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Sunday, May 22, 2011

McDonalds Happy Meals - follow up

After the debacle at McDonalds the other day, I sent them an email - actually just sent them that blog post so that they could see what happened. I got this back at 4:01am on May 20:


Hello Amy:

Thank you for contacting McDonald's to share your comments about our recent Happy Meal toys. I'm sorry you were disappointed with the theme of this Happy Meal.

You may be interested to know that our Marketing staff reviews several different criteria when designing toys -- playability, durability, safety, quality and popularity with children just to name a few. The latter is always a challenge given the number of Happy Meal toys we offer every year. We often offer toys from kids' favorite television shows, retail toy lines and movie or television characters.

Please know that we would never intentionally upset our customers. Your comments are important and have been shared with our Marketing staff for their review. They've assured me they will consider your feedback when planning future Happy Meal offers.

Once again, thank you for letting us know how you feel. We hope you'll enjoy our future Happy Meal promotions.

McDonald's Customer Response Center



Typical form letter that totally does not address anything - it's not that I wasn't happy with the "theme" of the toys themselves, it's that I was unhappy with the constant promotion of sexual stereotypes on our youth.


Typical big corporation BS.

I called the local store and a gentleman who spoke broken English answered the phone. I asked for the store manager and he indicated that he was the manager on duty and that the store manager wouldn't be in until 10:00am. When I asked for the corporate number, he stumbled a bit and then finally gave it to me.

I called the corporate office and spoke to a very polite young lady and informed her about what happened - she thought that this was an isolated incident, and I told her that it's been happening for as long as I've been taking kids to McDonalds, regardless of location.

She assured me that they did receive the email, and that the issue would be forwarded to the "Happy Meal Team" for further review. Uh huh. Sure. I know of one place where we won't be stopping on our cross-country trip later this summer.....

On a side note, as a bit of an experiment, I took the boys to Wendy's after we got done playing outside on Saturday. We went through the drive-thru so the employee did not see if I had boys or girls with me when I ordered their kids meals. He did not ask, either. When we got to the window, he handed me the food and we left. When we got home, the first thing I did was take out the toys....

They came in a little box....

With lots of little pieces....

And then you can build stuff with them!
(It's a bird.)

(This one is a bike.)

Apparently there are 4 different sets that each make a different creation, but you can mix and match and build bigger stuff by combining the sets. I like this toy - it's not what people would think of as a "girl toy" or a "boy toy" and it encourages creativity. What a novel concept....

Maybe, just maybe McDonalds will eventually get the hint. Doubtful, but maybe.

Is anyone else as irritated by this as I am? Or am I just overly sensitive about the "girl toy"/"boy toy" issue?


  1. First off, I have to tell you, your kids are talented!!! For real! LOVE what they made. Also, what a smarty you are to think of the "blind challenge" at Wendy's!
    I don't find the offering of the two different toys as much of a problem as the labeling of them...so I guess that means I DO have a problem with them! LOL I have MORE of a problem with how they are presented and the comments that can go along with are sometimes unspeakable (such as the "fag" remark...how offense can you get??? that is a TEN on a scale of 1-10 offensive!) Do you have other fast food places to try (such as Burger King??) am curious about those places...I will ck subway next time I'm in...now I won't be able to go into ANY place that offers toys with a meal and not ck it out!!!
    Oh, and on a side note...the letter you got back was pretty worthless...don't you just HATE a form letter?
    Weather report in western Nebraska: we have SUN..finally! wind like crazy, but there is sunshine and it is not so COLD outside today..may even be able to pull a few weeds and hang out some clothes. Hope you are having a great weekend..

  2. I'm not offended that they offer two different 'gender appropriate' toys, but I think the cashiers reaction was a problem.

  3. Uhg. I can't believe they sent you a standardized reply like that. Then again, I've worked customer service for many many years, and that's the typical reply that gets sent. Generic, non-personal, avoid the real issue reply.

    I do not like that they have 'girl toys' and 'boy toys'. Toys are toys. I have a girl and a boy and they both play with dolls and trucks, and to me, there is no such thing as a girl toy or a boy toy. FFS, I played with GI Joes, and Dr. Dreadful Drink Labs and Creepy Crawler sets. I did have a few dolls/barbies, but I didn't really play with those much.

    I like that you did the blind test with Wendy's and I think they did an excellent job presenting a toy that is both educational/creative and unisex. They didn't stereotype toys. I think I'd be more willing to take my kids there rather than McDonalds from now on.

  4. I'm ok with them offering different toys, although I would think that it would be more of a headache for the restaurant (if they run out of one before the other or someone requests one and mistakenly gets the other, etc) - my main objection is the presentation.

    Just ask the customer - "do you want a Barbie or a Hot Wheels?" instead of "do you want a girl toy or a boy toy?"

    And for crying out loud, don't question the customer (especially the child) about the choice that the child has made!!!!

  5. I'm not sure which side of the fence I'm on for this. When I was little the happy meals were not divided this way at all. There were no barbie/hot wheels divisions, etc. There were things like the California Raisins, Mario and Friends, muppet babies. They were a single theme, made well (I still have tons that my kids play with now), and no one ever even hinted that maybe they could be 'boy' or 'girl' toys. In all honesty, as a little girl, all of my barbies had rides in the tonka trucks. I played with the cars. I got muddy. I also played princess and did make up, etc.

    I don't see why they even have two sets running. I find that I collect both 'girl' and 'boy' because we can never get a full set of either. They tend to run out really fast, and I get stuck with 'leftover' garbage... They should forget dividing by gender and try to keep an proper stock of good toys.

  6. We get happy meals VERY rarely...the last time, there was a choice of some sort of pet for girls and scary ninjas for boys- so I got my very boyish boy the pet. I don't like him playing with evil looking things


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