Explain this to me. I can understand the campaign against Joe Camel because (a) kids who try smokes are old enough that their parents aren’t supervising them 24/7 anymore and (b) ciggies are addictive, so once kids are tempted to try, it’s not easy to get them to quit. In other words, kids at that age have some degree of free choice and the cost of choosing badly is high, so maybe we want to eliminate any inducements to it. But what’s the argument with Happy Meals, which, last I checked, are geared towards six-year-olds? Is the worry that first-graders are strolling in there on their own during recess, all set to order fruit slices when suddenly a shapely Grimace figurine catches their eye? Mom’s going to be right there with them every time. So … why can’t she decide?
The proposal, which will have its first public hearing Monday, wouldn’t ban the popular toy giveaways outright but would make it illegal for kids’ meals to come with prizes if the food exceeds city-set limits on calories, fat, salt and sugar…
Wells said her company [McDonald’s] – driven in large part by consumer demand – already voluntarily provides healthier choices for its customers, noting that kids can get apples with their Happy Meals instead of french fries, and milk instead of soda…
The toys offered with kids meals at fast-food restaurants are powerful lures for children, Mar said. Individual McDonald’s restaurants sell an average of more than 1,000 Happy Meals a week.
“As a parent, it’s not just parental choice that decides what meals to serve your children,” he said. “There’s the heavy marketing by an industry that connects food with a toy, and that can be a powerful influence. It’s the responsibility of the industry to promote healthy choices.”
Even Gavin Newsom thinks it’s a stupid idea, which puts this way out past the 99th percentile of dumb adventures in liberal governance. Seriously: We’ve all had the Happy Meal, we’ve all loved the Happy Meal, but how many of us as kids ordered the Happy Meal because of the prize? When I whined at mom to take me to McDonald’s, it wasn’t because my toy collection was woefully lacking a Hamburglar. It was because, like all Americans, I had my first order of fries before I had teeth and, from that moment on, knew I’d had to have more. Simple as that. If you’re going to ban something to improve people’s health, ban the fries. And thenceforth shall begin the most lucrative black market of all time.
Exit question: Why not just have San Francisco pay people to stay thin?