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California's Santa Clara County Bans Happy Meal Toys 756

Posted by timothy
from the when-self-righteousness-attacks dept.
WrongSizeGlass writes "The L.A. Times is reporting that Santa Clara County officials have voted to ban toys and other promotions that restaurants offer with high-calorie children's meals. 'This ordinance prevents restaurants from preying on children's love of toys' to sell high-calorie, unhealthful food, said Supervisor Ken Yeager, who sponsored the measure. 'This ordinance breaks the link between unhealthy food and prizes.' Supervisor Donald Gage, who voted against the measure, said, 'If you can't control a 3-year-old child for a toy, God save you when they get to be teenagers.' The vote was 3 - 2 in favor of the ban."
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California's Santa Clara County Bans Happy Meal Toys

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  • I swear.... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Em Emalb (452530) <ememalb@@@gmail...com> on Wednesday April 28, 2010 @02:56PM (#32019156) Homepage Journal

    California may as well be a whole 'nother country.

    I know, let's not bother with that thing known as personal responsibility, let's legislate EVERYTHING!

    Hey parents, your kids wouldn't be so fat if you didn't feed them crap food and let them sit on their butts in front of the t.v. all day and night.

    • Re:I swear.... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by ArcherB (796902) on Wednesday April 28, 2010 @03:07PM (#32019372) Journal

      I know, let's not bother with that thing known as personal responsibility, let's legislate EVERYTHING!

      Whole heartedly agree!

      I don't even know if it's so much personal responsibility, as that means responsibility for one's self. This is about parental responsibility. Which makes me laugh when I read, "This ordinance prevents restaurants from preying on children's love of toys' to sell high-calorie, unhealthful toys..." Kids shouldn't have a say. If the parents are doing their jobs, it won't matter who the restaurants prey upon.

      Besides, it not so much the toys that bring 'em in. It's parent's being too lazy/busy to make dinner for their child. As a parent, I can understand this as my wife and I work three jobs between us and go to school. Sometimes, it's kinda nice to eat out on the cheap. (We do Chick-fil-A. Does that count as crap food?) The toy is just a bonus to keep our child busy long enough so we can finish our meals with some level of peace. (Besides, I like to play with them too)

      What's next? Are they going to ban the playgrounds, clown mascotts and kid's clubs?

      • Re:I swear.... (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Moryath (553296) on Wednesday April 28, 2010 @03:26PM (#32019778)

        I still stop by McDonald's/Burger King when they have nifty toys. Usually they'll sell you just the toy for around a buck or so. They're good for having around when friends bring their kids along to board game night.

        As for the Granola State (land of fruits, nuts, and flakes), yeah. Must be something in the water out there that makes them all insane.

        Honestly, what are they going to do next? Ban Cracker Jack boxes? The crap coming in those barely qualifies as a "toy" these days.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by b0bby (201198)

        I prefer to take my kids to Chick-Fil-A too, even though I myself don't eat meat & I don't particularly agree with their corporate mission ("glorify god"). The chicken seems to be better, and the "toys" are often books or educational CDs; most of the McDonalds or Burger King toys get discarded quickly because they're not very adaptable. We might hit one of those places once a month, though, so we don't get through many of them.

        • Re:I swear.... (Score:5, Informative)

          by RobertLTux (260313) <robert AT laurencemartin DOT org> on Wednesday April 28, 2010 @04:05PM (#32020494)

          the reason the chicken tastes better is 2 things

          1 the chicken is shipped in as Raw fillets they then thaw out pans and then prep them and cook them
          2 They use peanut oil and a pressure cooker (note this is why if you are very allergic to peanuts you can't eat chik-fil-a food or be in the kitchen end of the restaurant for very long)

          oh and i love the fact that corporation wide NOBODY works on sunday

      • Re:I swear.... (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Burning1 (204959) on Wednesday April 28, 2010 @04:15PM (#32020732) Homepage

        I always like how posts like this start out with 'Parents should' instead of 'My kids...'

        I'm not a parent myself, but I've spent years working with them, teaching children. The reality of raising a child isn't nearly as simple as you make it out to be.

      • Re:I swear.... (Score:5, Interesting)

        by jemenake (595948) on Wednesday April 28, 2010 @04:17PM (#32020782)

        I don't even know if it's so much personal responsibility, as that means responsibility for one's self. This is about parental responsibility.

        And Supervisor Donald Gage agrees with you. The problem is, we've tried that for decades and it isn't working. The "personal responsibility" people stamp their feet and complain "It's the parents' responsibility! It's the parents' responsibility! (stamp, stamp, stamp...)". Hey, why don't you stamp your feet a little harder? Maybe, then, all of those parents will suddenly take up an interest in pediatric nutrition.

        Kids shouldn't have a say. If the parents are doing their jobs, it won't matter who the restaurants prey upon.

        "(stamp, stamp, stamp!) Kids shouldn't... they shouldn't. Shouldn't, shouldn't, shouldn't!". Yeah, but you know what? They do. In theory, there's no difference between theory and practice but, in practice, there is. You can yell and complain about responsibility and the nanny state and all that jazz, but, ultimately, it fails to actually fix the problem. So, the county supervisors have decided to try this. And I think you have to admit that, regardless of whether you think that the county should have passed this ordinance, the restaurants are throwing the toys in there to help peddle a product which should probably be peddled on their merits of its nutrition.

        This issue reminds me of the Simpsons episiode with "Mt. Splashmore", where a commercial for the water park teaches the kids the "Take me to Mt. Splashmore" song and then instructs the kids to go sing it to their parents over and over again. Or, in "The Corporation", I think it was, where the market research lady interviewed parents about their nagging children. The parents thought it was research into how to get kids to nag less but it was really studying how to get the kids to nag their parents more effectively so that the parents would cave in and buy more often. I think you're naive if you don't think these companies aren't pouring millions of dollars into ways of getting around this "personal responsibility" firewall, and the toys are just one part of their arsenal.

        For example, even when kids don't really have a say, they do. You even admit "The toy is just a bonus to keep our child busy long enough so we can finish our meals with some level of peace.". So, the toy does help bring you in to that particular restaurant chain. Besides, I can use the "parental responsibility" argument on you. I know a couple that actually takes parenting seriously. When we all go out to dinner with their kid, their kid finishes first, and then knows to sit there, quietly, while we all chat a while. She knows that, if she starts getting fidgety or rambunctious, things are going to turn out worse for her in the long run. So, we can always finish our meals in peace... toy or no toy. But then, that's because they feel that they should be responsible parents.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by rwa2 (4391) *

          Hmm, interesting...

          I wouldn't consider myself an awesome parent, but stuff like happy meals with toys helps me convince my children to be suspicious of things like that. I tell them that the restaurant food is so nasty that the toy is the only way for them to sell their crappy food at all. But we could get better food at a real food place (like home) and better toys at a real toy store and it would be cheaper (my son is very money conscious, probably because we so often tell him that we just don't have mo

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by geekoid (135745)

          If that's true, then that child is an unimaginative potato head.

          Of course, I don't mental sequester my child out of conversations. as a good parent I teach them to be involved, think and ask the appropriate questions.

          My kids do not sit quietly, the are involved and learning.

      • Re:I swear.... (Score:4, Informative)

        by MBGMorden (803437) on Wednesday April 28, 2010 @08:40PM (#32024670)

        (We do Chick-fil-A. Does that count as crap food?)

        Word to the wise: NEVER mention a chain by name on the internet. There will ALWAYS be a group that jumps all over you for it being crap food. If baked angel poop (which costs $1, extends life by 5 years per ounce and tastes just like cinnamon) was sold by a national chain people would ridicule you for buying it.

    • Re:I swear.... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by gstoddart (321705) on Wednesday April 28, 2010 @03:08PM (#32019384) Homepage

      Hey parents, your kids wouldn't be so fat if you didn't feed them crap food and let them sit on their butts in front of the t.v. all day and night.

      The kids are just doing what the parents are doing.

      • by Joce640k (829181)

        Yep. America is now third or fourth generation lardass. It's a downward spiral the parents grew up that way, their kids will be worse.

        • Re:I swear.... (Score:5, Insightful)

          by jd (1658) <imipak&yahoo,com> on Wednesday April 28, 2010 @03:30PM (#32019828) Homepage Journal

          So if you want a nation worth living in, and the adults won't fix their own (or their children's) self-destructive cycles, who do you suggest does fix it? The choice is rather limited. Ideally, education would solve this problem, but the British chef Jamie Oliver was kicked around when he suggested US schools educate kids on better food. So clearly the schools don't give a crap. If nobody is willing to actually OWN their responsibility, to the point where the nation suffers (loss of productivity = loss of revenue and loss of GDP, loss of mental function = loss of progress and loss of investment), then surely since the Government is for the people and doing nothing is against the people, the Government must step in.

          I believe that it may be too late to avoid some Government intervention, but it should be as limited as possible and to target the root causes. Those root causes include crappy education and parental malpractrice. The former is going to be hard to fix, as Governments routinely treat education as something of a dirty word. The latter is next-to-impossible, as parents generally reserve the right to abuse their kids and resent any restrictions on the kind of abuse they can inflict. Even if these issues could be solved, the existing attitudes at high levels of authority are so perverted and degenerate that they're rarely capable of actually "fixing" anything without making it worse. However, if the options are death-by-fat for an entire nation vs. videogame-lifesupport, the lifesupport makes better sense.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by DerekLyons (302214)

      Yes, preventing corporations from taking advantage is a bad thing.

      Seriously, sometimes it's about personal responsibility, but other times it's about other things - and this is one of those times. Give the 'personal responsibility' kneejerk a rest and think sometimes.

      • Re:I swear.... (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Shakrai (717556) on Wednesday April 28, 2010 @03:17PM (#32019540) Journal

        Yes, preventing corporations from taking advantage is a bad thing.

        I wasn't aware that including a toy with a meal was "taking advantage"

      • Re:I swear.... (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Low Ranked Craig (1327799) on Wednesday April 28, 2010 @04:02PM (#32020416)
        No. This is EXACTLY about personal and parental responsibility. Where the fuck does the government get off telling any parent they can't buy their kid a happy meal with a toy in it. Fuck Santa Clara. Just another entry on my list of places to avoid.
      • Re:I swear.... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Kamokazi (1080091) on Wednesday April 28, 2010 @04:06PM (#32020538)

        I was about to flame you for being a moron, but I thought about it again. This is like comparing a fast food meal to a pack of cigarettes. So at least there is precedent for such restrictions.

        However, there are key differences. For starters, cigarettes are illegal for anyone under 18. Also, while both are quite unhealthy, cigarettes are far more so, and they provide zero benefit.

        Now, that's not necessarily enough to consider it unjustified, but I think this is a slippery slope. What's next? Restrictions on video games to inhibit unhealthy playtime lengths?

        We can't have the government protect us from everything...moreover the government shouldn't protect us from everything. We need to learn to be responsible for our actions and to resist the temptation of short term perks with long-term consequences.

        So where should the line be drawn? Well, I think food is over the line. Most restricted things, like alcohol, gambling, and tobacco offer little or no benefit, where food at least offers nourishment and is necessary for you to live.

    • Re:I swear.... (Score:4, Informative)

      by Enderandrew (866215) <enderandrew AT gmail DOT com> on Wednesday April 28, 2010 @03:12PM (#32019476) Homepage Journal

      My daughter quickly learned that Burger King and McDonalds had toys. That didn't mean I had to take her there. If she really wants to go to a fast food place and get a toy, I take her to Subway and get her a turkey sandwich.

      Responsible parenting isn't all that hard.

      It really gets me that people who scream so loudly about freedom and liberty and usually the ones who want to take it away piece by piece with legislation.

      • by WrongSizeGlass (838941) on Wednesday April 28, 2010 @03:19PM (#32019586)

        My daughter quickly learned that Burger King and McDonalds had toys. That didn't mean I had to take her there. If she really wants to go to a fast food place and get a toy, I take her to Subway and get her a turkey sandwich.

        I just love playing with those Subway turkey sandwiches. The best part is that when you're done you don't have to put away your new toy ... you just eat it! Mmmm, funlicious!

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Enderandrew (866215)

          The Subway kid's meals come with toys.

          Natalie Portman feels left out of your signature.

      • Re:I swear.... (Score:4, Insightful)

        by citylivin (1250770) on Wednesday April 28, 2010 @03:41PM (#32020044)

        "Responsible parenting isn't all that hard."

        This isn't about freedom or liberty, companies should NOT get a free ride on any marketing, much less marketing to children. Mcdonalds is one of the worst in regards to marketting. They specifically target children most of the time. No self respecting adult would ever consume mcdonalds products voluntarily, it makes the healthy sick. So what do they do? they target children by giving away "free" toys, having cartoony animals on their boxes and showing adverts of kids subverting their parents wishes and having over the top emotional experiences.

        Its not hard to say 'no' to your kids, but why should i have to catch all the flack, animosity and blowback that mcdonalds is creating? why is it my responsibility to clean up the mess they are making after the fact? If a company tries to brainwash your kids, how is it "bad parenting" to legislate that certain over the line brainwashing techniques be banned?

        Your attitude seems to be that mcdonalds can spit on my kids (advertising) and that "good parenting" would be telling them not to eat the spit and cleaning them up. I say good parenting is going after the root cause of the problem in the first place. Instead of making band-aid solutions that as most parents are aware, will just be eroded away again, leading to another fight in a few weeks or a months time, when macdonalds comes out with an even more insidious ad.

        Perosnally i try and teach my kids to be aware of advertisements and that they are all lies. Many people just don't have the time or the intelligence to teach their kids that. That is why particularly manipulative marketing needs a swift ban. I mean you are basically talking about the freedom to sell products and saying that the rights of the corporations to sell products trumps the rights of impressionable children not to be manipulated.

        I dont know how any parent can make that claim. They should really just ban all product marketing to children under the age of 16. I cant imagine a downside to that.

         

    • Re:I swear.... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by commodore64_love (1445365) on Wednesday April 28, 2010 @03:14PM (#32019488) Journal

      Well this is what happens when you revive Feudalism. The commoners are too stupid to run their own lives, so we need the Lords to decide what they can and can not have.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Facegarden (967477)

      California may as well be a whole 'nother country.

      I know, let's not bother with that thing known as personal responsibility, let's legislate EVERYTHING!

      Hey parents, your kids wouldn't be so fat if you didn't feed them crap food and let them sit on their butts in front of the t.v. all day and night.

      Well, the sad truth is, we're all being so fucking stupid that it actually makes *sense* for them to do this. Parents *should* take care of their kids, but they're not and our whole country is getting fucking fat. We keep trying fitness promotion and all kinds of shit, but everyone just keeps getting fatter.

      I'm not sure if its better to legislate us when we're being this fucking stupid, or let us all just kill ourselves. I don't approve of unnecessary legislation like this, but you sure have to wonder how t

  • So wait... (Score:5, Funny)

    by Pojut (1027544) on Wednesday April 28, 2010 @02:57PM (#32019178) Homepage

    ...they ban the toys, but keep the crap food? Don't get me wrong, I think it's the responsability of parents to keep track of what their kids ingest, not the governement's...but I still can't help but be reminded of our good friend George Carlin:

    "...now they're banning toy guns, AND THEY'RE GONNA KEEP THE FUCKIN' REAL ONES!"

  • Wow so where exactly does it say government officials have to regulate every thing about our lives? And they think that just cause a meal has a toy the kid is going to want it and also the parent will give in? What happened to parents parenting???
    • by abigor (540274)

      Do you think it's okay to allow children to buy cigarettes and booze? After all, parents should be parenting, right? And yes, junk food is just as bad as those things.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by ottothecow (600101)
      What if I want to buy a happy meal because it actually gets you a nice amount of food from mcdonalds (4 pc nuggets, little bit of fries, a smaller drink)?

      I usually get some small temporary enjoyment out of whatever piece of crap toy they give me...

    • by vxice (1690200)
      As much as I hate to say it, this law does make some sense. The one being punished is the child not the parent when they get stuck with a stupid parent. So unless you want to ban people from having kids if they can't pass a child raising class or you want to call child services on bad parents. One more option is that the gov't raises all of our kids for us by professional child raisers, why would trust amateurs raising our little leaders of tomorrow?
    • by ArcherB (796902)

      Wow so where exactly does it say government officials have to regulate every thing about our lives?
      And they think that just cause a meal has a toy the kid is going to want it and also the parent will give in?
      What happened to parents parenting???

      Now, now. We all know it takes a village to raise a child.

      OK, sarc off. IMHO, only an incompetent parent would let a village raise their child!

    • by corbettw (214229)

      Wow so where exactly does it say government officials have to regulate every thing about our lives?

      I dunno, according to certain politicians that's the whole reason behind the Commerce Clause. Or was it the Good and Welfare Clause?

  • This ordinance prevents restaurants from preying on children's love of toys' to sell high-calorie, unhealthful toys

    Normally, toys are not eaten and therfore not considered high calorie.

  • by GungaDan (195739) on Wednesday April 28, 2010 @03:00PM (#32019216) Homepage

    And Christmas while they're at it. Dumbasses. This stupidity will not likely have any negative repercussions, aside from McDonalds franchises in the area having to come up with procedures to de-toy their happy meals. But what I suspect will happen is that the kids won't really want the happy meal without the toy, so the parent will take the cheaper route and get them a burger and fries from the dollar menu. With more calories than what they would have gotten in the happy meal. And no toy.

  • That sucks (Score:5, Funny)

    by JoeWalsh (32530) on Wednesday April 28, 2010 @03:00PM (#32019220)

    If we can't bribe our children to eat poison, the terrorists have won!

  • Ban bad copypasta (Score:5, Informative)

    by richdun (672214) on Wednesday April 28, 2010 @03:00PM (#32019246)

    What the article says:

    "This ordinance prevents restaurants from preying on children's love of toys" to sell high-calorie, unhealthful food, said Supervisor Ken Yeager, who sponsored the measure.

    What the summary says:

    'This ordinance prevents restaurants from preying on children's love of toys' to sell high-calorie, unhealthful toys, said Supervisor Ken Yeager, who sponsored the measure.

  • by bmajik (96670) <matt@mattevans.org> on Wednesday April 28, 2010 @03:01PM (#32019252) Homepage Journal

    Queue up the Dr. Ferris speech about the real purpose of the law.

    Controlling people. Not even for their own good, but merely for the sake of weilding control.

    That is politics in America today.

    • by bolthole (122186)

      Queue up the Dr. Ferris speech about the real purpose of the law.

      Controlling people. Not even for their own good, but merely for the sake of weilding control.

      That is politics in America today.

      No, politics in America today, is solely for the purpose of increasing sales of tinfoil hats.
      I'm presuming you already have yours...

    • And the European Union. If you think intrusive legislation is bad in the US, you ought to see what the central Parliament's been doing this past year. They regulate all kinds of crap.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Facegarden (967477)

      Queue up the Dr. Ferris speech about the real purpose of the law.

      Controlling people. Not even for their own good, but merely for the sake of weilding control.

      That is politics in America today.

      No, i really disagree. You may want to complain about every piece of legislation being just so "the man" can "keep us down", but however misguided or stupid this legislation may be, I can at least understand that the people making it weren't just trying to control us, they actually believe this is helpful. You ought to be able to see that.

      When you claim the government has evil intent when they're obviously just being stupid, no one is going to listen to you.
      -Taylor

  • by pnuema (523776) on Wednesday April 28, 2010 @03:01PM (#32019266)
    ...this is a great idea. I had to institute a rule in my house that no toys were allowed with food. I found that when I forbid the kids from having the toys, when I gave them a choice of restaurants for dinner, they were much more likely to chose one with better food. It seems that the toys were a large part of the draw...take that away, and they were much more likely to eat something healthy.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 28, 2010 @03:06PM (#32019358)

      How did you manage that before it was a law?

    • by Pojut (1027544) on Wednesday April 28, 2010 @03:07PM (#32019374) Homepage

      So if you figured out a system that worked by yourself...how does this legislation help you in any way?

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by idontgno (624372)

        Oh, no you're missing the point. GPP's seen the light, and has found the ONLY GOOD WAY to deal with the issue. And now we can "encourage" everyone to do THE ONLY GOOD THING. After all, THINK OF THE CHILDREN!

        The best of all worlds: smug self-righteousness enforced with State Power. It's a popular and time-tested combination.

    • by SecurityGuy (217807) on Wednesday April 28, 2010 @03:10PM (#32019428)

      It's not a great idea.

      As a parent myself, I just tell my kids that fast food is unhealthy in that it has a lot of calories and fat in it. I think we need to be aware of what lesson we're teaching. The point I want them to learn is not that $PARENT won't let them buy a toy with their lunch, it's that some foods eaten more than sparingly will do bad things to you. They naturally ask, so I just tell them the truth. You'll get fat. You'll feel lethargic. You'll develop diseases later in life like diabetes. Your arteries will clog with crap.

      Sadly, it's all too easy to just ask them to look around the school. The consequences of bad food choices and a sedentary lifestyle are all over the place.

    • by SmackTheIgnorant (985978) on Wednesday April 28, 2010 @03:11PM (#32019464)
      As a parent of a 7 year old daughter, I can safely say that she wants McDonalds to JUST get the toy - McDonalds tends to get all the Disney / Dreamworks / ____ movie toys, and it's a huge draw for her. I tell her no toy, and she'll want to eat elsewhere. If I had points, I'd mod you up. As is, I can only knowingly nod and smile in agreement.
    • by Enderandrew (866215) <enderandrew AT gmail DOT com> on Wednesday April 28, 2010 @03:16PM (#32019522) Homepage Journal

      As a parental rule, it is good.

      As legislation, it is terible.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      ...this is a great idea. I had to institute a rule in my house that no toys were allowed with food. I found that when I forbid the kids from having the toys, when I gave them a choice of restaurants for dinner, they were much more likely to chose one with better food. It seems that the toys were a large part of the draw...take that away, and they were much more likely to eat something healthy.

      As a parent, that's your right. But it doesn't seem that as a government, that right belongs with the county. This is no different from laws banning any "immoral" behavior -- it's the government meddling where it has no business doing so.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Blakey Rat (99501)

      "Well, it worked for me, so everybody else should be forced by law to do the same thing!"

    • by commodore64_love (1445365) on Wednesday April 28, 2010 @03:23PM (#32019690) Journal

      Some parents they it's their job to parent OUR children too, and they use government to make it happen:

      i.e. banning our free choice to get happy meals with toys. I find these parents annoying, because they are basically insulting my intelligence, by presuming they know better than I do, how to be a parent.

    • by DesScorp (410532)

      I completely applaud your decisive, take-charge attitude about raising your kids. But while it may be a "great idea" for you, governments shouldn't dictate that it's a great idea for all the other parents.

  • I'm not anti-regulation, but this is objectionable. Don't they have more important legislation to pass?

    I'm the parent of a five year old, and I see him making food choices based on the 'prize' that he expects to receive with the food. It's my decision to say "No, you're not eating junk food today," or "OK - you had a healthy lunch, and you've behaved so yes we can go to McDonalds as a treat," and let him have that useless piece of plastic.

    My decision. My responsibility.

  • by SecurityGuy (217807) on Wednesday April 28, 2010 @03:06PM (#32019344)

    I also want a law banning fruit or candy additives to milkshakes (Damn you Chick-fil-a and your irresistible milkshakes that I -only- buy when I can get 'em peachy or minty).

    While we're at it, why not ban making unhealthy food taste good?

    Then again, we could perhaps just expect adults to act like adults and suffer the consequences of their choices. And yes, the consequence of having children is having to raise them to make good choices, even when the bad food comes with a toy. Can't handle it? Don't have kids. Don't use law to constrain someone else to make up for your lack of spine.

  • by cosm (1072588) <thecosm3 AT gmail DOT com> on Wednesday April 28, 2010 @03:06PM (#32019346)
    While this may work from a pure operant conditioning standpoint, but they fail to realize the problem. THE PARENTS. The kid screams and moans for McDonalds, so the give him McDonalds. The fatty foods lipids are the real addictive, so once hooked, Micky D's has got their childish love. It is the parents that are the problem. Who is the government to say that a piece of plastic in a bag can't be given away with a meal? Its the damn bad parents that allow their lardsacks children to accumulate mass that should be punished. So now when little Johnny screams for a happy meal and a toy, what are the parents going to do, "sorry johnny, but the county officials have made it illegal, no toys for you". So instead they still go get the happy meal (since there aren't any ramifications for that, yet) and then just buy the kid a damn toy elsewhere, completely sidestepping the actual problem.

    And California wonders why their state is ready to self-implode. Treating the symptoms, not the problems. And really, is this a problem? If the parents choose to give their kids fast food, then its their choice! GTFOML. But there are a 1000 better things they could do with the taxpayers time to curb obesity other than just straight banning stuff. Reminds me of the salt ban [guardian.co.uk] that could be coming.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      And California wonders why their state is ready to self-implode.

      No we don't, at least, not all of us. California has a decently large population so there are plenty of people here who facepalm themselves every time they read about shit like this. Those people even go out of their way to stop it. We attend local meetings at government centers. We try to meet with our legislators at the state level. We even help the city-councilman next door carry groceries in from his car in an attempt to get his ear. We talk about things rationally. We vote with plenty of sense. We eve

  • Liberty (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Danathar (267989) on Wednesday April 28, 2010 @03:06PM (#32019350) Journal

    I really HATE the fact that people actually believe that it's OK to mandate things as long as they or their proxy's are in charge.

  • Clarification (Score:5, Informative)

    by 200_success (623160) on Wednesday April 28, 2010 @03:10PM (#32019440)

    The San Jose Mercury News [mercurynews.com] (warning: pop-under ad) has more details. The ordinance does not ban Happy Meal toys per se, but rather bans toys distributed with meals that exceed nutritional limits (485 Calories, 600 mg sodium). Furthermore, it only applies to unincorporated areas of Santa Clara County. (There are no McDonald's locations in unincorporated areas of Santa Clara County.)

    This seems like a good idea to me. Obviously, fast food restaurants give toys away only as a perverse incentive to attract kids. This ordinance, while largely symbolic, nullifies that marketing ploy. You want a toy? You can only get it if you forego the soda and the salt on the fries.

    • And let's face it, if the parents are giving their kid everything the kid asks for, is this really going to make any difference anyway? It seems the only real effect would be to remove a competitive advantage from McDonald's.

      Being a Santa Clara County resident, my second thought was that there is no Santa Clara county, per se.

      BTW, the Mercury runs more javascript than I've ever seen on a single webpage. At last count, I spotted 27 URL's in NoScript.

  • by PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) on Wednesday April 28, 2010 @03:11PM (#32019444)

    Won't someone please think of the adults?!?!?!?

  • by Morris Thorpe (762715) on Wednesday April 28, 2010 @03:15PM (#32019508)

    After reading the subject, I thought the law was to cut down on plastic garbage. Too bad.

    Talk about brainless consumption. Those "toys" are completely useless. If they do anything at all, they'll break after a few hours, and they exist only there to promote new consumption (movies, TV, other toys.)
    I guess they keep kids entertained for the rest of the ride or meal, therefore freeing parents of the task of interaction.

  • by BlueKitties (1541613) <bluekitties616@gmail.com> on Wednesday April 28, 2010 @03:17PM (#32019530)
    When I used to get my Happy Meal as a child, I was more entertained by the toy than my food. I began to have weight problems as I grew older because I saw food as an event, a fun thing, a highlight of my day, instead of something to keep me fueled. High calorie foods aren't healthy, but they don't cause fat kids. Children with normal, healthy eating habits will take two bites of their burger and then run along to play with their new toy. When parents use food as a reward ("You did good on your report card, lets order pizza!") you have a problem. When I got to my mid to later teens, most of my friends had normal eating habits -- they didn't get excited by food like me. I picked up on that, and changed my eating habits to view food as fuel, not fun. It took about three years, but I've lost over 50 pounds and have a proper build complete with muscle tone. Bottom line: unhealthy food itself isn't the problem, it's how we view food in our daily lives. If you snack to pass the time, even when you're not hungry, if you go back for seconds after your pains are gone, you have unhealthy eating habits. Eat to live, don't live to eat. It's a habit our culture in America breeds -- food for fun. Unhealthy food isn't the root cause though (even if it contributes.)
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Sir_Lewk (967686)

      When parents use food as a reward ("You did good on your report card, lets order pizza!") you have a problem.

      I agree with the general statement, but certainly not the example. How often do kids receive report cards? 4 times a year in US public schools to my knowledge. If ordering pizza is a rare enough occurrence that the kid feels rewarded/excited by the prospect of it, then 4 "prize pizzas" a year isn't going to hurt anything. If anything, it re-enforces the idea that ordering pizza is something you o

  • by Animats (122034)

    Good for Santa Clara County! We need to crack down on obesity. "Fat Acceptance" is now recognized as having been a horrible public policy mistake. We have 300 pound oinkers blocking sidewalks, overloading aircraft, and running up medical costs. There's a shortage of qualified recruits for the Army. This has to stop. Fat kids used to be extremely rare. There's no excuse for being fat in your teens. Fat kids grow up to be huge adults. Anything we can do to cut down on childhood obesity is a step forward.

  • by bdwoolman (561635) on Wednesday April 28, 2010 @03:20PM (#32019600) Homepage

    As an unapologetic Liberal I believe that government can do good things.

    But this kind of Nanny State meddling makes me as sick as I would get from eating six Happy Meals

  • http://news.slashdot.org/story/10/04/27/2113224/Arizona-Papers-Please-Law-May-Hit-Tech-Workers [slashdot.org] So it's bad to make illegal immigration a real crime, but we need to stop those crazy bastards from offering toys with kids meals ? The whole "Think of the kids" excuse is REALLY getting tired. Fun fact: It's almost always the parents buying the things for the kids. If adults disagree with the practice, don't buy the kids meals for your kids. Oh, but it'll be so much nicer not to have little Jimmy complain ab
  • About time... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by GiMP (10923) on Wednesday April 28, 2010 @03:34PM (#32019920)

    I'm completely for this. I see no difference between this and "Joe Camel", I hope this becomes a trend across the nation.

    I was recently at a drive through, looking at the (empty) playground of a local Burger King. I thought how terrible it is that these fast food companies have tried to attract children to their unhealthy foods. Playgrounds, playful characters such as Ronald McDonald, Grimace, and the Hamburglar, happy meals, and movies such as Mac & Me, really show how terribly affected my generation was by this advertising. I remember wanting to go to McDonalds as a child so I could see a cloud and receive a toy. I highly suspect that these companies only scaled back their tactics as a defensive tactic after seeing how the cigarette companies were treated.

    Yes, we can argue that parents should be more responsible, but parents cannot shield their children completely from outside influences, while -- to a certain extent -- government can. Parents were generally not giving their children cigarettes, but Camel advertising was shown to have produced an effect on children. Fast food restaurants giving "educational field trips" to elementary schools, as I recall from my own childhood, wasn't an altruistic act of these companies, they were in it for the long-tail. Lets not get started on birthday parties... These companies have been worse than the cigarette companies, showing no shame in their actions. As far as I know, I might be wrong, Camel never gave away children's toys, provided playgrounds, gave tours as elementry-school field-trips, nor had "Joe Camel" themed birthday parties. I doubt Camel ever had a man dress up as Joe Camel, blowing balloons (or smoke rings!) at birthday parties.

  • by Rene S. Hollan (1943) on Wednesday April 28, 2010 @04:11PM (#32020650)
    Here's why:

    The six year old receives public school instruction about inappropriate touching and who to call if it happens (generally, 911, which leads to CPS).

    The smart six year old threatens his parents with such a call and claim if they DON'T do as he asks.

    Add over-zealous persecution to make quotas, and you find that many parents live in fear of their children. In many cases, the mere accusation is enough to destroy a career, and defending against even an "obviously" baseless charge is very expensive: at the very least bail for accused child molestors is generally set very high.

    Are you going to wager your liberty and everything you own that the CPS worker assigned to investigate you is reasonable?

    Remember, if a worker makes a mistake, and a "bad thing" happens, they get crucified. But, they generally have immunity from prosecution, if they err zealously on the side of caution.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by nedlohs (1335013)

      Smart six year olds do not do that.

      If your six year old does, then clearly you fucked up as a parent and thank your lucky stars they chose that route instead of just murdering you in your sleep just to watch the life drain out of you.

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