A McDonald's Is Getting Slammed For Its $18 Big Mac Meal

The Big Mac is going viral, and this time, it's not because of how delicious it is. Instead, it's about its price. One of the things that McDonald's –– and fast food, in general –– is known for is its convenience and low prices. But, one photo that's making the rounds on the internet has proven that we've strayed pretty far from the dollar menu.

On July 18th, one Twitter user tweeted a photo of a menu at a rest stop at McDonald's in Connecticut. The image shows a jarring price for a classic McDonald's combo meal. A Big Mac with fries and a drink comes to $17.59. We all know that prices of pretty much everything are up these days, and food is, unfortunately, far from an exception. Yet, a meal that was previously known for being one of the cheapest and easiest options out there approaching a $20 price tag has the internet shocked, and for very good reason. 

The Twitter user wrote, "This was at a rest stop, but these McDonald's prices are nuts right???" and showed not only the exorbitant price of the Big Mac combo meal but also the rest of the extremely expensive menu items. Based on the photo, a Quarter Pounder with cheese combo meal is listed at $17.99, and adding bacon will get you up to $18.99. Pulling up a map of McDonald's prices, the Twitter user believes it could possibly be one of the most expensive McDonald's, but why?

Why are McDonald's prices so high now?

While your local McDonald's may not be the most expensive, that doesn't mean that it's cheap. Per The Economist, since 1996, prices for the Big Mac have risen 125%. So, regardless of where you go to get your Big Mac, it's going to set you back more than it would have in the past. In fact, the average cost is 6% higher than just two years ago. But, why are the prices so different between locations? 

Well, according to CBS News, the discrepancy in price is all about the chain's business model. Around 90% of McDonald's restaurants are franchises, and the individual owners choose their own prices. Consequently, they'll charge as much as customers are willing to pay, and it's easy to see why that number might be higher for folks who are just passing through and grabbing some fast food at a rest stop.

It's worth noting, though, that the minimum wage in Connecticut is $15, which makes a nearly $18 Big Mac all the more alarming. Unfortunately, this problem isn't likely going anywhere. So, rather than waiting around for Big Mac prices to drop to what they used to be, your best bet is to head to Mississippi. They boast the least expensive Big Mac at just $3.91. Depending on where you're located, a trip like that may not qualify the meal as "fast food" anymore, but hey –– at least it's not $20.