Okay, look, I'll be honest. These was a stage in my twenties where I lived off Jack Daniels and Happy Meals. Surprisingly, those were also my 'thin' days. I have a box somewhere full of Happy Meal toys. I loved them.
A few months ago, I had a McDonalds burger, for 'old time's sake'. I thought it was horrible. I don't know if it was just that McDonalds, a bad burger or what, but I didn't finish it and haven't had one since, nor do I really plan on introducing my daughter to McDonalds any time soon.
The Guardian had a poll this week (which is still active, so feel free to vote) to see whether we agree that Happy Meals promotions to children should be banned. So far, 60% of Gaurdian readers think yes, they should be banned, and 40% think no, they should not.
I've voted no.
I'm not promoting childhood obesity, nor do I look forward to the burden on the NHS from a bunch of fat kids turning into fat adults, but I just don't really think that it's right to sue or ban McDonalds from selling and promoting Happy Meal Toys. And if you're going to do that, you'd best remove all the sweets from check-out counters and signage from icecream shops too.
Yes, it can be hard when your child insists on collecting all the toys from a certain collection. And if that's the case, go to McDonalds every week until that collection is complete, and then say NO to the next collection. Or if you really don't want to go, there's another solution: Ebay. Or Freecycle.
My dad and I had great fun about ten years ago collecting the Snoopy dogs from Happy Meals. Every week we'd drive around to the different McDonalds in the city and ask to see what toys they had until we found one we wanted. Then we'd eat the meal and go home. There were about 16 dogs in that collection, and we got most of them. It was great fun, and something we both looked forward to every week, whether we actually ate the meal or not.
So, to those who want to ban Happy Meals, I say this: if you don't want your kid eating McDonalds, just don't take them. Exercise your parental right and just say no. Don't spoil the once in a while fun for those of us who do know how to practice moderation and are willing to take responsibility for our own children's diet and health.
What do you think? Should they be banned or not?