Suing the Happy out of the Meal

Apparently, I should sue McDonald’s.  Why, you might ask?

It’s because, on occasion, I buy my kids Happy Meals.  You know, those combinations of fast food and a fun child’s toy, all bundled within a cute little cardboard box.

My favorite Happy Meal toys.

Ahh, but those toys are evil.  They’re the little devils on the shoulders of our children tempting them to buy chicken nuggets, burgers, and fries as fast as their pudgy little mouths can chew ’em up.

Or at least that’s the basis of class-action lawsuit, as reported by NBC Nightly News.

In the introduction of the video clip, NBC anchor Brian Williams said the following:

…if you put a toy in the bag, kids are gonna want it.  And the parents who don’t want their kids to eat the food that comes with the toy are speaking up about it.

Here’s a thought.  If you don’t want your kids to eat the food in a Happy Meal, don’t buy the Happy Meal.  Better yet, don’t go to McDonald’s. Problem solved.

Have the parents in this lawsuit forgotten that most powerful of words?  It starts with an “N” and ends with an “O.”  I’m sure you can guess what I’m getting at.  Ask my two boys.  I probably use that word fifty times a day.

Lee Cowan, the reporter in NBC’s video, described the lawsuit as follows:

… a class-action lawsuit against McDonald’s, claiming the hamburger chain features toys to bait children, which it claims is inherently deceptive and unfair.

Guess what.  Life isn’t always fair.  I think I started learning that as soon as I could walk and talk.  Forget filing a lawsuit.  The Happy Meal toy is an opportunity to teach kids important life lessons.

It’s called parental responsibility.  That’s our job:  to look out for the best interests of our kids.  If I gave in every time my kids wanted something I’d be bankrupt.  And they would miss out on a valuable life lesson: sometimes we don’t get everything that we want.

I would be curious to know the real reasons behind the class-action suit. Is it truly parents struggling to say “no” to their children?  Is it the battle against obesity?  Or is it a case of parents and lawyers looking for a quick buck from a large corporation?  My guess is the latter.

To bring this post full-circle, let me remind everyone that on occasion, I buy Happy Meals for my kids.

-gasp-

It’s not every week.  Certainly not every day.  And definitely not every time the kids ask/demand/whine for ’em.  (Actually, that’s more likely to have the opposite effect.)

Matter of fact, I bought ’em one last Friday.  It was the six-piece McNugget Mighty Kids Meal.  Apple Dippers instead of fries.  Chocolate milk instead of soda.  And the boys split the meal.  I also knew that they would run off every one of the calories that afternoon.

It was a special treat for the kids. They do love the toys.  I’ll admit that I enjoy playing with the toys.  (Especially the ones that light up… McDonald’s:  you need more of those, less of the ones with the annoying sound effects.)

It’s a downright shame that irresponsible parents and over-reaching politicians (San Francisco anyone?) are doing their best to force the Happy out of the Meal.

So, who’s up for a burger and a toy?

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6 Comments

  1. Wade, I am sitting at a McDonald’s playland right now – reading your post! Crazy. I too am a terrible parent and bring my son to McDonalds about twice a month. I just drove all over the capital district trying to find one with a play place. I better enjoy it while I am here – soon McDonald’s will have to or want close these because of all the lawsuits.

    Reply
    • Alicia, I just love the fact that you read the post at a McDonald’s! My kids love the McD’s playlands, too. I’m sure they burn more calories at the playland than they take in via their Happy Meal.

      BTW… the playland at the Clifton Park McD’s on 146 is a favorite of my kids.

      Reply
  2. springtimesoul

     /  December 19, 2010

    True confession: the last time we kept your boys, we took them to McDonalds (gasp!) because (1) they’d been so well behaved and (2) Grandma was pooped (a happy meal is one I don’t have to cook!)

    If you sue me, I’ll run out of money sooner and you’ll have to support me in my old age 😀

    Reply
  3. Chuck

     /  December 19, 2010

    Here’s what I used to do: Buy a Filet-of-fish meal, which comes with a soda too large and fries too large. I’d like to get a cheeseburger to balance all that, but too much soda and fries! So here’s what I do now: Get a cheeseburger happy meal, give the toy to whichever of my two terrific children did the most chores that day, add a Filet-of-fish sandwich to that! I save money, the size of the fries and coke are just right, and the kids have something else to fight over! MERRY CHRISTMAS, EVERYBODY!!!!

    Reply

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