McDonalds Gets Around the Happy Meal Toy Ban

Helen Whalen Cohen
Posted: Nov 30, 2011 1:28 PM

Here at Townhall, we've held a longstanding belief that it isn't the role of government to meddle in private business practices. Not only does it distort market signals and squeeze the costs elsewhere (almost always to the consumer), but it almost always has a different effect from what the regulators intend. And yet, there are some bureacrats who can't seem to remember that last part. Such is the case with San Francisco's Happy Meal toy ban. Supervisor Eric Mar proposed that kids meals containing too much fat and sugar would not be able to include a toy. His belief-that the ordinance could influence people to make healthy choices at McDonald's of all places was met with ridicule.

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Now it looks like those proposed regulations have come back and hit the Supervisor in the face. Instead of offering Happy Meals which automatically include a toy, McD's will now offer the Happy Meal and charge an additional 10 cents for the toy. Parents who want a toy for their children can no longer get it without purchasing a Happy Meal, and all additional proceeds will go to the Ronald McDonald House. In other words, the San Francisco law will lead to increased Happy Meal sales and additional profits for the company.