McDonald’s is under attack, yet again. This time in San Francisco, where there’s an huge effort being led by Eric Mar to ban Happy Meals from the city or at the very least to remove the toys that the Happy Meals come with.
I’m not a rocket scientist by any means, but isn’t the toy what makes the these meals so “happy”? Some of my fondest and earliets memories at McDonald’s involve a Happy Meal. I may be dating myself slightly, but I still remember the mini detective sets that used to come with a Happy Meal. Me and my brother would take that set and run around the house dropping clues, trying our best at being as good as Sherlock Holmes. Then after we were done with that toy, we’d get our mom to take us back to McDonald’s to get the next one, a Ronald McDonald figure, then Grimace, then some Hot Wheels cars, then E.T., and the list goes on and on.
The reason for the showdown in San Fran is because a lot of folks believe that McDonald’s agressively markets to children and gets them hooked early enough on their food so that they will forever be dependent on it. So I guess my fondness of Happy Meals at age 5 are the reason for my late night visits to the Golden Arches now? Who would’ve thought that? Damn you, Ronald McDonald! You sly and sneaky bastard!
But seriously, banning Happy Meals will not cure the obesity problem that has plagued the United States for years. But I guess it’s a start. As with anything, training our youth for a healthy lifestyle begins at home. My mother could’ve simply said “no” to me and my brother’s requests for some chicken McNuggets and that would’ve been that.
But one thing I can’t seem to comprehend in regards to this ban even though I see the angle that they are going for, is how’s banning Happy Meals going to stop kids from going to McDonald’s and still eating their food? Again, I am not a rocket scientist, but the only difference between the food that comes in the Happy Meal box and the food off the menu is generally the size of the portion. For example, a Happy Meal comes with a 4-piece Chicken McNuggets while the regular meal comes with a 6-piece. So by banning Happy Meals, would it simply be pushing our kids to get the regular and bigger meals? So in essence, our kids will still be getting fat(ter) but without the toy.
What do you guys think?