Waiter, There’s a Toy in my Food!

5 Nov

Today I’ve decided to go a little different with this post. It’s not about my mixed-up life, or job hopes dashed or even crazy jobs I’ve had in the past. You see, it was announced this week that the city of San Francisco is considering a ban on children’s toys in fast food. While I don’t have kids, I feel the need to comment, partially because I’m an opinionated redhead, but mostly because I think this legislation might be as mixed up as my crazy life.

We all get a kick out of California. The state entertains us in countless ways. From “The Terminator” being governor, to “The Hills,” to the latest star to beat up a paparazzi.  And where I tend to lean liberal, some of California’s laws seem to be a caricature of my beliefs. We’re on the same page, it’s just that California’s teeth are larger, its eyes are bigger and buggier, and it’s sitting on top of a mule.

For instance, with its “progressive” policy to ban incandescent light bulbs and go completely CFL by 2018 California seems to be shouting, “Look at us. See how environmentally correct we are?!” What they’ve failed to mention is that CFL’s contain small amounts of mercury. In fact, according to the EPA website, if one is broken in your house, you should turn off any central air or heat, open the windows and have all people and pets leave the room for at least 15 minutes (maybe you forget to tell that crazy uncle who has been driving you crazy for the past 20 years). It goes on to explain how to dispose of the bulb in a glass jar or sealed plastic bag and check with your local government for disposal procedures. Now, do we really think people will don their HazMat Suits? Or are they more likely to send 10 year old Johnnie out to toss them in the trash? Perhaps we should ask California (I hear Arnold’s voice in my head every time I type that) what they think their landfills will be full of in 20 years.

So now the San Francisco Board of Supervisors has approved a preliminary ban on toys being included in meals loaded with calories, salt, sugar and fat. While we all understand that the toys included are a marketing ploy, and that childhood obesity rates have skyrocketed, what happened to parental supervision? To quote Nancy Reagan, “Just say no.” Yes mom and dad, we all have parts of our job we don’t enjoy, but it’s in our job description. We generally don’t expect the government to pass legislation on the stuff we don’t like to do.

I’ve begun to wonder if any of these legislators ever enjoyed the perennial favorite snack, “Cracker Jacks.” While the prizes are most certainly not what they used to be (Jack’s Funny Facts? Really?), they are still included. So what’s next California? Banning the prize from Cracker Jacks? How about those sugary pink hearts, yellow stars, green clovers and blue diamonds from Lucky Charms (truly the only reason anybody ever eats this cereal)?

San Francisco reminds me of the dentist who lived on my street when I was little. Halloween went a little like this.

Knock, knock. “Trick or Treat!”

“Oh, don’t you guys look cute. Here’s a fruit flavored toothbrush for you.”

“Huh?”

Oh yes, we dug right into that. We were happy when he moved out the next year.

Maybe San Francisco will consider including toothbrushes as prizes in Happy Meals. Or maybe we should consider less legislation and more parenting.

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One Response to “Waiter, There’s a Toy in my Food!”

  1. lifehealthins November 6, 2010 at 7:15 AM #

    Great Article – Just another exanmple of government interfering with private business. Should they be working on more important issues other than Happy Meals?

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