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Unformatted text preview: nother. McDonald’s was packed, overflowing not just with children and their parents, but with teenagers,
seniors, young couples, a cross-section of the town. The restaurant was brightly lit and spotlessly clean. Cheerful middle-aged women took
orders behind the counter, worked in the kitchen, delivered food to tables, scrubbed the windows. Most of them had worked at this McDonald’s for years. Some had been there since the day it opened. Across the street stood an abandoned building once occupied by a branch of
the East German army; a few blocks away the houses were dilapidated and covered in graffiti, looking as though the Wall had never fallen.
That day McDonald’s was the nicest, cleanest, brightest place in all of Plauen. Children played with the Hot Wheels and Bar-bi that came
with their Happy Meals, and smiling workers poured free refills of coffee. Outside the window, three bright red flags bearing the golden
arches fluttered in the wind.
Life after Communism has not been easy in Plauen. At first there was an outpouring of great optimism and excitement. As in other East
German towns, people quickly used their new liberty to...
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- Spring '08