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Apr 082012
 
Happy Meal

Who’s Feeding Your Child – You or McDonald’s?

An Editorial by, PK

I admit this isn’t the kind of story that I’d normally cover, or give a big public opinion on, but I felt it was important enough to warrant a mention. I’ve followed the story of McDonald’s legal battle with Monet Parham with some interest, since it involves a restaurant I frequent. The heart of the matter comes down to Ms. Parham suing McDonald’s over their children’s meals, more specifically the toys offered inside them.

Ms. Parham filed suit on behalf of herself and like-minded individuals against McDonald’s, claiming that the toys offered in their well known Happy Meals, were a way for the burger giant to lure children into buying the meals, which she claims are unhealthy. Therefore the use of the toys and the advertising thereof, was a breach of California law, namely deceptive business practices. McDonald’s argued that the offering of the toys was an incentive yes, but ultimately the parent’s are the ones who make the final decision on what their child eats.

That’s the big “ah-ha” moment right there, “Parent’s are the ones who make the final decision on what their child eats”. The whole mess smelled of some parents complaining that their kids were fat and it must be the fast food place’s fault, right? Wrong, if little Johnny or little Susie waddle up to you and start begging for a Happy Meal, because it has the latest movie related toy inside, do you have to go get one for them? No of course not, it’s your personal responsibility to take care of your child and deny them that greasy meal.

Ultimately the Judge in the case agreed, McDonald’s may advertise its toys as an added incentive to buy their Happy Meals, but there was no deception involved. And its not as if your eight-year old is racking up frequent eater points at the local Micky D’s on his own dime; if he or she is there, good bet it’s you that’s paying the bill. As someone who grew up having had his share of the boxy meals, and having been told “no” on more than one occasion when I wanted one, my message to parents is to take some responsibility.

If your child is sucking down the brightly colored meals, then you’re the one who has the power to stop it. And while I’m not a fan of the mega corporations, I for once applaud McDonald’s for sticking to their guns and pointing out the obvious; it’s up to the parents to buy the meals and regulate their child’s fat intake, if you don’t want your bundle of joy eating at McDonald’s, then don’t buy anything there. Folks, embrace what is many times forgotten, use some common sense and don’t be so ready to blame the other guy for your problems or your kid’s problems, look in the mirror first.

-30-

I know, I said it was a greasy meal, and yes those burgers are not exactly health food. But If I remember right, McDonald’s does offer healthier alternatives to it’s burgers and fries now. So if your spawn has managed to brow-beat you into buying some fast food, then at least look at getting the alternatives, such as apple slices or chicken nuggets, or whatever it is that they have now.

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