29 November 2011

McDonalds Outsmarts SFO Happy Meal Ban--Are You Happy Now?

Last year, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors acted passed an ordinance requiring meals that included toys to meet specific nutritional guidelines.   The law that effectively bans McDonalds from selling Happy Meals takes effect on December 1st.

This “multigrain amendment” is another example of food fascism by an all knowing Nanny State.  But as Milton Friedman once observed: “Many people want the government to protect the consumer. A much more urgent problem is protecting the consumer from the government.”

McDonalds figured out a way to live with government micro-managing their business.  Consumers will no longer automatically receive a toy along with their Happy Meal. But kids and adult toy collectors alike can still obtain their toys for a 10 cent donation to the Ronald McDonald House along with the purchase of a Happy Meal.  Nanny State Nabobs may still nod approvingly by forcing customers to give to charity to get their cheap thrill until they realize that their nutritional dictates have been circumvented.

Since the Happy Meal is not served with a toy, it is not required to meet the strict multi-grain amendment dictates.  Thus the fast food purveyor can drop the healthy options and concentrate on selling the greasy burgers and fries that makes them a tasty treat.  Some parents might have been tempted to placate their children and their consciences by bribing their scions to eat healthy with the prospect of getting a cheap toy.  Now that m.o. is moot.  Moreover, some adult collectors would just ask for the cheap toy, but now they have to buy their fair share of burgers and fries and then donate to charity.

In all truth, the battle over Happy Meals in the city by the bay is somewhat theoretical since San Francisco has the lowest percentage of children of any major city in America.  This is a good thing, since San Francisco also bans male circumcision.

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