From an article by Danila Galperovich in the Soviet magazine Glasnost (April-May):

The McDonald's waiting line, like most such aggregations in the Soviet Union, was long... .

After spending 1 1/2 hours outside in the cold, the Soviet customer receives his meal in just three minutes. He has never tried American fast food before, and the prices are relatively low considering the quality offered. The average tariff for a menu item is two rubles.

Having procured a Big Mac and other good things, the Soviet patron stops rushing and walks unhurriedly, tray in hand, to the section of the restaurant that he prefers... .

Every effort is made to spare patrons any possible inconvenience, and staff members absolutely refuse to give interviews or to answer questions unrelated to serving clients. Instead, they clean up tables in a flash and even provide high chairs on rollers for toddlers. A sign on the door reads, "Diapering Room," which delights every mother who comes to McDonald's... .

Time flies. One gets up to leave and hears such extraordinary phrases as "Thank you for coming" and "Please come again." ...

And, spontaneously, several questions come to mind: Why must those who live in the capital of a great country stand in a mind-boggling, 500-meter-long line to enjoy just a few minutes of warmth, attention and good eating? Further, why can't Soviet citizens get a small dose of comfort anywhere?

Such questions are asked by every person who stands in line at McDonald's -- a restaurant which by its very existence may help us to discover the answers.