none of the purchased food would go to waste, revealing that, “My family are friends are buzzing off the walls because I'm going to bring them McDonald's just so I can peel off the stickers."
If Barker’s failed experiment proves anything, it’s that trying to play the odds in McDonald’s Monopoly isn’t going to get you very far. Ultimately, even if you spend your life savings on hamburgers, whether or not you win anything worthwhile is still in the lap of the gods. Like all lotteries, there is no exact science to landing what you’re after. Your only hope is to peel, pray and eat an inadvisable amount of fried foods.