I will take you down Memory Lane for just a minute. My old baby sitter Sharon used to be the chauffeur for both me and my brother growing up. I remember the countless trips to Mickey D’s after school. My parents were rarely around so in return during the school week, Sharon would pick us up from school. My brother holding his breath until he turned blue seemed to do the trick — we somehow managed to weasel our way into daily trips after school to our favorite “toy store if you will”. Also, known as McDonald’s. While I truthfully enjoyed/ and still do enjoy my fair share of fast food, there was a clear draw to the free toys given to me as a child.
I remember nights me and Bren would sit in our teepee outback behind our house. We would lay out all of the Mickey D toys we collected that week. Trade them. Boast about the ones we liked, perhaps bribe each other to “swap” for other more valuable ones. It was a major and I mean major source of entertainment for us growing up. Perhaps that’s why Shar would take us — less interaction time needed with the little bratty kids. Who knows?
What I do know is that the toys given out at these institutions really went hand and hand. I hadn’t thought NEARLY as much about the food as I did about which toy I was getting.
For example, let’s look at some of the best of the best in regards to 90’s McDonald’s Toys. You gave me Beanie Babies AND Chicken Fingers? You were better than Santa Claus in my book. Over the years, I had collected thousands of “chachkies” but the Beanie Babies were the start of the good ones. I owned many real BB and loved nothing more than being able to collect “Mini”ones and bragging to my friends.
While I’m sure no one more than baby sitters and parents hated Furbies more, kids could not get enough. I had a Furby I recall, I named it something esoteric I can’t remember at the moment. Anywhoo, I was told to have the odd toy not starting quaking late at night. Clearly, my little Furby didn’t listen to my instructions, so it would start yapping it’s odd martian like mouth in the wee hours of the morning. By month 4, the Furby was asked to either be stuck in the trash can or “adopted by another family”. Needless to say, when this toy came out I was happy as a clam.
My question is this — do perhaps these great toys offered entice children to continue eating fast food? Serious Eats recently wrote a blog about the debate. I personally think as much as I believe the toys were staples in my childhood, they really DID entice me to go daily, weekly, monthly to the fast food chains. If they do decide to ban toys, I would be a bit sad…. only because it would be a large love lost. Hey wait, I still get to keep the Beanie Babies right?