McDonald’s is a highway staple.
Whether you’re on a family road trip or a truck driver schlepping it out for a long travel haul, those golden arches are a quick, reliable beacon of sustenance. They’re a sign that food—cheap, plentiful, full-of-variety (if also full of calories, of course) food—is just a trip through the drive-thru away.
One McDonald’s was built along the A36, close to Southampton, with that very strategy in mind. They hoped to lure drivers in with their inexpensive wares, placed conveniently alongside a Texaco petrol station to make a gas-and-go stop easy and fast for travelers.
Unfortunately, they didn’t seem to be getting the customer flow that they’d hoped.
It took a hike out to the road sign along the highway to figure out what was wrong. There, the store’s higher-ups realized that a large bit of shrubbery was blocking the views of the McDonald’s sign, causing the appearance of only a Texaco at that particular turnoff.
In what they believed was a stroke of inspiration, the McDonald’s management staff decided to bring some high-power gardening equipment down to the roadside and cut the bush down. That, they reasoned, would clear things right up; the sign would be visible, and customers would start pouring in as intended.
What they failed to consider, though, was whether or not that bush was on someone else’s property.
Their initial problem-solving endeavor actually resulted in the McDonald’s management cutting down a bush on the property of a local farmer, who wasn’t all too pleased with their decision to alter his foliage without so much as a courtesy ask.
As revenge, he decided to teach them a little lesson – and it’s one of the most creative solutions out there:
— Nick King (@Nickking) September 2, 2016
Huffington Post UK blogger Nick King tweeted a before and after picture of the sign, first once McDonald’s had cut down the offending shrub and then boasting the farmer’s creative solution to having his property altered without his permission. His solution was simple, yet brilliant—he simply brought bales of hay to the site of the former bush, stacking them up until they covered the McDonald’s arches once again.
The farmer has garnered plenty of support on social media, where his new feud with the world’s second-largest fast food chain has gone viral almost immediately. His assertion—that McDonald’s just had to ring him up and ask before they altered his property—seems perfectly valid to readers across the globe, who fully support him sticking it to the man.
McDonald’s isn’t the only business being affected by the bales of hay, as a Co-Operative store also advertised on the giant sign is being blocked as well. While there’s plenty of frustration on both sides of the aisle, though, the feud is likely just beginning—as of late September 2017, Highways England is staying out of the altercation altogether. The government organization insists that since the sign in question isn’t one put up by Highways England itself, they can’t get involved to settle the dispute—leaving McDonald’s and the disgruntled farmer, who has yet to be publicly identified, to hash things out between themselves one-on-one.
It’s always possible that McDonald’s could try to bring the situation to arbitration or civil court over lost sales, while the farmer could theoretically bring up a counter-complaint over destruction of his property—because yes, McDonald’s did totally remove a plant from his property without his consent.
That sounds almost hilariously unimaginable—although the way the story has been playing out so far, anything is possible.