A burger and fries bought in 2009 just before McDonalds closed all of their restaurants in Iceland are on display, and they STILL look good enough to eat!
How bad did the 2008 World Financial Crisis affect Iceland? Well for starters, every single McDonalds restaurant in the Nordic island nation dimmed its golden arches, locked all the doors and high-tailed it outta there… the horror! Though Iceland’s economy finally entered recovery mode in 2012, Mickey D’s hasn’t yet attempted a return. Luckily, one thoughtful Icelander did his bit to preserve the memory of McDonalds by preserving one of the last orders served.
Reykjavik resident Hjortur Smarason, like most of his countrymen, had heard of McDonald’s plan to beat a hasty retreat on October 31st of 2009… that’s right, Halloween. Smarason may or may not have been a regular customer but hey – it was now or never, amiright? “Now” in this case meant October 30th, the day before the, er, McOpalypse.
Maybe he wasn’t hungry or perhaps Smarason considered the stark finality of his purchase and lost his appetite – in any case, he decided not to eat his unhappy meal and instead bagged it in plastic. Having no set place to store the cheeseburger & fries (like who does?), Smarason simply left the food on a shelf in his garage where it sat… and sat some more… and continued to sit for the next three years.
Smarason wasn’t all that shocked by his meal’s steadfast refusal to decompose. Having heard rumors of McDonalds’ food’s unusual and unsettling resistance to natural decay, he felt in some way he was performing an experiment of sorts. Mind you, an Icelandic garage is probably one of the best places for food storage – three years in Orlando would doubtless see a disgustingly different result.
In any case, Smarason’s meal had remained virtually in stasis by 2012 and (likely urged by his wife) he decided to donate The Last Cheeseburger (and fries) Sold in Iceland to the National Museum of Iceland. After a year, however, the Museum asked Smarason to take back his burger & fries as they were concerned about potential insect and/or bacterial contamination from the meal spreading to some of its more fragile exhibits. “Potential”, that is – the burger and fries was still mysteriously fresh-looking. Since the shelf in his garage was no longer an option, Smarason thought his friends at the Bus Hostel Reykjavik might want to display it to the public and possibly get a little free publicity out of it. They did, and now they have!
Now the fresh-looking but apparently frozen in time McDonalds meal sits comfortably under a large glass cake cover, proudly labeled with the prominent date “2009” so that peckish hostel guests won’t accidentally make like the Hamburglar. So, how’s the “last food” doing after nearly (at press time) 2,000 days post-purchase? See for yourself – not by booking a trip to Iceland but by checking out the dedicated live “burger-cam” aimed squarely at the meal by Bus Hostel Reykjavik staff. How does one say “i’m lovin’ it” in Icelandic? (all images via © Anthony Stanley/WENN.com)