I know this is an old story, but this needs to stay fresh in our minds, especially over this Memorial Day weekend.  In lovely Santa Clara county of the small, clean and quiet city of San Jose, CA people are having problems.  Concerned parents fear that restaurants like McDonald’s are teaching their kids terrible lessons about fast food:

“This ordinance prevents restaurants from preying on children’s love of toys” to sell high caloric, unhealthful food, said supervisor Ken Yeager, who sponsored the measure. “This ordinance breaks the link between unhealthy food and prizes.”

Most people disagree with this line of thinking.  Shouldn’t parents be around to teach their children proper values and healthy eating habits?  Why aren’t they buying toys for their kids upon cleaning their plate of every last snow pea?

This ordinance devastates me.  I have fond memories of my parents going out on “date night.”  It was usually about once or twice a month (if they were lucky) and a baby-sitter was hired.  We would watch TGIF on TBS and most importantly get McDonald’s, quite the rarity in our house.  A Happy Meal is a miniature Christmas, a time when all ill environments dissipate into a greedy, greasy heaven.  The toys were cheap, shoddy and usually a play on whatever Disney movie was huge at the time.  And they were amazing.

Did I feel rewarded?  Yes, yes I did.  I was the greatest kid ever, and do you know why?  Because I almost had the entire set of Happy Meal toys from the Aladdin movie and you didn’t.  SO THERE.

Am I obese because of the McDonald’s I ate once or twice a month?  No.  I’m slightly overweight because of chips and salsa and beer.  That is my own damn fault, and McDonald’s and my parents have nothing to do with it.

My favorite portion of the article involves a councilman who voted against banning the Happy Meal, especially the way he is portrayed:

Gage, who is himself overweight, said he was a living example of how obese children can become obese adults.

But he questioned the role of fast-food toys. “When I was growing up in Gilroy 65 years ago, there were no fast-food restaurants,” Gage said.

See, there were fat people before fast food.  The logic is hilarious.

Since the ordinance passed, 30 days have gone by and the Santa Clara McDonald’s have another 60 days to meet the health regulations set down by the county to keep the toys.  I’d like all of you to take a moment during your holiday weekend to think about McDonald’s Happy Meals and the roles they played in shaping your lives.

Also, let’s not forget how rad these Tranformers Happy Meal toys were.

SO RAD.

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8 Responses

  1. stripes@gmail.com'
    Alex

    Just FYI, Santa Clara County is in the south Bay Area, and encompasses San Jose, not LA. I’m not sure why so much news coverage was coming from Los Angeles. Bummer about the toys!

    Reply
  2. jeliel1618@gmail.com'
    DAVE ID

    Letting companies govern themselves which seems to have primacy in your country, doesn’t seem to have worked out well. Sometimes the government needs to step in. I loves ma bacon and ma foie-gras with an inordinate amount of passion but I don’t think we should be eating it daily.

    Fast food is cheap and way to accessible. While working in the US I noticed something. The poorer the area got the more fast food chains there were (and liquor stores). Having this in your face all the time, well it creates an imprint. Being cheap and easy, kids will go for that instead of time consuming not as tasty as salt and fat (Dont we know it) healthy foods which take time to prepare and eat.

    In my province advertising to children is forbidden by law because we know that young minds can be indoctrinated and make them develop REALLY bad habits that will become unbreakable later on in life.

    Personal responsibility means nothing if you are programmed to love only rich fatty foods. Besides children don’t have personal responsibilities, they don’t even have a developed sense of self (basically sociopaths) and if their parents are not well educated and have no understanding of healthy eating. They can’t impart their knowledge or responsibilities to their children. McD has their healthy options they advertise as health food, like salads, that actually have more calories than a Big Mac.

    If a person doesn’t have knowledge, than he can’t make an informed decision. I think National Geographic’s survey of high school grads 4 or 5 years ago says it all; more that 45 percent of grads couldn’t locate the US on a map (FYI US created maps, often have the US in the center of the map). If they can’t find their own country on a map, you can’t expect them to know between bad and good food. They have little knowledge of eating healthy and a burger chain is telling them their options are healthy (When they are not) That’s when it’s time for the government to intervene and take care of the welfare of its constituents.

    If it weren’t for government intervention, you would’t have a lot of spiffy security devices in your cars, like air bags, back seat full seat belts and so forth. Companies left to their own devices will sell you poison and wont care about it until their profit margins go down.

    Plus personal responsibility comes with choices. If all your choices suck, how can you be held accountable for making the wrong choice?

    Reply
  3. hazer772@hotmail.com'
    Jason-wayne

    I get the healthy eating point behind this and all but this is getting out of hand, this should be a personal choice not up to some government to ban little toys so kids won’t want to eat there. I have a lot of fond memories of happy meals, we have taken so much away from the kids nowadays, so why do we have to take something else.

    Reply
  4. angst22@gmail.com'
    John

    I ate happy meals as a kid, and then still eat there at least once or twice a week 20 some years later.

    Im 5’10 and 155 lbs, and have never been fat. Ever.

    I think a big problem is fat people are looking for something other than their lazy lifestyle to blame for their problem. McD’s is an easy target.

    And yes, Kids were fat and grew up to be fat in life LONG before McD’s was even thought of.

    Reply
  5. gjgower@coastalnet.com'
    ginger g

    If I understood one of the postings here correctly, it seems that that person feels that fast food tastes better than home cooked food. I would counter that if people took up cooking what they love to eat, they would find that they can not enjoy food from chain restaurants most of the time. Not saying Ruby Tuesday’s doesn’t have great crab cakes…

    Reply

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