Victory: McDonald's outsmarts San Francisco on Happy Meal ban

Remember when San Fran “banned” Happy Meals by requiring fruit and vegetables to be served with any meal that includes a toy? Question: What if the meal doesn’t automatically include the toy? What if the toy’s “optional,” purchasable with a Happy Meal plus a small additional fee that you’ll be happy to pay just to shut up that screaming brat who wants the toy, mom, c’monnnnn?

I can’t shake the feeling that government intrusion produces higher costs, less choice, and inefficiency.

Come Dec. 1, you can still buy the Happy Meal. But it doesn’t come with a toy. For that, you’ll have to pay an extra 10 cents.

Huh. That hardly seems to have solved the problem (though adults and children purchasing unhealthy food can at least take solace that the 10 cents is going to Ronald McDonald House charities). But it actually gets worse from here. Thanks to Supervisor Eric Mar’s much-ballyhooed new law, parents browbeaten into supplementing their preteens’ Happy Meal toy collections are now mandated to buy the Happy Meals.

Today and tomorrow mark the last days that put-upon parents can satiate their youngsters by simply throwing down $2.18 for a Happy Meal toy. But, thanks to the new law taking effect on Dec. 1, this is no longer permitted. Now, in order to have the privilege of making a 10-cent charitable donation in exchange for the toy, you must buy the Happy Meal. Hilariously, it appears Mar et al., in their desire to keep McDonald’s from selling grease and fat to kids with the lure of a toy have now actually incentivized the purchase of that grease and fat — when, beforehand, a put-upon parent could get out cheaper and healthier with just the damn toy.

In other words, they dropped the healthy options from the Happy Meal, split off the toy — which is the only part most kids care about — and now require you to buy a tasty Meal comprised of a lardburger and death fries in order to get the prize for an extra dime. Your kid gets (a) something to play with and (b) fat, and you get momentary peace of mind. And San Francisco gets … a lesson? Nah. They won’t learn.

Exit question one: Won’t San Fran have the last laugh here? I thought McD’s already agreed to healthy-up their Happy Meals nationwide, even though pretty much no one — at McDonald’s — actually chooses the healthy option. Go figure. Exit question two: Why don’t they just wait for your kid to get obese and then take him away instead?