Thursday, July 05, 2001

This evening was another hectic evening, not unlike the rest of my life, where I left work and went to pick up my daughters at their after-school activity. They are both in the parade tomorrow morning, which meant that we had some errands to do after I picked them up. As we were driving around, we were all getting a bit grumpy - it was 7 pm and we hadn't had dinner (they have an after-school snack at about 3:30 pm - I don't starve my kids, don't worry). My hunger, distance from the house and laziness combined to make me decide to stop at McDonalds to get some mediocre but filling sustenance. As soon as we got into the place, my youngest daughter, warily (because she knows it is an anger trigger for me) said, "Dad, I know you don't like me getting Happy Meals because of the toy, but I just want to see if they have the necklace today." That did it. I am so tired of my kids being a target market for the big advertising machine that I gently suggested that we go somewhere else to grab a bite, and my kids took the easy road and agreed.

It didn't help that I saw a poster from adbusters today that had a picture of a one year old child in a brightly colored McDonalds bib and a bonnet adorned with an image of french fries. The caption read "If we can hook them, get them between the ages of two and eight, they're guaranteed to be consumers for life." I saw my kids as consumers of this crap, wanting to go to McDonalds because they knew that there was a toy there - not because of the taste, quality or nutrition of the food that they were going to get there. Toys should be offered in toy stores, food in restaurants. Ne'er the two should meet. I don't allow my kids to bring toys to the table of my own house - why would I want them to be coerced into settling for crappy food just to get some cheap, plastic throw-away item that I'll step on with bare feet as I make my way down the stairs in the middle of the night?


As you can probably tell, I'm more than a little disenfranchised (no pun intended) with big business and advertising these days.

We ended up stopping at a locally owned, non-franchised drive-in on the way home and buying milkshakes, then going home and cooking up a Chez Collins dinner. I felt much better about that.

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