McChicken or Cheeseburger?

Jun 05 2010

I didn’t bring lunch to work yesterday. Since I’m running short, I decided I’ll go with McDonald, because it’s 1 of the cheap options I have (the other option is not to eat at all). I bought a McChicken and a cheeseburger. Then I started to think which one I should eat first.

It turns out that this is a very interesting problem to think about.

Assuming the McChicken is better than the cheeseburger (1.5 EUR to 1 EUR). If you’re “enjoy first, suffer later” kind, you eat the McChicken first. If you’re the “suffer then enjoy” kind, it’s the other way round. Simple.

But if we look at it in another way. We know that your appetite is dependent on your hungry level. The more hungry the more appetite you have. So if I eat the cheeseburger first, I’ll feel half-full after eating, and that makes the McChicken less delicious. But if I eat the McChicken first, the burger will taste even worse. Which one should I eat first?

Then I recalled a TED talk I watched the other day, the speaker talks about experiencing memory and remembering memory. The idea is when recalling an experience, the last event plays a very important role in your impression (ending of a movie, last performance of a show, etc).
Which mean if I eat the McChicken later, I’ll probably have a better impression on the meal since my mouth will have better aftertaste. Which one should I eat first?

When I told my friends, they just said “huy, so complicated. just eat it.”

I ate the McChicken first in the end.

5 responses so far

  1. Usually when I have a problem choosing either/or, I sometimes ask myself, why not both?

    For maximum experience, eat the buns of the McChicken first, and then combine its contents into the Cheeseburger to create a MegaBurger.

    Or if your mouth is big enough, merge both burgers into one. I sometimes add a layer of french fries above the patty to make an even larger sandwich.

    At KFC, I would also add the cheesy fries, mashed potato and coleslaw to the zinger. Be creative!

  2. Theres a Buddhist story of this… Two ministers in the old days were discussing policy matters. One was an extremely junior minister and the other a senior one. So they suck on sugar cane while they spoke. A sugar cane’s rear end is usually sweeter than the top end. So the custom is to chew slowly from the top end to the rear end.

    The junior minister, after the sugar canes were served, started immediately from the bottom end. The senior minister was surprised and asked why he did so. The younger man replied “Because life is too short.”

    Well, the morale of the story is basically that life is short and one should practice hard to reach nirvana as there is little time – one could die at any moment with little to no reason and thus should “race for time”.

  3. @Munir I actually never thought of merging both burgers before.

    And thet, really, how does that nirvana “life is short” related to my “flavor optimization” story?

  4. Well, I think you should figure out your utility function first and then find the way to maximize it. Remember your hungry level is arguably the most important variable in the function. Anyway, I have thought quite often about this recently and it’s funny that you think about it too. Great minds think alike, that’s what they often say. Haha.

  5. Agree with your friends! So complicated, just eat it :D

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