The Unhappy Meal letter

Dear mega-giant fast food chains,

Because I so often frequent your restaurants, there’s something I thought I would bring to your attention that has obviously been blinded by years of grease buildup and ketchup stains. While I adore the kid’s meal idea more than the fruit-instead-of-fries option, a major flaw has developed over time and I would be remiss if I didn’t let you know just how I feel.
I’m not the kind of mom who eats fast food out of laziness; I’d much rather eat a homemade meal. Instead, I’m the kind of mom who finds herself toting children and running errands all around the state on a regular basis, most of the time running late and yelling “hurry up!” until I’m blue in the face. Sure, my car is well stocked with snacks, but sometimes a kid (and a mom) just has to eat something substantial.
Unfortunately, we’re a traveling band rivaling the gypsies I’m always threatening to sell my children to, and I can order a Happy Meal better than anyone else I know out of sheer practice. Most definitely I am better than my husband, because it’s a well known fact that men cannot successfully order a child’s meal at a drive through window if their life depended on it.
I’m well-versed in the kid’s meal at most any fast food establishment, mostly because we gauge our visitation on the toy de jour. I have such fond memories of my visits to your restaurants. Once we got past my father’s ordering bumbles, I knew what was waiting for me: cheeseburger, fries, fruit punch, and a wonderful, fabulous toy. I collected race cars, cassette tapes, tiny puzzles, quality dolls. Each item a genuine toy, something real I could hold, cherish, and eventually lose in the cracks in the back seat of our wood-sided station wagon. But for those first few days, it was really great.
And that’s where you’ve gone wrong.
Today’s toys are as lacking as the nutrients in the French fries. We recently drove past our favorite place (judged by my preferred coffee) because the toys all involved a movie we’ll never see, only to find another fast food restaurant advertising a different movie.
This time, though, it was a movie rated PG-13.
My children are ages 2, 6, and 8. They don’t watch PG-13 movies. Not that I personally wanted to see the movie either, but now my children are the proud owners of paraphernalia of a movie they won’t see for years to come.
So I ask, just why are you marketing “toys” (“oh, mom, what fun! A purse with a picture of some strange man on it!”) to children who have no idea what they are looking at? You’d be better off giving them an algebra workbook or a locket with a picture of my grandmother in it.
Because of the excellent way we’ve all learned to eat and scarf down super-sized portions, the only people small enough to actually eat a regular size meal are nowhere near the age that could even purchase a ticket to see a movie of that sort. What happened to age appropriate toys? Why have girls become babies when they play with dolls at age 8? Why are racecars so old and boring for boys? Where did we all go wrong?
In a time where our children’s innocence is slipping away further and further with each click of the mouse or the remote control, I truly wish that you, Great Fryer of the Chicken Nugget, could help us busy parents in our losing battle of raising children and not minature adults.
That would make my meal very, very happy.
Number four, hold the cheese and mayo, and can you sub in a coffee please?


BECKY said…
Hey Karrie! I SO agree with you!! Love your posts, always!!
Anonymous said…
Thank you for your post! I agree with you 100%! Yesterday my 11/2 year old daughter got a cast put on her arm. To reward her for being such a good girl I took her to get a Happy Meal. I have gotten into the habit of throwing the toys away before she sees them. (Nothing cheers up a little girl like a "skunk" looking buffalo that shoots a bird out of the top of his head!) What ever happened to "My Little Pony"?
~ Mom in Apple Creek ~
Anonymous said…
I love reading your thoughts! I can't help but comment on this post. Thank you for the reminder that kids are suppose to be kids, not adults in little bodies! My husband and I recently watched a very funny, very entertaining movie that was rated PG. At first sight my husband groaned, but after viewing it we both agreed that it is too bad that movies geared for adults but rated PG don't do well in the box office. In this case it had nothing to do with the lack of humor or good plot, just not enough junk. I think the "big machines" that push movies, toys, entertainment need to be reminded that what is good doesn't have to be boring.

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