A McDonald’s is not a senior center. It’s a business.
And while its parent corporation is a global giant, an individual McDonald’s franchise is a small business. Like the one at Northern and Parsons boulevards in Flushing, where some area seniors have been driving the owner nuts by sitting there all day without ordering much. Often he has had to call the police to try to get them to leave. They threatened a boycott in response.
It’s a shame it came to that. Seniors should be respected, as the supporters of the elderly Korean Americans occupying the McDonald’s insist, but that doesn’t mean they should get free rein to do as they please all the time. Everyone else has the right to go to the McDonald’s too, and to sit down to eat a meal. If they can’t do that, they’ll go to another fast-food establishment and put the owner out of business. And all he’s guilty of is trying to operate a successful enterprise that contributes to the economy and creates entry-level jobs for many people.
Enter state Assemblyman Ron Kim, of Korean descent, who brokered a peace between the owner and the elders. They can still sit there most of the day, but not during the eatery’s busiest time, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. In return, Kim said, the owner will not call the cops on them. While it’s hard to see how he can promise that — everyone has the right to call the police when needed — Kim’s “McPeace Accord” sounds like a fair deal. He and others will also make it easier for the elders to get to area senior centers.
Small business owners face enough as it is in competition, regulations, taxes and dealing with the public. While it’s great these seniors are socializing, rather than staying home alone as too many do, they should understand that there’s a right time and place for that — and it’s not all day every day at one cramped fast-food outlet.