McDonald's has shut down operations in Russia in response to the invasion of Ukraine, and some Russian citizens have been going to extremes to get one last Big Mac.
People flocked to the chain's Moscow locations in the hours before they closed, forming long lines that snaked around blocks in the cold. The drive-thrus also had seemingly endless lines of cars, full of people waiting to order what could be their last "McMeal" for a while. One man even went so far as to chain himself to the doors of one McDonald's location to prevent it from being closed.
A long line of cars was seen at a McDonald’s drive-thru in Moscow on Sunday, with locals hoping to get one more meal before the fast food chain's temporary shutdown in Russia. pic.twitter.com/WiBwDYnbpt— CBS News (@CBSNews) March 14, 2022
Some enterprising McDonald's fans are also trying to take advantage of the situation. McDonald's food and even packaging have appeared on an online Russian classified ads site at exorbitant prices. Recent listings — not completed sales, mind you — have included a Big Mac for around $36, McDonald's sugar packets for around $18, a small container of burger sauce for around $90, and branded paper bags for as much as $450.
One meal, consisting of two burgers, two drinks and a cherry pie was listed, with the seller asking for 7,500 Russian rubles — about $71 CAD. https://t.co/oaqPadgnbL— Yahoo Canada News (@YahooCanadaNews) March 10, 2022
When the first McDonald's opened in Moscow in January 1990, just before the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991, the event was seen as a milestone in Russia-U.S. relations. Russians lined up then, too, even though a single Big Mac cost the equivalent of a monthly bus pass in Moscow.
McDonald's is one of many big-name international corporations that have decided to shutter operations in Russia, including Starbucks, Coca-Cola, Ikea, and Victoria's Secret. In response, Russian President Vladimir Putin has endorsed a legislative plan to nationalize foreign-owned businesses that are pulling out of Russia, but even if that happens, it's going to be a long time before his citizens can get their hands on some McNuggets.