It's Kind Of Pointless To Order A Medium Fries At McDonald's. Here's Why

Correction 1/29/23: This article has been updated to show that the cost of a large fry at McDonald's is approximately 1.26 cents per gram, not $1.26 dollars.

When you order at McDonald's, or at any fast-food place in general, you'll almost always get asked the same question no matter what it is you order: "What size would you like that?" Usually, this question is reserved for items like fries or drinks, such as ordering a small soda or a large fry. If you're not too hungry, you get a small order of fries. If you're pretty hungry or you have someone riding shotgun, you order a large fry. Heck, there was even a time way back when you could go so far as to "supersize" your fries if you had more than one person to feed or you just really wanted to test the limits on how many fries you could eat (via NBC News). 

It would stand to reason, then, that you order a medium fry when you're hungry, but not too hungry, right? It may not be as much as getting a large fry or the legendary "supersize" option, but it's still more than a small order. It's kind of like a "happy medium" between a large and small order. Of course, how many fries you may get in your order may differ from store to store, as LeicestershireLive explains that, in some cases, you're either paying more money for fewer fries or less money for more fries depending on who's filling your fry container.

But what if it turned out that the act of ordering medium fries turns out to be an exercise in futility?

Medium fries may be a waste of money

How exactly can medium fries be a scam? You're definitely getting fries that are bigger than an order of small fries, right? According to some, it's not that there's anything wrong with medium fries in the sense of size or taste, but how much money you're paying to get them

In 2020, YouTube's "The Food Theorists" conducted an experiment to see which fast-food chain would give you the most amount of money for your fries. After measuring fry orders from McDonald's, Chick-fil-A, Arby's, and Wendy's on a scale, the results showed that the cheapest order was a large order of fries from McDonald's at 1.26 cents per gram. But what does this have to do with ordering medium-sized fries? The medium fries simply aren't as "cost-effective" as ordering a large fry — if these large fries are supposedly the cheapest option out of all other fast-food fries, you wouldn't be losing too much money upgrading from a medium to a large fry in the long run.

Even a small order of fries was considered to be a better option than the medium order, as the little paper bag they are served in is more "flexible" than the standard cardboard fry container and can theoretically hold more fries when filled. In short, medium fries aren't bad taste-wise, but you may unknowingly be cheating yourself by not getting a better value.

McDonald's Value Meals have also been called into question

While some may argue that an order of medium fries is pointless, considering that a large fry may only be a few cents extra anyway, one can not deny that McDonald's isn't exactly too expensive a place to eat either way. If you were to order medium fries anyway, you wouldn't have lost too much money to be overly concerned. But others believe that the cheap prices of other McDonald's products, such as the chain's value meals, may not be as cheap as the chain would like you to think.

Take, for example, the case of James Gertie in 2016. As WKBW News explains, Gertie launched a lawsuit against McDonald's for what he believed to be "fraud and deceptive practices" regarding its value meal. Gertie discovered that, although the meal (two cheeseburgers, medium fries, and a soft drink) cost $5.90 when bundled together, the total cost of all these items purchased separately actually costs 41 cents less than bundled together. Although this may sound like a frivolous thing to be concerned about, Gertie made clear that he was not interested in pinching pennies but was more upset about "the principle of the matter" (via USA Today).

Although some may view this as another example of a corporation secretly fleecing a customer, others may argue that such a cost is still pretty low compared to other restaurants and that a few cents extra may not be anything to be concerned over.