Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Happy Meals suit presents choking hazard for some observers

The blawg Popehat was one of many outlets to cover a story a couple of weeks ago about a California mother who is suing McDonald's to ban toys in Happy Meals. The gist of the mother's claim is that her daughters (ages 6 and 2) harass her on a daily basis to buy them Happy Meals. This, she alleges, makes her decidedly unhappy -- and has caused her emotional distress to boot.

The California plaintiff, Monat Parham-Lee, purports to represent a class of unhappy mothers. She is represented in her suit, according to the Popehat post, "by attorneys affiliated with" the Center for Science in the Public Interest, an organization dedicated to 'transforming the American diet.' And, Popehat advises, the California plaintiff is also employed by the "'Cancer Prevention and Nutrition Section' of the California Department of Public Health" and is "tasked, professionally, by the State of California with ensuring that Californians eat their vegetables. The power that the State of California grants Monet Parham-Lee evidently is not enough. Monet Parham-Lee is taking the law into her own hands, to ensure that not only her own children eat their vegetables, but that everyone else is forced to make their children eat vegetables."

Parham-Lee tells the press that she has said "no" when her kids request more frequent visits to the Golden Arches, but that the demands continue. Popehat suggests that Parham-Lee should continue to just say no.

I would add that, if Ronald McDonald seems, in her judgment, to exert too great an influence over her impressionable children, Ms. Parham-Lee might limit how much TV the kids watch. When household necessity requires that the offspring be situated in front of the one-eyed monster, perhaps a DVD could be substituted for the 100th rerun of "SpongeBob SquarePants." Ms. Parham-Lee might consider something from the "Veggie Tales" series appropriate.

Changing the channel to avoid unwelcome marketing pitches seems a more appropriate response than presuming to file a class action suit.


Related: McDonald's suit over Happy Meal toys by California mom Monet Parham new low in responsible parenting (Op-Ed piece in the December 15 New York Daily News by Walter Olson of See also, Happy Meal lawsuit, cont'd, a December 17 post on

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