Well that was fast! A few weeks ago I was wondering where we would land next down the slippery slope of paternalism after San Francisco moved to ban toys from Happy meals with more than 600 calories and 35% of the calories from fat. I’ll confess that I did not predict that the next step would be the State of California banning all happy meal toys, widening the ban in both geography and scope. Via Megan McArdle, here is the scoop:
With perfect Grinch timing, a consumer group has sued McDonald’s demanding that it take the toys out of its Happy Meals.
The Center for Science in the Public Interest, an advocacy group, claims it violates California law for the hamburger chain to make its meals too appealing to kids, thus launching them on a lifelong course to overeating and other health horrors. It’s representing an allegedly typical mother of two from Sacramento named Monet Parham. What’s Parham’s (so to speak) beef? “Because of McDonald’s marketing, [her daughter] Maya has frequently pestered Parham into purchasing Happy Meals, thereby spending money on a product she would not otherwise have purchased.”
….she’s suing because when she said no, her kids became disagreeable and “pouted” – for which she wants class action status.
As the New York Daily News reports, the “allegedly typical mother of two” who is bringing the suit, Monet Parham, is actually not a typical mother of two:
…she is in fact the same person as Monet Parham-Lee, who is a “regional program manager” on the state of California payroll for child nutrition matters.
Specifically, she works on a federally funded program that campaigns to exhort people to eat their vegetables and that sort of thing.
My question is this: is someone who admits she is unable stop herself from buying McDonalds for her children really the kind of person we want as regional program manager for child nutritional matters? Isn’t this a little like putting an admitted drunk driver in charge of a states anti-drunk driving program? Or a gambling addict in charge of gaming laws?
It sounds like the lawsuit is in early stages right now, here’s to hoping the good people of California come to there senses and trim down the insane consumer laws they must have that make this lawsuit even thinkable.