Police officers around the world have been “lovin’ it” at McDonald’s for some time thanks to cut-rate prices on burgers and fries, but that tradition is coming to an end in Geneva. Members of the force in the Swiss city learned this week that they could no longer claim a 50 percent discount on Big Macs and other items from the fast-food restaurant chain.
Such perks have been standard in many McDonald’s outlets, particularly those in the U.S., where a police presence is seen as a welcome boost to safety. But Geneva Police Chief Monica Bonfanti warned her officers in an email that this practice would no longer be tolerated.
Bonfanti was put on the defensive after embarrassing revelations by the Tribune de Genève newspaper that officers were routinely lining up for their half-price meals under the Golden Arches. “This bad publicity casts a negative image on our organization in terms of integrity,” the chief said in her email sent to all members of the police force.
She reminded officers that it was illegal under the criminal code for a police officer to receive such “advantages”. If such cases continued they would be “severely sanctioned,” Bonfanti warned.
Geneva police have reportedly benefited from cut-rate prices at McDonald’s since the chain opened its first restaurant in the city in the 1980s. While ignorance of the law is usually no defence, many officers said they were unaware that accepting the perk was illegal.
Since the media fuss was raised, McDonald’s has decided to discontinue the practice of treating Geneva police.
Geneva is reportedly the only canton in Switzerland where such activity occurred among the chain’s more than 150 restaurants in the country. In the past, McDonald’s, which both owns and franchises restaurants, has said that discounts offered to police are determined by each owner and operator.
In some cases, the perks to police extended to cut-price merchandise. A few years ago in the state of Victoria, Australia, men and women in blue were receiving 20 percent discounts on Nike sportswear, a practice that was later discontinued.