Happy! Happy! Toy! Toy!

Joe Eskenazi of the SF Weekly has been tracking efforts by San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors to ban McDonald’s Happy Meals from the city, and reports on November 29th that capitalism is still alive and well, even if bureaucratic common sense is not.

Thanks to Democrat Eric Mar’s valiant and unwavering efforts, the veto-proof, Democrat Board passed an ordinance that only allows a food establishment to include a free toy with a meal having:

  • less than 600 total calories
  • less than 640 mg sodium
  • less than 35% total calories from fat (excluding “natural” fats, like nuts, eggs, cheeses, etc)
  • less than 10% total calories from saturated fat (excluding “natural” fats, like nuts, eggs, cheeses, etc)
  • trans fat exceeding 0.5 grams
  • at least 0.5 cups or more of fruits or vegetables.

To get a free toy with purchase of a single food items or beverage,  the food or beverage must have less than 35% of total calories from fat and less than 10% of calories from added caloric sweeteners.

McDonalds’ clever solution? Instead of including that inexpensive (but cute!) toy in a meal for free, or selling the toy separately for a couple of bucks (actually, $2.49 at my local McDonalds), the toy can be purchased for just ten cents – but only after purchasing a Happy Meal!

So much for bureaucrats thinking things through.

Heck, McDonalds isn’t forcing anyone to buy their food, isn’t dictating how much food a person is required to eat, isn’t telling parents how to raise, feed and control their kids, and probably doesn’t believe that a toy can motivate every child to finish their food. Still, they aren’t completely blameless: I remember when a regular hamburger, regular fries, and a small drink were classified as “an adult size portion” – and the Big Mac was large by comparison. Today (except for that bottomless drink) they are some of the smallest items of their type on the menu.

In light of McDonalds’ business acumen, I’m guessing it facepalms all around for San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors – perhaps if they aren’t happy enough, I suggest they follow the lead of Ren and Stimpy.

Thanks for reading!

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