Do they go for the Happy or for the Meal

Published on
November 5, 2010

San Francisco is taking the fun out of McDonald's treats after the county's board of supervisors decided to ban toys in happy meals. It's a move that assumes the toys are the reason kids are eating Happy Meals, which I don't believe is true.

I think it's a classic case of trying to do for people what they cannot do for themselves, and the proverbial band-aid on a huge, bleeding wound. Happy Meals are what parents buy for their kids while the parents are chomping down on the 450 calories and 24 grams of fat called the McRib sandwich. It's what they buy because it's easy, and there's a Mickey D's on every corner.

Maybe if they wanted to put an extra tax on fast food and use the funding to educate parents and children about its dangers, that would make sense. But in this case, it's kind of like if they took away the spoons at the Marble Slab Creamery - I guarantee you I'd still find a way to get every last drop of delicious ice cream out of my bowl or cone. It's not about the presentation, it's about habits, cultures and what is accessible to the people who patronize such places.

I remember being shocked when a former co-worker posted on her Facebook status that she just took her 1-year-old to McDonald's for her first Happy Meal. I didn't even put processed sugar in my kid's cake for his first birthday, and he still scarfed it down. A lot of my friends weren't fans of the cake, but it goes back to how they had conditioned their palate to fast food fare filled with sugar.

This ban might not be happy, but I think it's downright silly.