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McDonalds Facing Lawsuit For Happy Meal Toys

samzenpus posted more than 3 years ago | from the but-I-want-an-unhappy-meal dept.

Toys 145

cosm writes "Looks like personal responsibility died a little bit again today. From the article: 'A watchdog group says giving away toys with Happy Meals contributes to childhood obesity, and threatens to sue. The [watchdog] organization on Tuesday served the fast food giant with a letter expressing its intent to sue if toys are not removed. The letter is legally required in several states before lawsuits can be brought under consumer protection statutes. ..."McDonald's is the stranger in the playground handing out candy to children," Stephen Gardner, litigation director for the advocacy group, said in a statement. "McDonald's use of toys undercuts parental authority and exploits young children's developmental immaturity."'"

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145 comments

If you are that fat (4, Funny)

Rasperin (1034758) | more than 3 years ago | (#32679994)

You arent eating a happy meal.

Re:If you are that fat (2, Insightful)

JWSmythe (446288) | more than 3 years ago | (#32680418)

    I second that opinion. That kid looks like he could inhale a couple supersized bigmac combos in a few seconds.

    People need to learn not to overfeed themselves and their kids. It's not the toys fault, it's the DUMB PARENTS. They're raising an entire generation of people who will be lucky to live to 30.

Re:If you are that fat (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32681412)

That's one way of controlling your total number of citizens. It's still better than China's way.

Re:If you are that fat (4, Insightful)

JWSmythe (446288) | more than 3 years ago | (#32682146)

    Is it better? It costs us in the food resources that are being wasted over the lifetime of the morbidly obese, medical costs, and dedication of medical professionals to help with patients who aren't willing to help themselves. Consider the other additional problems, where ambulances have to be made larger to accommodate the oversized patients, larger tools (everything from stretchers to MRI machines), and even when they pass, oversized accommodations must be made at the cemetery.

    I went to the doctor recently, and joked that I am fat (I'm 155 lbs at 5'8"). He laughed, but pointed out that they had a new scale. The old one only went to 400 pounds. My doctor personally sent a person to a large animal hospital, because they couldn't find an MRI machine that could take anyone that size. Even if you look at the high end of a height/weight chart, someone who's 6'8", the high normal weight should be 216. We're not talking about extremely muscular athletes, we're talking about people who can't see their own shoes to tie them, because too many fat folds are in the way.

    Even someone very muscular, like Arnold Schwarzenegger when he was winning body building trophies was only 250lbs at 6'2". There's no excuse for anyone to be 350+ pounds.

    We're going to kill ourselves, and that's not just the morbidly obese. They are putting a huge demand on the food supply, which hurts everyone who wants to eat. When you hear about the morbidly obese and their diet, they eat enough in a day to feed a normal healthy person for a week (or more).

Re:If you are that fat (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32690318)

And it means work for mechanics, construction workers and engineers who have to re-design and modify existing vehicles and structures. And it means a lot of work for thousands and millions of farmers, doctors and health professionals too. That's one way of providing work to your country.

Re:If you are that fat (2, Insightful)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 3 years ago | (#32701508)

That's one way of providing work to your country.

Another is to go round chucking bricks through windows.

Re:If you are that fat (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32704702)

Sounds a bit like 1984.

Re:If you are that fat (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 3 years ago | (#32707688)

You see morbidly obese people.

I see a self-propelled food supply with an integrated anti-spoilage mechanism.

For when a comet hits, or something like that.

Re:If you are that fat (1)

JWSmythe (446288) | more than 3 years ago | (#32712218)

    Nah, your food supply would degrade too quickly. No food makes your supply shrink, either through internal usage or failure of it's support mechanism.

Re:If you are that fat (1)

PFI_Optix (936301) | more than 3 years ago | (#32717940)

"Even if you look at the high end of a height/weight chart, someone who's 6'8", the high normal weight should be 216."

This is utter nonsense. I have a cousin who stands at 6'8" and isn't especially athletic. He is quite fit: he watches his diet, works out three days a week, and barely has any visible fat on him. His weight? 235 pounds. Likewise, I'm 6'1" and if I weighed what those idiotic charts say I should weigh, I'd be skin and bones. At my lowest adult weight, I was 205 lbs and had a 30 inch waist below a 44 inch chest.

Much of my family is truly big-boned. We struggle with our weight (I've got a fair bit to lose now, a combination of a bad knee interfering in workouts and my just being lazy), but even at our skinniest the charts call us overweight because *gasp* not everyone has the same build. Now that I've recovered my knee and am able to focus on getting back in shape, my target weight is 210-215 pounds. Anything below that and I'll have to give up some of the muscle I'm planning to build up soon.

Re:If you are that fat (1)

JWSmythe (446288) | more than 3 years ago | (#32719162)

    No, actually you're arguing the finer points of the charts. I was simply referencing where the lines were drawn the the "experts".

    You mention folks over 6', with weights in the low to mid 200's. My complaint was where weights were frequently exceeding 400 pounds, and sadly if you've spent any significant time people-watching, you'll see that they aren't always even near 6'.

    I was underweight for most of the first 20-some years. Then I bounced over to "overweight", and agreed I was. I corrected that, and have been happily in the middle of the chart since then. It's not for the sake of where the chart says I should be, it's just where I am happy and healthy.

Re:If you are that fat (1)

secondhand_Buddah (906643) | more than 3 years ago | (#32729128)

Half the problem is that fast foods are engineered to inhibit the signals that tell us that we have had enough of a specific nutrient. With natural foods, we stop feeling like the food when we have had enough (see how many bananas you can eat before they lose their appeal) . This level of bio-engineering should be made illegal. The reason people are getting fat is because we do not get that natural response when eating fast food. Going after the toys is simply going after they symptom of the problem,

Re:If you are that fat (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32740684)

/facepalm

You honestly think that restaurants bio-engineer food? I'd hardly consider the addition of salt and sugar because they taste good to be bio-engineering. Hell, if that's the case I "bio-engineer" my baked potato every time I put some butter and hot sauce on it. And if you really think natural foods won't make you fat, I challenge you to eat nothing but avocados and nuts for a few months.

Here's your tin foil hat. Enjoy your visit.

Re:If you are that fat (2, Insightful)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 3 years ago | (#32683494)

If you are that fat ... You arent eating a happy meal.

The Happy Meal is the gateway drug.

You get hooked from the shiny toy and the burger. Next thing you know, you're hossin' down the super-sized double Big Mac combo with a side of cheeseburgers like El Gordo there.

Re:If you are that fat (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32695722)

For the people responding and possibly the parent poster: that picture is has nothing to do with this case. It's been floating around 4chan for years.

Re:If you are that fat (1)

Kludge (13653) | more than 3 years ago | (#32699812)

You are eating two happy meals.

Re:If you are that fat (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32719392)

But the first one came with a toy you already had...

Re:If you are that fat (1)

rainmouse (1784278) | more than 3 years ago | (#32721376)

Stop the greedy children, they are eating all the toys!

No doubt the experts involved in the case are the kind of people who's only apparent credential is starting every phrase with "Speaking as a mother..."

Eating crap is a choice, sure they use cunning techniques to influence that choice but its hardly mind control caps. All this desperate finger pointing really should just lead back to pad parenting. People who are too lazy to cook healthy meals for their children. Blaming the source is like blaming drug pushers and dealers for addicts..... oh wait I've just broken my own argument. Fail.

Old News (2, Insightful)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 3 years ago | (#32681430)

Didn't that guy bring this up with Supersize me like years ago? Haven't they already had to face lawsuits because "Eating McDonalds makes you fat"?

I swear, is no one responsible for their own actions anymore? Don't get me wrong, I don't think what McDonald's does is right, but if you play the "I'm not in control of what I eat" card, you deserve to become obese.

Re:Old News (1)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 3 years ago | (#32683576)

Didn't that guy bring this up with Supersize me like years ago?

I'm not saying there's no such thing as personal responsibility ...

But, it's cheaper to eat McD's that actual fresh food from a grocery store -- both in terms of $$, and time. And, in Super Size Me, he actually went through withdrawal when he didn't have that crap. Your body starts to crave the high sugar/high fat.

You start giving a four year McD's on a regular basis, putting it into schools and whatnot, you're going to end up with this problem. Sadly, a lot of children grow up and will only eat this crap, and actual vegetables and real food is something they'll turn their noses up at. Heck, I suspect the parents sitting across from this kid are also way obese too.

Re:Old News (4, Insightful)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 3 years ago | (#32684106)

But, it's cheaper to eat McD's that actual fresh food from a grocery store -- both in terms of $$, and time.

Definately NOT in money. At least not here in Canada.

Spaghetti noodles: $3
Extra Lean Hamburger meat: $5.50
2 Cans of Tomato Paste: $3
Stock of Celery: 89 cents
2L juice: $1.50
Grand Total: about 15 dollars after Tax.

This will easily get you 5 full meals, more than any meal you can buy at McDonalds with any combo.

There are TONS of easy meals you can spend 20 minutes cooking and have microwavable leftovers for the rest of the week. Chicken and Rice with any veggies you want is another great combo.

Just most people would prefer going through a drive thru 5 times a week as opposed to spending 20 minutes cooking 2 nights a week. It baffles me.

Re:Old News (1)

SleazyRidr (1563649) | more than 3 years ago | (#32691738)

I still don't get people who try and tell me that eating out is cheaper than cooking. I make something that my Dad calls chicken surprise (the surprise is there's no chicken) for about $10 which gives me lunch all week and 4 dinners. I can't afford to eat unhealthily.

Re:Old News (1)

adolf (21054) | more than 3 years ago | (#32707446)

Hmm.

Ten McDoubles == $10.

Five small fries == $5.

Five big meals for $15, from McDonalds.

Next?

(I'm ignoring the health aspects, on purpose.)

Re:Old News (1)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 3 years ago | (#32715648)

Time spent next to your dying child's bed as he's hooked up to dialysis for salt-induced renal failure while the doctor tells you that the lack of a lifestyle change the last time around makes him ineligible for a second transplant == priceless.

Mmmm... Those 15 minutes each day spent queueing instead of cooking sure were worth it.

Re:Old News (1)

adolf (21054) | more than 3 years ago | (#32726258)

The topic is money, not healthfulness.

My argument is that it is equally cheap to get five meals from McDonalds as it is to make five meals with of spaghetti using a previously-posted recipe.

If you want to discuss healthfulness, you'll have to find another thread.

Re:Old News (1)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 3 years ago | (#32727532)

Well if the topic were MONEY I'd suggest the 69cent instant noodles you can get from any supermarket. A meal for under $2

Or even just a box of Rice, will last you for like 2 weeks.

I was trying to show that if you are willing to spend as much money on groceries as you are on fast food, you can actually eat Healthy.

However, if you are trying to eat cheap, home cooking is DEFINATELY cheaper than fast food, I guarantee.

Re:Old News (1)

mrjb (547783) | more than 3 years ago | (#32731346)

Well if the topic were MONEY I'd suggest the 69cent instant noodles you can get from any supermarket. A meal for under $2

Cheap and fast doesn't have to be unhealthy. Example: Here in the UK, the cheapest McDonalds burger costs 1 pound.
A packet of Sainsbury's basics or ASDA noodles (that's walmart for you people across the pond) can be had for about 9 or 10 p. Preparation time is about 4 minutes. To make it a proper meal, upgrade it: For example with an egg (15p), half an onion (5p), a tomato (10p) and half a bell pepper (30p).
You can cut the veg in the time the noodles are soaking. This way, 70p can get you 2 of your 5-a-day in under 10 minutes. Oh by the way- that's about US$1.50 - so previously mentioned 15 bucks may get you 5 meals at the Mac, but when home cooking it gets you 10.
As a personal preference, I'd rather use proper chow mein noodles or rice noodles though. Preparation time is marginally longer but proper noodles and a vegetable stir fry can still be cooked up under a pound and in less than 15 minutes- and it gives me more control over how much sodium is in the food.

Re:Old News (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32744768)

The comment was about Canadian prices: We don't have 1$ McDoubles here - Ours are 1.39$ plus on average 13% tax, so about 15$ for 10 McDoubles.
In regards to the Canadian pricing above, those seem like Ontario prices... Don't generalize, as most of the north, you can expect double the prices, and on the east coast, especially NL, it's 1.5× the price...

Re:Old News (1)

Jaysyn (203771) | more than 3 years ago | (#32735856)

You're wrong of course. Hamburger Happy meals are $1.99 here in Florida. That's 7.5 meals for $15.

Not that I'd ever advocate eating at McDonalds.

Re:Old News (1)

lena_10326 (1100441) | more than 3 years ago | (#32713210)

What are you talking about? Big Mac combo is about $6.50 in Seattle. A deluxe combo is about $7.50. A happy meal is about $4.50. It's more expensive to eat at McD's than it is to eat at home. My average home cooked meal costs between 75 cents to $5 depending on whether I'm eating spaghetti or steak. For a child under 12 it's even lower.

You have to know where to shop to get it under $3 a meal. Here we have a few stores: Costco, Bargain Mart, Cash & Carry, and Walmart. Typical prices at Bargain Mart on 4th Ave:

  • Jar of spaghetti sauce: $1
  • Bag of potatoes $3
  • Bag of apples: $4
  • 1lb bag of rice: $1
  • Loaf of fluffy white bread: $1
  • Half gallon of OJ: $2
  • Jar of peanut butter: $1.75
  • A pack of 8 hot dogs and 8 buns: $2.50
  • 3lbs of hamburger meat: $7
  • 12 pack of generic soda: $5.

Now, it's a lot more expensive if you choose the top shelf items over lesser items: such as Fuji apples over Empire apples, "not from concentrate" OJ over "from concentrate" OJ, white onions over yellow onions, 7 grain bread over white fluffy bread, etc, so unless you're eating t-bone steak or king crab every night ($10 a steak, $15 for king crab) the avg price per meal is still below McD's. Even with top shelf brands avg meal is between $3 to $6 a meal.

People eat at McD's because 1) they are lazy, 2) they don't want to cook, 3) they don't know how to cook (see #1 and #2), 4) they want something fattening and salty, 5) they want it now and do not want to wait, 6) they are not serious about losing weight.

Re: the card played (1)

Errol backfiring (1280012) | more than 3 years ago | (#32688258)

It's a "McDonalds tries to control what my children eat" card. Some parents leave their children from their sights once in a while to teach them responsibility. You could argue that McDonalds tries to abuse that.

Re: the card played (1)

jgagnon (1663075) | more than 3 years ago | (#32735778)

By definition, any business that produces and/or sells a non-essential product is abusing stupidity. Buying non-essential products could also be easily considered as stupidity, especially if you favor them over essential products.

Those parents teaching their kids about responsibility by letting them loose and not educating them about product quality is blatant stupidity. It's like opening a checking account for your kid and then handing them the checkbook without another word of advise. Is the kid seriously going to go educate themselves about how to balance the checkbook and keep from bouncing checks? Some might, but most wont without some form of training. Same thing with food. Most will eat where their friends eat or eat where the food tastes the best to them and not bother to research food quality or nutritional content.

This isn't science, this is parenting. It's a lot of hard work and sacrifice to raise a good kid and there are no easy ways out unless you just happen to be blessed with a naturally good kid (very, very rare in my experience).

Re:Old News (1)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 3 years ago | (#32715582)

I swear, is no one responsible for their own actions anymore? Don't get me wrong, I don't think what McDonald's does is right, but if you play the "I'm not in control of what I eat" card, you deserve to be euthenased.

FTFY. Being in control of what you eat is easy. When you see the sale on a jumbo pack of 72 pancakes with some of that lovely high-fructose corn syrup you love to drizzle over, don't buy it. Walking past a $2.99 all-you-can-eat fried food buffet? You bet! Walk straight past! Grab a banana.

Unless you are tied down to a chair and being spoon fed can after can of refried beans Gluttony-scene-from-Seven style, you are in control of what you eat. Get some willpower. And if you're doing this to your kids, you deserve to have them taken off you and be sterilised. Yeah, this counts as child abuse.

Re:Old News (1)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 3 years ago | (#32715610)

Obviously that's the parents being sterilised. No doubt the type-2 diabetes and reduced kidney function from excessive salt intake will screw up their fertility before they get past their 20th birthday.

Re:Old News (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 3 years ago | (#32734652)

Oh, I'm quite sure that there's a 12-step program for those people that starts with something akin to "I admit that I am powerless over my food addiction and only someone else can save me".

What really blows is that these people have SO low self esteem that they can't even fathom they they, and nobody else, beat the habit. They accomplished that. Nobody else. But that won't work. They would never believe that they, and they alone, got anything done right. And instead of giving them a self esteem boost during their program, we toss them from one thing that has power over them into the next. What's gained?

That's what really blows about that 12step program. It turns addicted losers who can't get their act together into religious losers who again don't want to take their own life in their own hands. Instead of giving people a pat on the back when they're making progress and informing them that THEY and THEY ALONE make their progress possible, building their self esteem and turning them into people who have faith in their own abilities instead of some fluffy-cloud being....

Huh? Sorry, I think that "I am not in control" sentence triggered a Pavlovian reflex in me.

Parental responsibility anyone? (5, Insightful)

Envy Life (993972) | more than 3 years ago | (#32681666)

This watchdog group is implying parents need help keeping their kids away from McDonalds. Are parents incapable of saying "no honey, we're going to eat in tonight" or "no we're going to ... instead" or "no you can't have a Big Mac and fries, but you can have the grilled chicken sandwich and a fruit salad." When do lawyers become more important to our society than parental responsibility? It's just all backwards.

Re:Parental responsibility anyone? (5, Insightful)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 3 years ago | (#32682072)

In the words of the immortal childcare expert Bender, "Have you ever tried simply turning off the TV, sitting down with your children, and hitting them?"

The sooner your child learns to accept "no" for an answer without whining about it, the better off they are going to be in life. In marriage, we learn to expect "no" for an answer!

Re:Parental responsibility anyone? (1, Interesting)

FuckingNickName (1362625) | more than 3 years ago | (#32700836)

You are completely wrong. The sooner a child learnts to accept "no" for an answer without whining, the sooner he becomes a malleable, passive tool and occasional useful idiot. A child's job is to whine - to learn and to question - and it's your job to provide a convincing argument to him. He can't force you to do anything, so it's not the end of the world. And if you didn't expect your child to keep you up all night while he questioned everything, you may wish to reconsider your parenting!

Meanwhile, it's the adults who whine and don't accept "no" for an answer who actually go on to achieve interesting things, both for themselves and for the world around them. Channel his dissatisfaction.

Re:Parental responsibility anyone? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32702448)

Spoken like a true non-parent.

How do you explain calorie balance, saturated fats and the like to three-year old?

A fair proportion of adults wouldn't have a clue.

Re:Parental responsibility anyone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32703550)

Spoken like a poor parent.

Understand your audience. For example, calorie balance doesn't need to be explained at graduate level, but with an illustration of how you get fat if more goes in than comes out. I had no trouble "why"ing everything at the age of 3, and my parents had no trouble taking the time to try to explain.

A fair proportion of adults wouldn't have a clue.

A fair proportion of adults make poor parents.

Re:Parental responsibility anyone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32707644)

Spoken like a patronizing shithead.

I'm sure you're just a fucking perfect parent.

Re:Parental responsibility anyone? (3, Insightful)

PFI_Optix (936301) | more than 3 years ago | (#32718156)

No, you can't have McDonald's again today.

Why?

Because you had it yesterday.

Why can't I have it again?

Because it's not good for you.

Why?

Because it has things in it that will make you fat.

I wanna be anorexic when I grow up!

-----

My boys get their choice of restaurant foods once a week. It's usually McNuggets and apple slices from McDonald's or a grilled cheese sandwich and banana from Sonic. Our choices are limited here, so that's really all they know that they like. They've been told that having too much food from places like that is bad, but that's all they've been told. I for one am not going to create body image problems in my 3- and 5-year old sons by telling them that they'll get fat if they eat too much. I simply control what they eat so that they develop healthy appetites.

Children do need to learn to accept that their parents understand things that are above them. I do my best to answer all the questions my kids have. They are already both considered gifted and are well above their age levels on education, but some things are beyond their comprehension and I'm not going to tell them something that might result in them completely misunderstanding my answers.

Re:Parental responsibility anyone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32704904)

You sound like one of those parents that have to beg children to behave. Children don't have developed reasoning and thus can't always be convinced. Telling your child "No" to McDonald's with an explanation that too much can make you fat should be enough. Most children can continuosly reply with "but why?" regardless of what you say. You can't convince that.

Re:Parental responsibility anyone? (1, Interesting)

FuckingNickName (1362625) | more than 3 years ago | (#32705036)

You sound like one of those parents that have to beg children to behave.

Why get personal? Did it hit a raw nerve because I advocate reasoning rather than authoritarianism? :-)

Children don't have developed reasoning

Oh, children are very receptive to reasoning, and it can be formalised quite early if you're willing. Modern state education won't give you that, but the brain is there for training.

and thus can't always be convinced.

Unlike the average 40 year old, the perfect model of reason.

Telling your child "No" to McDonald's with an explanation that too much can make you fat should be enough.

You're insulting your child.

Most children can continuosly reply with "but why?" regardless of what you say. You can't convince that.

Most adults have given up on asking "but why?" to everything, instead developing a series of unquestioned assumptions and prejudices. It's a shame.

All you need to avoid is getting involved in a loop. You don't need to skip your responsibility to reason.

Re:Parental responsibility anyone? (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 3 years ago | (#32707664)

Meanwhile, it's the adults who whine and don't accept "no" for an answer who actually go on to achieve interesting things

But I want the Sudetenland! I want it! I want it!

Re:Parental responsibility anyone? (1)

Abreu (173023) | more than 3 years ago | (#32712076)

Typical "American exceptionality" thinking...

Protip: It doesn't make you achieve anything, except a misplaced sense of entitlement

Re:Parental responsibility anyone? (1)

sammyF70 (1154563) | more than 3 years ago | (#32715100)

As a father of two four year old girls, all I can say is : either you're extremely lucky, or you never had kids ... and you definitely never really watched ads targeted at kids.

The kids I know (that's including my daughters, nieces, cousins and the other kids in the kindergarten ) are very receptive to logical arguments, they understand them, and they don't give a fucking damn. All they want is the miniature shrek. And once they've seen that there are fries coming with it they'll want those too. Thankfully, you can try (and sometimes succeed) to reason with them about how many times you will go to mcD, BK, or buy one of those pseudo-healthy products (with REAL milk, 0.5% of it!!), but you'll NEVER be able to avoid them completely, unless you live in a cave.

Re:Parental responsibility anyone? (1)

Envy Life (993972) | more than 3 years ago | (#32716856)

Kids are coercive and manipulative--it's natural for them to exercise their boundaries starting from the time they are infants... it's really fascinating to watch how smart toddlers really are in this area, and it goes against much of parental nature to tell their kids they can't have something.

The parents who get into trouble are the ones who give in too often, sometimes making up for what they didn't get as kids. Once in a while is fine, even necessary, but too often gives kids the impression they can get, on command, what they want, and thus become spoiled brats.

My daughter begs for food from a handful of restaurants for lunch and dinner (a couple of which are fast food), for which I'll oblige on occasion (especially when I'm too tired to cook), and other times I have no problem saying "no, we're making dinner at home tonight." In fact her reward for good grades (elementary school) is to go out for sushi. I'll acknowledge some of that is luck, but some of that is due to training--consistency in enforcement of rules.

Re:Parental responsibility anyone? (1)

spun (1352) | more than 3 years ago | (#32723616)

Kids are only coercive and manipulative when they've been indoctrinated into hierarchical thinking. In (very rare, isolated) non hierarchical societies, where kids are not beaten regularly, don't have their genitals mutilated, are held until they don't want to be anymore, and never sleep alone, they do not rebel and do what adults want them to without being beaten into it. Think about it, what is the evolutionary advantage of untrained, unskilled young humans rebelling against the wishes of their elders? Nothing. However, when a child finds itself in an environment where every natural and innate expectation goes unmet, it then has reason to rebel.

I'm not saying that everyone should raise their kids according to The Continuum Concept with family bed and carrying baby around everywhere. In Western society, hierarchical structures are everywhere and unavoidable, and even if you do it perfectly, it probably won't work. Unless you form some sort of cult with like minded folks and isolate your kids from 'evil western influences,' but that approach has a pretty poor track record too. However, if you lay the groundwork of trust early, your kids will be more likely to accept your reasoning without rebelling later.

Re:Parental responsibility anyone? (1)

BoberFett (127537) | more than 3 years ago | (#32740750)

I prefer to think I raised my daughter well to simply being lucky.

My daughter said something a few years back that made me smile. She may have been 7 or 8 at the time. Out of the blue, she very matter of factly stated that "Companies make things on commercials look better than they really are, just to make you want to buy them."

I couldn't have been more proud.

Re:Parental responsibility anyone? (1)

woyboy (1835576) | more than 3 years ago | (#32726202)

Parents do need help. Parents themselves often don't see the harm, and then there is the added pressure of the ads everywhere. Then finally junk toys (that get thrown away on the same day half the time) sucking the kids into develop bad food habits. Supersize the children of some MacDonald's board executives and see how they like it!

Bad analogy (1)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 3 years ago | (#32681954)

McDonald's is the stranger in the playground handing out candy to children. Somebody obviously misunderstands the intentions of the stranger handing out candy. Hint: He's not trying to make the kids fat!

Reality check (4, Insightful)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 3 years ago | (#32682000)

As long as you understand that McDonald's, Chuck E. Cheese, et. al are playgrounds subsidized by food sales, I don't see why anyone should have a problem with it. Just don't delude yourself that their primary aim is to provide nutrition. Sounds like some parents are incapable of saying "no" to their kids, so they want the government to do if for them!

Re:Reality check (1)

sv_libertarian (1317837) | more than 3 years ago | (#32693232)

When people don't have to think for themselves, and can blissfully walk around thinking they are taken care of by the guiding hand of government.... then we get stupid shit like this.

Stupid Stupid Stupid (1)

jklovanc (1603149) | more than 3 years ago | (#32685992)

1. The kids are not the ones buying happy meals; the parents are. If the parents are not strong enough to say "No" there is a much bigger problem.

2. Happy meal toys are a good thing. They give the kids something to do while the parent is eating their meal. Kids get bored fast.

3. Today's Happy meal can be quite healthy. http://www.mcdonalds.com/us/en/food/meal_bundles/happy_meals.html [mcdonalds.com]. A bit low on vegies but not all that bad.

I don't get it. (1)

Lewis Daggart (539805) | more than 3 years ago | (#32686588)

Mc Donalds makes child portioned meals more attractive to children by providing them with toys. How is making the kid actually want 4 nuggets, an apple dipper and some juice instead of a bigmac going to make him fatter?

McDonald's undercuts parental authority? (2, Interesting)

asdf7890 (1518587) | more than 3 years ago | (#32688194)

If you think McDonald's undercuts your parental authority then you had no parental authority to start with, and as much .

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UtwMRnc_oU0&feature=fvsr

Re:McDonald's undercuts parental authority? (2, Interesting)

asdf7890 (1518587) | more than 3 years ago | (#32688244)

Not sure what happened there, managed to post without a chunk of the comment... That should have been:

"If you think McDonald's undercuts your parental authority then you had no parental authority to start with, and as much as I dislike McD's I must say I'm pretty sure your fat kid isn't their fault."

Re:McDonald's undercuts parental authority? (1)

blazer1024 (72405) | more than 3 years ago | (#32690638)

Yeah, exactly.

There's this little thing that parents seem to forget these days called "saying no".

When my daughter would ask to go to McDonald's, I would say no. She may have thrown a fit the first few times, but I didn't let it get to me. Eventually, she stopped asking.

I see so many parents say something like "Well I don't think that's a good idea..." the kids then throw a fit and they give in to avoid the screaming. All this does is teaches them that screaming gets them what they want. It's bad for you and them in the long run.

Say no when you mean no, let them have their fits but NEVER give in. In the long run, they'll give up on the fits, and you'll both be happier.

Australia does it different (2, Interesting)

StantonSmith (1533489) | more than 3 years ago | (#32690194)

Over here in Australia 'Maccers' is giving out shrek ear toys in happy meals only if the kid has 'ogre apples' (cut up apples, should be onions imo) instead of fries. Seems they are realising the only way to make kids healthy is buying them off.

Re:Australia does it different (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32695784)

That's assuming the kid eats the apples.

Re:Australia does it different (1)

Abreu (173023) | more than 3 years ago | (#32712118)

That's assuming the kid eats the apples.

At least they won't be eating the fries...

Re:Australia does it different (1)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 3 years ago | (#32715762)

This doesn't help. This teaches kids that they get benefits before earning them. The kid can have the "ogre apples" and get the ears, then throw the apples on the floor and scream for fries.

It's not 'Maccers' fault, it's the parents. Just saying that kids are smart little bastards, and very capable of working the system to get what they want. Best to just teach them what's good and bad, and explain why, then let them make the decision (And by that, I mean "eat the red berries" yourself and eat healthy food with your kids).

Re:Australia does it different (1)

pwagland (472537) | more than 3 years ago | (#32715932)

Over here in Australia 'Maccers' is giving out shrek ear toys in happy meals only if the kid has 'ogre apples' (cut up apples, should be onions imo) instead of fries. Seems they are realising the only way to make kids healthy is buying them off.

Actually, I think that this is a good solution to the problem. The kids are still eating the burgers/nuggets which are not exactly healthy, but at least you are putting something healthy into the mix. And yes, I do think that Apples are healthy ;-)

but if i can't blame everybody else (2, Insightful)

nopainogain (1091795) | more than 3 years ago | (#32691080)

for my problems then who's left?!?! the kid cant drive himself to mcdonalds and the odds are the kid doesnt have his own money to load up on deep-fried-carcinogens.

Re:but if i can't blame everybody else (2, Interesting)

nopainogain (1091795) | more than 3 years ago | (#32691274)

being an IRRESPONSIBLE LAZY PARENT contributes to obesity by putting people in their cars with their kids driving to fast food restaurants to eat crap~!

** notice from reality ** (4, Insightful)

FuckingNickName (1362625) | more than 3 years ago | (#32700870)

1. The brain is a biological organ like any other, able to be manipulated and programmed - "personal responsibility" is a philosophical fiction with a certain limited degree of practical application (e.g. to legal principles) but which cannot be applied to a scientific analysis of animal behaviour;

2. Few /.ers may be in kids' advertising, but it works and it works and then it works some more - if you think there is no problem with encouraging bad behaviour "because no-one's forcing you to do it" then you ought to question your premises;

3. In particular, if you think anyone should be able to make a buck as long as they're not putting a gun to your head, your position is one of self-interest and your opinion is motivated by creating a world full of people fucking each other over;

4. "Parents need to acquiesce less to kids' demands" and "McDonalds should stop pounding kids with advertising to help them get fat" are not mutually exclusive. If you wonder why everyone's eating out and getting fat, perhaps you should cut through the screen of political correctness and check out how families were generally arranged 30 years ago - who isn't at home now to make the meals?

Re:** notice from reality ** (1)

grasshoppa (657393) | more than 3 years ago | (#32719530)

Bullshit.

One of the major problems with the country is the lack of willpower exhibited by supposed adults. It's even worse when we are talking about parents. I don't fault McDonald's in their efforts, I do fault parent's inability to say no. It's not hard, certainly not hard when your child understands that YOU are in charge.

Who do you propose we put in charge of monitoring companies? A government agency? That's never a good answer, as most government agencies couldn't find their ass with both hands. The ultimate answer is that parents need to instill the will power in their children themselves, not some agency run on incompetence.

Re:** notice from reality ** (2, Insightful)

Fantastic Lad (198284) | more than 3 years ago | (#32722664)

Yes, yes. We get it. What you're really saying is, "Look at me! I have my shit together! I'm smarter and stronger, and everybody should strive to be me!"

So, fine then. Good for you! Here's a gold sticker! You should be praised and patted on the head.

People who rail on about personal responsibility are often the least aware people on the planet. They really, honestly, truly believe that they are indestructible, that they are immune to mind programming.

But if I were to take you and strap you down and feed you drugged food every day hit you with sleep deprivation, your vaunted will-power would be mush within 72 hours. Within two weeks, a smart programmer could have you shaven-headed, dressed in a robe and shaking a tambourine for donations at the airport.

The "Lone Wolf" is a myth. Everybody can be broken. You are fooling yourself if you think you are somehow special and exempt from the realities of the human psyche. As Pavlov discovered, even a strong dog can be broken if you first broke its health.

The fact of the matter is that mind-control techniques of this nature are played out upon the populace of the world in slow form. They work and they need to be addressed and understood. The government has a vested interest in NOT helping, but that's not the point. Yes, people are stupid and they certainly need to be more aware, but you cannot condemn the ignorant for being ignorant. The fact that you are condemning them is a direct proof that the dumbing-down tactics employed are effective.

-FL

Re:** notice from reality ** (1)

grasshoppa (657393) | more than 3 years ago | (#32724564)

Except...I'm not being strapped down, force fed bullshit. It's advertising, and I have the option of walking away from it. The will power argument applies here, strictly BECAUSE it's one's choice whether they pay attention or not.

Nice straw man though.

Re:** notice from reality ** (2, Insightful)

Fantastic Lad (198284) | more than 3 years ago | (#32733540)

Except...I'm not being strapped down, force fed bullshit. It's advertising, and I have the option of walking away from it. The will power argument applies here, strictly BECAUSE it's one's choice whether they pay attention or not.

Yes, you are VERY special.

You probably have a healthy brain, were probably fed well as a child, you probably had authority figures in your life who placed importance on critical thinking and passed those values on to you, you probably had access to books and time and space to develop a strong will and the ability to discern lies from truth.

A great many people do NOT have those benefits.

You are working from a state of high benefit to condemn those who are not as smart as or as gifted as you as though these areas of lack were deliberately acquired based on fully informed choices. You might as well condemn house pets for not having thumbs.

All men were NOT created equal. If everybody was exactly the same as you, and they made poor choices, then you would have some legitimate complaint, but they were not. As such, you are blowing hot air either out of impatience or conceit.

As such, it is NOT a straw man argument. If it were, then there wouldn't be an obesity problem in the U.S.

The question becomes this: "Is it morally okay to trick a dog because the dog technically has the option of not being tricked?"

-FL

Re:** notice from reality ** (1)

grasshoppa (657393) | more than 3 years ago | (#32734040)

If you want to boil it down to such a question, then yes; it is morally and ethically OK to trick a person ( not a dog, straw man again ) when they have a choice otherwise.

Unless you want to argue that only a small subset of people in the world ( or this country ) are responsible for their own choices, and as such only those can be held responsible for their actions. That's not a road I want to go down, nor is it sustainable in any sense.

Stupid people will make stupid decisions, but it's their choice and no one else's; hence their responsibility.

Re:** notice from reality ** (1)

Fantastic Lad (198284) | more than 3 years ago | (#32734914)

Stupid people will make stupid decisions, but it's their choice and no one else's; hence their responsibility.

Exactly. Except the difference is that you are able to say it now without hate.

Feels better, doesn't it?

-FL

Re:** notice from reality ** (2, Insightful)

Jaysyn (203771) | more than 3 years ago | (#32736026)

2. Few /.ers may be in kids' advertising, but it works and it works and then it works some more - if you think there is no problem with encouraging bad behaviour "because no-one's forcing you to do it" then you ought to question your premises;

You're letting your kids watch television with ads, there is your first mistake.

I don't get it... (2, Insightful)

Thraxy (1782662) | more than 3 years ago | (#32701466)

The only kids that will get fat from happy meals are the ones which are taken to McD by their parents. How does taking away the toy help? "No sweety, they don't have the meal with the toys anymore, but you can have the big McTasty instead"... Educate the parents, for f***s sake. McD only delivers because there is a demand. Get rid of the demand, problem solved.

Re:I don't get it... (1)

sammyF70 (1154563) | more than 3 years ago | (#32715574)

McDonald (among others) CREATES the demand for fast food with the toys, they don't answer to an already existing one. That's effective marketing for you.

Re:I don't get it... (1)

Piranhaa (672441) | more than 3 years ago | (#32721512)

The problem is with the way people think.. "It's always someone else's fault" is a quote that a lot of people live by.

Photo - US McD's? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32701558)

It doesn't quite look right.

Seriously? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32710606)

McDonald's use of toys undercuts parental authority

If a fucking piece of shit toy undermines your parental authority then you are a fucking piece of shit parent. Nobody said raising kids was going to be easy.

Missing the point (5, Interesting)

wonkavader (605434) | more than 3 years ago | (#32721082)

This summary, and even the NYT article seem to be missing the point.

The point is not that MacDonald's serves crap. We all know MacDonald's serves crap. Even MacDonald's knows MacDonald's serves crap, which is why they are constantly saying "look! We have these non-crap things on the menu, TOO!" (And even when they do that, they point to their alternative to fries -- apples you can dip in a sugar mixture. Brilliant.)

The issue is advertising to children.

To quote the article: "Citing toys aimed at promoting the latest "Shrek" movie, the Center for Science in the Public Interest said that the plastic promotions lure children into McDonald's restaurants where they are then likely to order food that is too high in calories, fat and salt."

The important part of this line should be: "Citing toys aimed at promoting the latest "Shrek" movie, the Center for Science in the Public Interest said that the plastic promotions lure children into McDonald's restaurants" Because that is ILLEGAL.

Advertising to children is not legal. It's something that we, as a society, have looked the other way on for many, many years, but there are laws aimed at preventing it. When you advertise to children, you externalize the cost of advertising to the parents because the children will nag the parents until they cave. Influencing adults costs a lot more, when you do it directly, and sometimes it's just impossible. Many parents wouldn't dream of ever taking their kids to MacDonald's, but cave when they're shrilly begged for MacDonald's for the 400th time. You want to keep your children healthy by keeping them from eating that crap, but it's far, far easier to cave than to fight your kids every single day, and even if you do, their sitter or grandmother or even their teacher on a field trip will cave. It's practically an irresistible force.

I once talked to a MacDonald's ad man (a woman, in this case) who proudly pointed out to me that Ronald never eats the burgers. You see, any MacDonald's ad is broken into segments. The entertainment segments don't advertise. The advertisement is only the parts where Ronald isn't on screen. The parts where Ronald is on screen is apparently a friggin' PSA.

The toys in the Happy meal are supposedly a value item to help an adult make a judgment to buy a happy meal because it will both feed and entertain his/her child. That's value. That's also bullshit. The toy, as we all know, is there because kids will want to go to MacDonald's to get the toy.

They're advertising to children. They need to stop.

The fact that they serve crap is immaterial.

Re:Missing the point (1)

qoncept (599709) | more than 3 years ago | (#32731424)

the Center for Science in the Public Interest said that the plastic promotions lure children into McDonald's restaurants" Because that is ILLEGAL. ... They're advertising to children. They need to stop.

Holy shit. That is the dumbest fucking think I've ever heard (including the time I heard, "Just fuckin, fuckin, fuckin, fuck you, Paul"). I'll take your word (at least for the sake of this conversation) on the fact that it actually is illegal.

you externalize the cost of advertising to the parents because the children will nag the parents until they cave

Boo fucking hoo. Might as well make it illegal to sell candy bars at grocery stores (or gas stations or baseball games or cafeterias or vending machines) because kids are going to nag parents. Might as well make it illegal to put Transformers on shoes or Sponge Bob on underwear. When your kids nag about something they shouldn't be doing, you either cave or you're a good parent.

My buddy's daughter was trying to open the door while riding in the car. His wife told her to stop once and she kept doing it. My buddy says "Make her stop doing that!" The reply? "I told her to stop but she won't." Are you fucking kidding me? Better just take the kid to McDonalds.

Re:Missing the point (1)

Jaysyn (203771) | more than 3 years ago | (#32736078)

It's illegal to advertise cigarettes & alcohol to children. The fact that there are toy & cartoon advertisements on TV makes your argument complete nonsense.

Also:

"In the United States the Federal Trade Commission studied the issue of advertising to children in the 1970s but decided against regulation." --Wikipedia

Re:Missing the point (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32747486)

Advertising to children is not legal.

Wrong. It's perfectly legal.

It's something that we, as a society, have looked the other way on for many, many years, but there are laws aimed at preventing it.

Name one.

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