Sipping on History: Why McDonald’s Soda Fountain Phase-Out is More Than Just Fizz and Flavor

I recently came across an article on by Bill Murphy Jr. that caught my attention. It happens that I am a McDonald’s fan. I’ve been going to McDonald’s since I was quite young. The piece is titled “McDonald’s Just Made a Bittersweet Announcement, and It’s the Start of the End of an Era.” You can read it here.

Depiction of the end of an era at McDonald's

The article delves into a significant change at McDonald’s. McDonald’s is planning to implement the phasing out of self-serve fountain soda stations by 2032. While this might seem like a minor alteration, it’s actually a monumental shift that marks the end of an era.

Historical Context

This article a must-read. It connects this seemingly small change to the broader historical and cultural context. It’s not just about McDonald’s or even fast food; it’s about the evolution of American business and consumer habits. The article takes you on a journey through time. It traces the roots of self-serve soda fountains back to their invention in 1833 and their cultural significance during Prohibition and World War II.

The author, Bill Murphy Jr., also highlights how Ray Kroc, the entrepreneur who turned McDonald’s into a global brand, had his origins in the fountain soft drinks business. This change is not just a modification in service but a departure from the very roots of the McDonald’s experience.

In today’s fast-paced world, we often overlook the historical connections that shape our present. This article serves as a reminder that even the most mundane aspects of our daily lives, like grabbing a soda at McDonald’s, are tied to a rich tapestry of history and innovation.

So, if you’re interested in business, history, or just a fan of McDonald’s, this article offers a fascinating perspective that you won’t want to miss. It’s a tribute to the end of an era, but also a nod to the inevitable march of progress.

Glass Houses

The CharlesWorks Offices as seen inside the glass house. Created and illustrated by Charles Oropallo.
One of the CharlesWorks Offices as depicted by my photo illustration showing it inside the glass house. Photo by Charles Oropallo.

I find the concept of Glass Houses incredibly simple yet profound. When you think about it, the idea boils down to common sense. What amazes me is how many people overlook this straightforward principle.

My personal experiences have taught me that life is what I make of it. I firmly believe that misery is the exception, not the rule, even when it feels overwhelming. After all, life isn’t fair; it’s just life.


I never make the same mistake twice. I make it 5 or 6 times, you know, just to be sure.
One of my friends thought this was a cute gift to me, a ceramic coaster that reads, “i never make the same mistake twice. i make it 5 or 6 times, you know, just to be sure.” Photo by Charles Oropallo.

Navigating through life involves making mistakes, and I accept that. Mistakes happen along a continuum, from minor to major. The important thing is what we learn from them and how we move forward. A wise friend once told me, “Don’t let your past predict your future.” Our past actions offer snapshots into moments of our lives, but we must believe in the capacity for change, or forgiveness becomes impossible.

I know people who are so stuck in their negative mindset that they’re unreachable. They can intellectualize their non-productive state but fail to apply it practically. They’re often seen as people who can’t get out of their own way.

Self Esteem

I’ve met people who feel so bad about themselves that they step on others to lift themselves up. These back-stabbers usually don’t even realize that everyone sees them for what they are. They blame others for everything, from failing relationships to substance abuse and reckless behavior.


Misery might love company, but the truth is, miserable people don’t love anything. I believe the root of misery lies in self-centered individuals who feel entitled. They spread their misery like mud, failing to understand that no one’s life is perfect.

Perpetual Victims

I think basic victimology supports much of what I’ve said. Perpetual victims believe it’s okay to hurt others because they’ve been hurt. This flawed thinking is part of a false sense of balance. The relief they feel from causing pain is fleeting, so they continue their poor behavior, seeking a balance they’ll never achieve.

Breaking Cycles

I’ve learned that these negative thinking cycles can be broken. It’s not easy and requires a lot of work, but I firmly believe it’s possible.

Exactly how to break these cycles is another story altogether!