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Uncle O’Grimacey and Shamrock Shakes

shamrock shake sighting

Shamrock Shake Sighting | Photo by Jennifer | ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Sometimes, one must create a diversion from the troubles of the day, and what could be a better distraction than the pursuit of a McDonald’s Shamrock Shake?

Generation X Nostalgia and The Ronald McDonald House

McDonald’s first introduced the Shamrock Shake®, a green, mint-flavored milkshake, in the 1970s. In fact, it was a promotional push to raise funds for the first Ronald McDonald House, and a portion of each shake sold still goes to the charity. There’s an historical account of the shake on McDonald’s website, which includes information about the little girl who suffered from leukemia who inspired the first Ronald McDonald House and the shake.

The Shamrock Shake even had its own green-colored Grimace-like character. His name was Uncle O’Grimacey. McDonald’s reports that his whereabouts are unknown. Clever.

Uncle O'Grimace from McDonald's

Uncle O’Grimace from McDonald’s

Today, Shamrock Shakes continues as a seasonal drink that shows up in cities across the nation during the St. Patrick’s Day season. Its popularity has soared in recent years with a cult-like following of Gen Xers who’ve demonstrated an early appetite (ha!) for nostalgia.

My sister Becky worked at McDonald’s during the 1970s and she used to buy me Shamrock Shakes. It was very cool being a 7-year-old with a teenage sister who worked at Mickey Ds. I loved her uniform!

Mint Green Glory

In 1976, Becky graduated from high school and we moved from Colorado to West Texas. The closest McDonalds was about an hour away. Shamrock Shakes eluded me for more than three decades. Then one March day a few years ago, I pulled through the drive-thru of an Oklahoma McDonald’s, and there it was in all its mint-green glory. But, lately, things have not been that shamtastic for people in Oklahoma wanting a Sharmrock Shake®.

The McDonald’s near my house has a sign advertising Shamrock Shakes, but I’ve pulled through the drive-thru four times since February 27, and every time I order one they tell me the machine is being cleaned or is broken or simply We have no Shamrock Shakes, lady. They recognize my voice. Ack! They told me again today they are waiting on a repairman.

Not shamrocky enough

There is currently a website tracking Shamrock Shake sightings. There are several entries so far for Oklahoma. Here are two of them:

“South OKC had them and I went back about a week later and they said they weren`t doing them anymore…I thought maybe it was because it wasn`t March yet but I checked today and they still don`t have them. Total bummer!”

“71st and elm in BA has them. Not shamrocky enough in my opinion.”

My Shamrock Shake Sighting

After visiting four McDonald’s, I finally had a Shamrock Shake sighting at the McDonald’s in Bricktown just north of Outdoor World. May the luck of the Irish be with you!

Gen X Blog Jennifer Chronicles

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  1. HeyRay

    Never in my life had one. Have seen the signs but didn’t realize they were so elusive. Come to think of it, I probably haven’t had ANY shake from McD’s in a decade but that’s because I live by a Bruster’s and a Steak’n’Shake and they’re just way better (and, sorry McD, they’re actually made from ice cream). But jeez, now I feel it’s my duty to get a Shamrock if I can find it, just on prinicple.

  2. Andi

    I believe I must have blocked these from my memory somehow. My family ate at McDonald’s quite frequently growing up, but I don’t believe I have ever had one of these. I never heard of them (or remember hearing of them or having one) until they were mentioned in one of the Jennifer Lancaster books I am a fan of. As I am secretly addicted to chocolate mine (I bought 10 boxes of Thin Mint cookies) I feel it is important for me to search one of these out!

  3. Anonymous

    Right on Jen!
    I think the Luck-O-the-Irish must be smile’n on ya… I visited the McDonalds at 23rd and Broadway three times — Their machine was Out-of-Order. Haven’t tried the ones in Edmond–
    Hope I have better LUCK.
    Hugs– Gracie


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