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Happy Meals No Longer Bringing Smiles To McDonalds
January 31, 2003 1:09 PM   Subscribe

Happy Meals No Longer Bringing Smiles To McDonalds. Best news I've heard since December. And to bring Mom ("very important to us") back into the fold, McD may begin including Mom-toys with the HMs. No, no. More like...lip gloss, or sweepstakes entries for spa visits. Stuff that would tip any conscientious mother over into the crap-for-food camp.Other ideas? Fact is, EVERY McDonalds customer should be eating the happy meal. (last link possibly NSFW)
posted by luser (23 comments total)

 
I prefer ground hamburger to ground axes.
posted by machaus at 1:18 PM on January 31, 2003


The Happy Meal conundrum may be McDonalds' achilles heel, given that it's specifically designed to help hook kids on the McD's experience. "Hook" kids? Do I exaggerate? Maybe not. Looks like lawsuits, round two, on the horizon. Is McD's gonna be even more brazen about the youth market and lose the PR war, or pull back and lose even more money?
posted by soyjoy at 1:32 PM on January 31, 2003


The Mom toys might work as lots of people probably would like to get some nice or useful little thing "free" - but I suggest they be called something other than Mom toys. Both the Mom bit and toy bit are problematic.

I don't know if the carrot and apple thing will work. I figure a main attraction of a restaurant is to get something you can't easily make at home. Also you can get pounds of either apples and carrots for a few dollars. Will people really be willing to pay nearly the same amount for a few pieces of raw carrot and apple just to save themselves the trouble of cutting them up?

Oh, and luser, did you really mean to link us to the Church of Satan? Maybe I didn't look into it carefully enough, but I didn't see a Rotten Ronnie's connection. Not sorry I visited the site though - Satan looks like he just got back from being the main attraction at a Gay Pride parade.
posted by orange swan at 1:39 PM on January 31, 2003


I proudly took my daughter to McDonald's the other day for her first Happy Meal (it was her birthday). There was no mention of Happy Meals anywhere on the menu, although I got one when I ordered it. Maybe sales would increase if the product was on the menu?

BTW, she loved the fries, loved the Hi-C and refused to eat the Chicken McNuggets. My kid is awesome.
posted by vraxoin at 1:41 PM on January 31, 2003


orangeswan, yes, mcdonalds=Satan.

And now, because it's only OK when I do it...

Metafilter: Did You Really Mean To Link Us To The Church Of Satan?
posted by luser at 1:45 PM on January 31, 2003


Lip gloss?
Lip gloss?!?
Is it suddenly 1973?
posted by Outlawyr at 1:49 PM on January 31, 2003


Silly, don't you know that moms love lip gloss.
posted by tolkhan at 1:50 PM on January 31, 2003


"yes, mcdonalds=Satan"

Why?
posted by y6y6y6 at 2:11 PM on January 31, 2003


Will people really be willing to pay nearly the same amount for a few pieces of raw carrot and apple just to save themselves the trouble of cutting them up?

Since I see a lot of people in the produce department of my local grocery store buying pre-cut salad mixes and pre-cut carrots and whatnot, and paying two or three times as much as I do for the unprocessed veggies which I cut up myself at home, I'd have to say ... yes, they will.
posted by Orb at 3:49 PM on January 31, 2003


Anti-McDonalds propaganda = yawn.
Pro-McDonalds propaganda = yawn.

People comparing McDonalds to Satan = people that seriously need a reality check.
posted by mschmidt at 4:00 PM on January 31, 2003


"yes, mcdonalds=Satan"

Why?
posted by y6y6y6


....hm?
posted by thomcatspike at 4:32 PM on January 31, 2003


There was no mention of Happy Meals anywhere on the menu, although I got one when I ordered it. Maybe sales would increase if the product was on the menu?

In recent years, McDonald's Corp. has puzzled over how to expand beyond two core markets, young men and children.


Where to start, one thing I notice repeatedly on the menu, Sorry at this time we are.....[fill in the blank with your desired toy], nor do we know when we will have more.

Gee was that so hard to figure out, you have been selling toys, not food.

Again, you are selling toys & for the men, where is the Beef?
posted by thomcatspike at 4:42 PM on January 31, 2003


dude, I'm a mom, and I LOVE lipgloss. I can't WAIT to get a mom toy.
posted by padraigin at 4:55 PM on January 31, 2003


I have a soft spot in my [plaque and chlorestoral choked ]heart for McDonalds. I grew up in a town that didn't have a McDonalds and remember the parade when the first store opened.

What McDonalds does need to do is get back to the roots of being a place to bring the kids. Although I hate clowns, I make an exception for Ronald. I had a stuffed Hamburgeler toy when I was a kid. Bring back Gremlin, Mayor McCheese and that Shake thing that looked like Gremlin. Kill off that bird. That didn't work.

Going to McDonalds was a BIG DEAL when I was a kid. They need to bring that feeling back.

Making better tasting and healthier food would be a good start. Then advertising the hell out of it being the place for kids -little kids and big kids. Like others say, make the Happy Meal the center of everything. Make going to McDonald's be an event for kids.

I have spent too much time thinking about marketing strategies for McD's. It is my version of the guy that's gone to all those Starbucks.
posted by birdherder at 5:07 PM on January 31, 2003


despite the consistent anti-corporate talk on mefi, i continue to be surprised at how much glee people take in watching companies go through hard times. Does it matter that over 395,000 people work there? Or is it more that you are happy to save people from themselves by removing the option of eating at McDonalds?

If you dont like their products, dont eat them. If enough people vote like you do by not eating there, the menu will change. Its really that simple.

And dont insult me, a member of the 'masses', by saying that the corporation has tricked me with deceptive marketing into believing something to be untrue about their products and thus they deserve to die.

McDonalds is not satan. McDonalds is not evil. The mgmt of McDonalds is not trying to kill you. McDonalds offers a product that many people continue to enjoy.

Anyways, thats my .02
posted by H. Roark at 5:24 PM on January 31, 2003


Ronald?
posted by eddydamascene at 6:20 PM on January 31, 2003


McDonalds is not evil.

Sing it, brother. The lure of McD's, for my family, is very simple.... My sister has five year old twins. Where ever we happen to go in America (and we go a lot of places) we always know that, should all else fail, we'll be able to get a cheap meal that the boys are 100% sure to eat. No kicking, no fussing, no whining - just full tummies asleep in the back seat while we drive another 100 miles to the next hotel, and a new toy that will hold their interest for (perhaps) 24 hours.

I'm sure some of my fellow MeFites are reeling back in horror right now that we would be such rotten and terrible adults as to feed the boy's food from this fat-laced chain monstrosity, but I submit that until you've driven from Maine to Omaha via Chicago with two five year old boys strapped into the back seat, you're in no place to judge.

I don't know what we'd do without the Happy Meal. I really don't.
posted by anastasiav at 9:29 PM on January 31, 2003


What "mom" are they targetting? The 16-year old, unwed kind? Lipgloss indeed.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 6:01 AM on February 1, 2003


Wow, I am surprised by all of this pro-McDonald's sentiment. Maybe Fast Food Nation was just a bunch of propaganda. Let me get this straight.... The fact that the rampant obesity in this country has been linked to fast food is all in my imagination. I am sure there is also no link between consuming substandard beef and cancer or heart problems. I guess the notion that the McDonald's corporation has systematically created or sought out cheaper, increasingly less humane ways of processing its food certainly does not make them evil or satanic. Also, apparently working there, which I have done and which I have long understood to be one of the least desirable jobs in the United States, is actually not so bad at all. I guess the fact that the poor are a target market and often have little else to choose from for lack of time and money is also just a bunch of hooey.

I am going to MAKE my kids eat happy meals. Oh yes. Up with McDonalds! Up with America!
posted by edamame at 9:04 AM on February 1, 2003


The fact that the rampant obesity in this country has been linked to fast food is all in my imagination.

How about sedentary lifestyles?

I am sure there is also no link between consuming substandard beef and cancer or heart problems.

Is there? Obesity is directly related to a host of health problems, but substandard beef alone is not the cause of obesity.

I guess the notion that the McDonald's corporation has systematically created or sought out cheaper, increasingly less humane ways of processing its food certainly does not make them evil or satanic.

This is an industry phenomenon, not limited to McDonald's corporation. Abuses are widespread, and reform is necessary. But how far do we go to improve the quality of life of slaughtered animals? What if humane processing put the cost of meat out of reach for lower income families?

Also, apparently working there, which I have done and which I have long understood to be one of the least desirable jobs in the United States, is actually not so bad at all.

As mentioned before, they provide almost 400,000 jobs. How do things improve without them?

I guess the fact that the poor are a target market and often have little else to choose from for lack of time and money is also just a bunch of hooey.

People opt out for the convenience of fast food; home preparation is cheaper, and can be done very quickly.

Oh yes. Up with McDonalds! Up with America!

So you just give up then? On everything? As much as I loathe McDonalds, I find the situation to be a lot more complicated than you present it.
posted by eddydamascene at 1:45 PM on February 1, 2003


Umm... sure. Does the fact that they have McDonald's all over the world and only in America do people depend on cars to the degree we do say anything to you? People in Europe eat tons of fat. If it's not fast food it's German sausages and French cream sauces etc.

The difference isn't the diet, it's the lifestyle. It's that Americans have the idea that they need to get in their car to go somewhere half a mile away, that if you live in a suburb, even if you were up to walking, the cities are laid out precisely to discourage that.

Fast food is an easy scapegoat because the sort of people who'd read a book like Schlosser's are the sort of people who can easily afford to never eat at fast food, and would probably enjoy feeling superior to those who did no matter what.
posted by dagnyscott at 7:17 AM on February 3, 2003


Whoa, whoa whoa...

the sort of people who can easily afford to never eat at fast food... ?

Uh, no. Anyone can afford never to eat fast food. Fast food is more expensive than whole food. That sentence seems somewhat paternalistic toward McD's lower-income customer base (and employee base, speaking as a former one). What fast food is, of course, is more convenient than whole food. But if we're going to be all about personal responsibility here, let's not make McD's customers into unwilling automatons just because they choose convenience over health.

Schlosser's book contains a wealth of factual reporting, which you can either dispute or accept. If you accept it as true, it's prety damning of McD's entire system. If you dispute the facts, go ahead. But if you can't, don't reach for that old shtick of "only elitists can afford to care about massive injustices in the world."
posted by soyjoy at 8:01 AM on February 3, 2003


>Fast food is an easy scapegoat because the sort of people who'd read a book like Schlosser's are the sort of people who can easily afford to never eat at fast food, and would probably enjoy feeling superior to those who did no matter what.

As I mentioned, I worked in a McDonald's and furthermore I grew up in an extremely rural, poor area of Pennsylvania. The fact that I choose to never eat fast food now has little do to with my socioeconomic situation and much to do with the fact that my mother is extremely overweight -- not from eating fast food, but from thyroid problems and way, way too much candy -- and I have taken a lot of responsibility for finding out what I am putting into my body and where it came from.

I was surprised to find so many people in this thread poo-pooing the widely available information regarding the practices of McDonald's, which is all about cutting costs, and making the "cooking" as low-skilled and automatic as possible.

For example, instead of cooking the hard-boiled eggs in their salads, we received a giant barrel of previously cooked eggs in some kind of preservative liquid. After working there for three months, I never wanted to eat there again. I can attest that these 400,000 jobs that McDonald's supplies are extremely high turnover. No one wants to work there, no one is excited about this job.

I think much of the appeal of McDonald's in American society comes from the idea of rewarding oneself -- "f*** it, it tastes good!" -- an extremely unconscientious attitude affirmed by marketing which, when spread to other spheres of life, seems like a dangerous way to live these days.
posted by edamame at 9:59 AM on February 3, 2003


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