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Quinntessential: Fast food is no longer cheap, might not be worth it

Nothing defines a college student more than their craving for fast food, and I indulge in a plethora of fast-food eateries in the vicinity of Ohio University. One place I have a particular fondness for is Wendy’s. While it is not looked upon as fondly as McDonald’s, Wendy’s has been a favorite of mine ever since I was a little boy. I remember my mother taking me and my sister to Wendy’s many times, and every single time we went my order remained the same.

My order went as so: a 4 for $4 with a double stack, medium french fries, spicy nuggets with honey mustard and a medium Dr. Pepper with no ice. While that meal might seem rather generic, it has been a staple in my life when it comes to fast food. I loved that meal like a father loves his son — it has been there for me during my highest highs and my lowest lows. 

I use the past tense of love with a somber heart, for the meal is no longer the innocent, cheap meal that it was in my youth. The hike in that meal's price has soured my opinion of Wendy’s and fast food as a whole.

Inflation has hit Wendy’s like a stack of bricks. It started subtly around three years ago when Wendy’s took the double stack away from the 4 for $4 deal and transferred it into the $5 biggie bag. While I was a little taken aback, I eventually got used to the price tag. But then Wendy’s increased its price once more and that’s when it crossed a line.

Now the cost of a hankering for my classic order costs an egregious $6 for the same amount of food as a couple of years ago. For some that may not seem like a crazy change, but for a college student who looks to save money in any possible way, it’s detrimental.

Let’s be honest with ourselves: if fast food costs the same amount as a sit-down restaurant, many would choose the latter. Fast food was always viewed as the cheap and quicker alternative to a sit-down restaurant, but due to rising costs from every fast-food establishment, fast food is losing one of its main attractions.

Long gone are the days of hot commodities such as the $1 menu from McDonald’s. Remember how I said McDonald’s is looked upon in a fonder light than Wendy’s? That was why. The fact that someone could walk into McDonald’s with a single dollar bill in their hand and walk away from that establishment with a McChicken seems absurd in today’s day and age. Not to mention if you had an extra 19 cents on you, you could instead purchase an entire Double Cheeseburger. Now they have changed the idea altogether with a pricier menu.

McDonald’s and Wendy’s aren’t the only establishments being affected by this crisis. Remember the $5 Footlong at Subway? It’s long gone. Mentioning Chipotle seems redundant at this point, since everyone and their mother knows of the bumped-up prices, but alas, their prices have been raised too.

I have a strange hunch that we will never see the old prices again. Despite our sad reality, though, there may be some good behind that. With fast food becoming more expensive, it may encourage people to spend their money on food that is healthier and cheaper. While that idea may seem far-fetched, I’m an optimistic guy, and I like the idea of my silly opinion columns sparking mass change in the community.

Quinn Elfers is a freshman studying journalism at Ohio University. Please note that the views and opinions of the columnists do not reflect those of The Post. Want to share your thoughts about the column? Let Quinn know by emailing him at

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