What would seemingly be an issue of capitalism and supply and demand in any other city, or any other neighborhood in San Francisco, has instead morphed into another battle between merchants and the homeless in the Haight-Ashbury neighborhood:
The McDonald’s at the corner of Haight and Stanyan streets eliminated its Dollar Menu about a month ago, making the items on it too expensive for the people who spend the better part of their day on the sidewalk in front.
Street people who for years have depended on the McDonald’s to eat say it’s become a de facto sit/lie ordinance. But the franchise owner says she’s just trying to make a little extra money.
It’s a fight over 50 cents, plus tax.
You used to be able to get a 390-calorie McDouble for 99 cents, said Nicholas Newhart, a 29-year-old with a Confederate flag tattooed on the back of his head. Without the Dollar Menu it now costs $1.49.
While that price increase may seem trivial, for Newhart and his colleagues it can mean the difference between eating and going hungry. Many homeless think taking away the Dollar Menu is the restaurant management’s ploy to get them to go somewhere else.