Kids all across California are breathing a sigh of relief. California Superior Court Judge Richard Kramer recently dismissed a proposed class-action suit that sought to stop McDonald’s from providing free toys in its signature “Happy Meals.” As we previously noted, the lawsuit was filed by Monet Parham, a mother of two, and the Center for Science in the Public Interest who accused McDonald’s of unfair and deceptive practices in using toys to promote Happy Meals. The suit alleged that McDonald’s “exploits very young children” and “harms their health by advertising unhealthy Happy Meals with toys directly to them.” It further alleged that “children 8 years old and younger do not have the cognitive skills and the developmental maturity to understand the persuasive intent of marketing and advertising.”
This suit would have to rank among the most frivolous we’ve seen in a while. The Happy Meal is clearly not “unfair” or “deceptive” with respect to the purchaser. Now, we certainly agree that a bunch of 6 year old kids lack the cognitive skills needed to understand the world of marketing. You know what else they lack? The means to purchase a Happy Meal on their own. It’s not like kids are marching out the front door, walking down the street to the local McDonald’s franchise, slapping down a crisp $10 bill on the counter , and asking for a Happy Meal without an adult of any kind involved in the transaction. No, the parents are the ones making the decisions to purchase the Happy Meals and allow their kids to eat them. They should certainly be able to figure out what’s going on.
Ms. Parham was actually quoted as accusing McDonald’s of “getting into my kids’ heads without my permission and actually changing what my kids want to eat.” She added, “This litany of requests [to eat at McDonald's] is draining and very frustrating for children. I would like this practice to stop.” Perhaps the prayer for relief in this case should have included training to assist Ms. Parham with saying “no” to her daughter.
We are glad to see the food police get shot down on this one. Judge Kramer’s order did not give his reasoning, but you would think dismissing such a stupid lawsuit would be a no-brainer. Then again, this is California we are talking about here. Some parts of the state have already take it upon themselves to act as the parents and have attempted to ban the selling of toys in children’s meals that do not meet state nutritional guidelines.