Marsh, the chairman of Leo Burnett Australia, tells the story in Observations of a Very Short Man, the newly published follow-up to his bestseller, Fat, 40 and Fired.
The scene starts with a bored Marsh, who is working the till at a Sydney drive-through, asking a mother what colour Happy Meal plastic toy her kids would like. "Two pink and two blue, please. What are they today?" she responds. "IPods," Marsh lies.
"Kids! It's iPods today. IPODS!" the excited mother yells. "I know I said we couldn't afford one. Well, now you're each going to have one all of your own. Say thank you to the nice man."
Unable to think of a clever way out of this self-created catastrophe, a shamefaced Marsh hands over the four iPod-less Happy Meals.
To the mum who has undoubtedly had her faith in human nature shattered forever, McJob Marsh says sorry. It always seems to be the hardest word, Nigel.