Opinion Brief

The 2010 Shamrock Shake crisis

Consumers are bemoaning the "revamped" taste of McDonald's seasonal beverage — if, that is, they can even manage to find one

It's St Patrick's Day, and that means one thing to many Americans. No, not public drunkenness but a chance to indulge in a Shamrock Shake, the minty McDonald's beverage that, with calculated enigma, appears just once a year. (Watch McDonald's iconic 1983 Shamrock Shake ad.) This year, however, angry Americans are being denied that chance, thanks to a shortage of participating McDonald's outlets, not to mention reports of a dramatic decline in the quality of the seasonal shake.

McDonalds has apparently revamped the drink to appeal to customers, but pundits are not impressed with what's being called an inadequately minty, overly vanilla effort, compromised by a gratuitous cherry. "Disappointment ensued after one sip," says Kyra Kyles, a reviewer at the Chicago Tribune. "I felt sham-boozled." This is going to "ruin" St Patrick's Day, agrees blogger Marcus LeShock at Chicago Now. "The new Shamrock Shake reeks of corporate meddling."

If you want to decide for yourself, you can consult a grassroots website that's been set up to document where Shamrock Shakes are and aren't available, with real time updates from shake-hunters ("After calling several locations in Sacramento," one poster writes, "I was told one of the Florin Road locations has them....") And if you can't get your hands on an official shake, The Takeaway's John Hockenberry and Celeste Headlee have a recipe so you can make your own.

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