Biden admin tackles tough problem of McDonald's ice cream machine repairs

The Biden administration is set to crack down on why McDonald's ice cream machines are always broken.


The Biden administration has decided to focus its attention on addressing one of the biggest problems facing our country: broken McDonald’s ice cream machines.

For both loyal McDonald's customers and social media users, it's no secret that encountering an "out of order" ice cream machine has become a running joke and meme. It is not uncommon for customers to wait in the McDonald’s drive-thru for an ice cream cone, only to find that the location’s machine is broken.

This frustration stems largely from the fact that McDonald's employs ice cream machines from a specific manufacturer that requires only their technicians to have authorization to perform repairs. Consequently, when a machine breaks down, locations are left grappling with long wait times as they are forced to be added to a lengthy repair queue.

The Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) have taken notice of this issue, recently penning a joint letter to the U.S. Copyright Office. In the letter, they advocate for commercial soft-serve machines to be exempt from existing right-to-repair laws that have allowed this process to remain in place. 

The DOJ and FTC argue that granting these exemptions would foster competition in markets for replacement parts, repair, and maintenance services, ultimately benefiting consumers and businesses alike.

“In the Agencies’ view, renewing and expanding repair-related exemptions would promote competition in markets for replacement parts, repair, and maintenance services,” the joint letter stated.

“The soft serve equipment breakdown can lead to $625 per day loss of sales … there are long wait times for authorizer repairs, and … a licensed repair technician charges over $300 per 15 minutes.”

While these copyright restrictions were originally implemented to safeguard intellectual property, the DOJ and FTC contend that they inadvertently stifle competition in the market, ultimately hindering consumer choice and driving up costs.

As the Biden administration focuses on issues like ice cream machines, many critics have wondered why attention isn’t on more pressing concerns, such as immigration issues, national security, and economic recovery.

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