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A Long overdue Jump onto the soapbox

mcdonalds.jpg Ok, so remember a long time ago during “The Great Sickout of 2007” when I mentioned I had a beef with McDonalds. I know you have been waiting on the edge of your seats for this post. Well, my friends, I don’t disappoint.

Lily, like many other children of her generation, loves McDonalds Happy Meals. We don’t eat them often, but as you other mommies know, a Micky D run may happen from time to time. What is the draw of McDonalds to a toddler? Greasy food, overpriced “meat”, red and yellow ambiance? No, it is the toy. I swear Lily would eat a salad there if it came with a toy (maybe I’m on to something ingenious).

So as soon as I got the Happy Meal, Lily immediately started asking what the toy is. Imagine my delight when I pulled this out:

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Is this appropriate for a 4 year old? Is this appropriate for anyone? I had to launch into a discussion of modesty and appropriate dress to someone who had no clue what I was talking about and just wanted to play with her toy. You would think jewelry was in that thing. Needless to say she handled it well, but I did not need to be put in this position.

When did Happy Meal toys go from fuzzy and cute to slutty and cheap? OK, so they were always cheap, but I mean the other kind of cheap. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised given the Britney-fied, Bratz culture we live in, but is it too much to ask to want to wait until Lily is, oh I don’t know, 6, to see this stuff.

So I would like to say we should all boycott McDonalds. I’d like to say that I am boycotting McDonalds, but that probably won’t realistically happen. I would like to say I am writing them an angry letter, but I haven’t done that either. What should us mothers do? Not just mothers of daughters, those of you with sons are affected to. They are growing up looking at the same images assaulting them. What do you do?

Comments

  1. I have no answers. How do you keep your kiddos away from this crap? It is everywhere, and so disturbing. I want to hide my kiddos from this…how???

  2. We have had this same problem with my nephew over the toys. The boy toys aren’t much better. Violent cartoon characters, etc. So, last year I made a deal with my nephew and the little girl I babysat.

    IF we ate at McD’s(which wasn’t often) and the toy was inappropriate, I would “buy” their Happy Meal toy from them for $1. Then, after leaving McDonalds we would go to the Dollar Tree and they could spend their $1. It saved a lot of arguing and yelling, because they never even saw their toy. I took it out of the bag before giving it to them, and then they got their $1. :-)

  3. That’s terrible!!! We go to McD’s maybe 2 times a year. But, if I see a good Happy Meal toy I will ride through, pick up a Diet Coke and buy the toy by itself (did you know you could do that?). Like when they had Build a Bear toy, I picked up several of those. Because oddly enough, my kids favorite toys have always been Happy Meal toys. One time at a yard sale I found an entire bag of toys and bought them 2.00. My kids thought I was a rock star that day. But, I would be terribly dissappointed if I pulled that toy out. My girls would be too! I’m assuming that’s a Bratz doll. My oldest can’t stand Bratz dolls. She won’t even walk down the aisle at Walmart where they sell the 5,000 different kinds. She says the faces look scary and they are too fancy!

    I’m with you girl! Write a letter!

  4. Heather H says:

    Yet another reason that McD’s is wrong, oh so wrong, on so many levels. As if marketing nutritiously anemic and addicting foods directly to children wasn’t bad enough, now they’re giving them toys with scantily dressed women. McDs really chaps my you-know-what. And I’m not surprised that you got sick from their beef – as Eric Schlosser says, “There’s sh*t in the meat.”

  5. Back in the day when I used to work, I traveled a lot. I met a guy on a plane that worked for a major toy company – Tyco. I asked him who his biggest customer was, thinking it would be Toys R Us. Nope. It was McDonalds.
    I do think you should write a letter though via email and send a link to this post, and show them all of these comments from concerned moms. That toy is totally inappropriate for a young child. I think I’d even be kinda mad if my husband wanted one.

  6. We have actually opted for the toddler toy (for our older children)several times, knowing that the “age appropriate toy” was any thing but appropriate.

    They have also become accustomed to not getting a happy meal at all, but sharing an adult portion between the three of them. They get pop instead of a toy and that usually works for us.

  7. We boycott McDonalds for diet reasons being demi-vegetarian….they put beef in EVERTHING! Including the french fries, buns, and probably even the milk shakes. I think the last time we ate at MCDonalds was on a road trip in desperate need of some breakfast, and it was the only thing in the middle of Missouri.

    Onto the doll. I FORBID Bratz dolls in my house. They are slutty looking, and WAY inappropriate for young children….especially girls. I would lock Clare in her room if she came out looking like that. Everytime she sees a commercial for the dolls she says she wants them. I explained to her that I don’t like the way the dolls dress, and they wear too much make-up. I also tell her how much I dislike their clothing, as I don’t run around with my tummy hanging out like that. I hope that you do write to McD’s, and link back here. I think it would be a great step for all mom’s that dislike their propaganda they use to get our children into their resturaunt.

  8. Denise says:

    We’ve gotten away from always needing the Happy Meal when we go to McDonald’s. The only reason they don’t insist on the toy is becuase my mother-in-law truely loves McDonalds. Don’t ask me how often she eats there – that’s another issue. Anyway, she will actually go and buy up all the toys they are offering in the happy meals, just to give them to the grandkids. So my kids are sure to get every “wonderful” item that McDonalds promotes. Aren’t we lucky!? NOT. So how to I tell my daughter she can’t have these great dolls that Grandma gave her? Oh the fun……

  9. I know exactly what you mean. I cannot stand Bratz dolls and I’d love to see the toys that we used to get as kids. I think it’s important for each of us who disagree with their toy choices, to write to them and let them know we’d like to see more modest toys. It may take a long time for them to “hear” us but if we do nothing, they’ll never hear us. I also like the idea of buying an alternate product and taking your child to the Dollar Tree for a cheap toy. I think it’s really important also to explain this to our children (who are age appropriate). They need to know what people are throwing at them and why it’s wrong. This is just another great opportunity to teach our children to fear God and keep His commands.

  10. As soon as I found out I was having a girl I began wondering how to phrase “any Bratz gift items will be going straight to the incinerator,” nicely. It’s been two years and I still haven’t figured it out, any tips?

  11. We got one of those in our happy meal a while back too. I was also appalled that that was the girls toy! If you find out who to write to put it on your blog- I’ll write too. I think that Wendy Darling’s about buying the toys back is a great idea. We’re a “No Bratz” household too- luckily it hasn’t been an issue yet.

  12. They should definitely change the name of that toy line from “Bratz” to “Whores”! I agree, they are slutty and disgusting. I would not allow my girls to have one of them either, even if they threw an all out fit in McDonalds! NO friggin way!

  13. Administrator says:

    I started a McDonald’s boycott simply because every time we went through the drive-thru they would mess up our order and they never wanted to be accountable for their oversight. And since so many of them are franchises they don’t feel the need to make customer satisfaction part of their motto anymore. Now, If you must make a Mc D’s run, then do not order the kids a happy meal. You can order everything ala carte and you may even save a few pennies. Be true to yourself and write them, or call and why not ask everyone to boycott them if even for just a little while. I know that our family is saving a lot of money by not hitting the fast food joints and opting o make our own burger and pizza joint food here at home. It’s a lot cheaper, we get great customer service and no one is racing for the bathroom 20 minutes after they eat!!!

  14. We got that one too, and I was also appalled. As several others have mentioned, we enforce a no-Bratz zone at our house, and I was none too pleased to have this show up. And of COURSE my daughter loved it. Fortunately, I think the obsession only lasted a few days and this doll probably now resides in the couch cushions or some various other place toys go when they die.

    McDonald’s currently has toys from the Bee Movie – a much safer bet. I am very ashamed of myself for knowing this.

  15. Ugh. That is a horrible toy. Somebody get her a BURKA.

  16. j2andn2 says:

    We can’t all boycot McDonald’s, but you can make the choice for your family not to go there. First, there is the horrible nutritional aspect of the place!! Then, as you mentioned the toys. Do you all have a chick-fil-a where you live? May I suggest the times you need a fast-food option, you should go there. It’s still fast food, as far as nutrition goes, but it is better than McDonalds! And the toys they have are always educational, uplifting, and fun! Also, you could do the subway thing. That is what my son and I do often. We actually don’t do the kids meal thing, but split a foot long. I don’t think they have toys though. But much healthier, for sure as a McD kid’s meal has 15 grams of fat, and subway has 3 grams.
    So, I say McD’s will never change…but you can! :-)

  17. Another great place to get a kids meal from is Taco Bell. They have very creative toys in their meals. Clare just got these great “bird glasses” that you wear as a way of dressing up. I put them on and scared the daylights out of her when she was in the shower! Much better than the Bratz doll.

  18. Lesley says:

    Go to Chic-fil-A. They have the best ‘toys’. They are usually educational books.

  19. My boys love Chick-fil-a, so whenever possible we try to go there instead of the golden arches. Chick-fil-A was established by a Christian family, and they still hold to those roots today. All of the toy/gifts in their kiddie meals are appropriate and usually educational – and my boys love them…

  20. Amanda says:

    Thank you!! I also got up in arms when my 4-year-old received one of the other varieties of this “doll”. I planned to write a letter, but life interfered and I never got around to it. I did go back there one time during the same promotion, but I asked for the boy’s toy, a car, instead. I do have to say we really enjoyed the Hello Kitty stuff (probably filled with lead as it was made in China:-) and the Beanie Babies. We don’t go there all the time (despite what this sounds like!), but it is a treat for my daughter, and seeing that bare midriff, barely there shorts doll was NOT a treat for Mom!!

  21. Yikes! Somehow we missed that “gem” on our trips to MCD. There are very few decent Happy meal toys it seems like – not that they are like the one you got – but they just seem useless…it’s not so much about providing a toy for you – it’s about promoting movies.

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