Over Packaging at La Madeleine

Overpackaging at La Madeleine
Large packages with coffee cup
for size reference

Tiny sandwich, huge box

I don’t typically go to La Madeleine. In fact, I have been to the location in Bethesda probably five times, each time stepping inside, getting the sense that my type didn’t belong there, and then leaving. I could never put my finger on what it was, but I never felt like I was welcome there. Too many stuffed shirts, maybe? Delicious-looking fancy desserts? An air of wealth and contempt? Sure, all these are reasons to stay away from such a place but having actually been a customer, I now have a new reason on top of these.

Normally I am not one to be so intimidated so I decided today that I would stick it out and get a bite for breakfast. $8.38 later and I had a croissant with egg and cheese and a cup of coffee. Apparently they only have one size cup. It was giant – about 20 ounces.

The nice young lady who took my order handed me a bag that looked like it could have been filled with a week’s worth of groceries. I looked inside and found a large plastic container that looked like it might hold enough food to gorge myself on until I purged. I opened the plastic box and found that only about a quarter of the space contained actual food.

A comment on the food – it was good but not $8 worth of good. It was more of a $4 meal. The sandwich was tasty and had sliced tomatoes, which were nice although I had not requested them. Overall, the food met my expectations for a breakfast on the way to work.

In the end, I am still pretty sure that my type doesn’t belong at La Madeleine. Not because of the obvious difference in wealth and self-perceived importance but because of the obvious difference in beliefs about conservation and being a good environmental steward. La Madeleine is a hotbed of waste and over packaging. Thanks, but I will not be back. Not even for an overpriced tasty pastry.

5 Comments so far

  1. Ex-Hy Hy (unregistered) on June 18th, 2007 @ 10:35 am

    I often eat lunch at a nice burrito place in Dupont, but the bags they give you for carryout are ridiculously thick – at least 3 mil. I always ask them not to give me one, which seems to be a tall order sometimes. But every place is guilty – plastic flatware, fifty napkins, all of that paper – not necessary. Such waste.

  2. Don (unregistered) on June 18th, 2007 @ 11:02 am

    The best thing La Madeleine has to offer is their tomato basil soup. It’s probably about 2000 calories in a bowl, given that it contains tomato sauce, tomato juice, heavy cream & butter (they published the recipe on a shareholder’s report years ago), but it’s well worth it.

  3. Chris L (unregistered) on June 18th, 2007 @ 11:04 am

    I hit up La Madeleine in Georgetown sometime. They incredibly tasty paistries (cheesy spinach pie….mmmmmm), but incredibly incompetant service, so its sort of a wash.

  4. Amy (unregistered) on June 19th, 2007 @ 2:05 pm

    La Madeleine’s tomato-basil soup is the thing, with the strawberries-in-brandy-cream-sauce dessert. A-ma-zing. Glad to see attention brought to overpackaging, since it is a problem across the board at area restaurants.

  5. Mary (unregistered) on June 19th, 2007 @ 4:41 pm

    La Madeleine’s is an air of wealth and contempt? Maybe you are just in the wrong neighborhood. Try the one in Bailey’s Crosscroads to feel at home. And when you’re there- try the french onion soup, anything that will be served with their home-made chips- and when you feel like splurge on a nepolenoan- with or without the strawberries.

    But I have to agree with you on the packaging. Next time- tell them to same the bag.

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