Big Mac vs. Duchy Original

Second Update: astute commenters have pointed out that the error is largely mine, as I didn’t notice the “per 100 grams” notation on the graphic. Mea culpa.

Prince Charles was in the news yesterday after saying that banning Big Macs is the key to encouraging healthy eating. He said this while touring the Imperial College London Diabetes Centre in Abu Dhabi, where he was launching their Health Awareness Campaign.

The English newspaper The Evening Standard has a follow-up story today on their Web site spin-off, This is London, in which they claim the Cornish Pasty from the Prince’s own brand of snack, Duchy Originals, has more calories, fat, sugar, and salt than a Big Mac.

Unfotunately for The Evening Standard – and anyone foolish enough to believe them – the report (and the accompanying graphic) is totally false. (Actually, not totally; the Cornish Pasty has slightly more salt.)

All it takes is a trip over to the nutritional information page of McDonald’s Web site to see that the Big Mac numbers reported by This is London are way, way off.

Below is the graphic from This is London, modified by me to show the actual numbers from McDonalds:

corrected by blork

I could understand a small margin of error, but this is inexcusable!

Update: I should have mentioned that I cannot find reliable nutritional information on Duchy Originals. Some Web sites imply they too have higher calorie and fat counts than are indicated here, but I can’t find any concrete numbers.

Dear SAQ

My neighbourhood SAQ (liquor store, to all you non-Quebeckers) is closed for renovations. It was already a rather nice SAQ, being an SAQ Sélection (meaning it offers “an unparalleled range of wines, spirits, beers and gift items, in addition to a full range of services.” I thought the decor was just fine as it was. It had a boutique feel, and was reasonably well organized, with an information kiosk right in the middle of the store and an entire wall of upscale wines nicely presented in darkly-hued wooden display racks.

But apparently that isn’t good enough for the refined people of my neighbourhood. So to serve us better, they’re closing the store for five months in order to renovate. Five months? I’ve seen condo towers get built more quickly than that!

In the meantime, they’re “serving me better” by making me schlep a kilometre to the west, across two major boulevards and all the traffic that entails, to their temporary location. And for what? So that five months from now my neighbourhood store will have shinier floors and new shelves?

The SAQ has a near-monopoly on retail booze sales in Quebec. Its only competition comes from grocery and convenience stores, where you can buy beer and cheap wine.* All good wines and liquors must be retailed through the SAQ.

So if they have no competition, why are they spending all this time and money on renovations? It’s not like the decor will sway me towards shopping at the SAQ instead of some other liqour store. Heck, I’d go there even if it was a warehouse full of rats and splintery plywood shelves. I’d do so because I have no choice.

I will spare you the extended rant about the lack of competition. I’m accustomed to that – it’s pretty much the same all across Canada. But what really burns me is when the SAQ further insults me through frivolous spending. I wouldn’t care about that if the prices at the SAQ were low, but their prices are, on average (at least according to my shopping habits) about 15% higher than they are at the LCBO in Ontario. Don’t even ask me how much lower they are in Vermont and New Hampshire.

So in fact, the SAQ does have competition – in Ontario and the bordering U.S. states. I certainly take advantage of that whenever I’m in Ontario – the car is always significantly heavier coming back into Quebec than it was on the way out.

So how about it, SAQ? Forget the renos, forget the high-price marketing. (OK, you can keep the new magazine, because that’s actually kind of nice – although it falls about 1000 miles short of the LCBO’s magazine.) How about giving us good, clean, and unrenovated stores and using that saved money to lower the prices?

* Wine sold in depanneurs (convenience stores) and grocery stores is shipped to Quebec in bulk and is bottled locally by licensed distributors. Wine that is shipped to Quebec already in the bottle is sold at SAQ stores.

“24” Dialog We Want to Hear

– – Warning: possible spoilers below – –

Jack confronts (former) President Logan:

Logan: “I’m the meat in a Palmer sandwich.”

Jack: “The meat? You’re not even the mayo!”

Chloe gets mad at Morris (again):

Chloe: “Morris, snap out of it and focus on doing your job.”

Morris: “Sweetheart, why don’t we all just try to get along a little better?”

Chloe: “Wrong show, stupid.”

Morris: “Whoops.”

Jack confronts Dad Bauer for the last time:

Dad: “Jack, why did it have to come to this? I see now where I went wrong. I should have believed in you from the start, I should have been a better fa–”

Jack: “Damn it Dad! We don’t have time for that!”