McDonald’s Happy Meals Get New Meaning in Pittsburgh

McDonald’s Happy Meal toys are apparently going through some changes. CNN reports that a McDonald’s employee has been charged with selling heroin in Happy Meal boxes at the drive-thru of a Pittsburgh-area location. The employee allegedly instructed customers to use the phrase, “I’d like to order a toy” to signal a transaction. Thereafter, the customer would approach the drive-thru window and be handed a box containing the desired “toy.” During the arrest, officers recovered 50 bags of heroin from the employee. No word on whether these toys have been examined by the CPSC.

While this is obviously not the type of news coverage McDonald’s craves, things could have been much worse. Fortunately, there are no reports of children accidentally receiving any of these earmarked Happy Meals. Just imagine the national outrage over a child discovering a bag of heroin in lieu of a miniature character from the latest Disney movie. A horrible event, to be sure. An event for which McDonald’s should be vilified? Maybe not, but certainly the media loves this story.

The reality of the situation is that this is a story about an employee caught selling drugs while on the job. This employee is probably not the first to be caught dealing drugs at a place of employment. In fact, this story could happen almost anywhere. Certain locations simply make it more newsworthy. Had this happened at a furniture manufacturing facility, the story would be lucky to be picked up by the local news. Unfortunately for McDonald’s, nothing can happen within its walls without making the press.

We urge you to read the story, marvel over the irony of packing heroin in Happy Meal boxes, and move on. Nothing to see here. McDonald’s will continue to be McDonald’s. Happy Meals will continue to be “happy” (but, not in the drug-dealing kind of way).

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