• Carmen Marie Fabio



News last week that a Quebec Superior Court has authorized a class-action lawsuit against McDonald’s restaurants is an evolutionary step backwards for humanity and does little more than make a mockery of both the legal system and the standards of today’s parenting skills.

For those readers blissfully unaware, a Montreal man is claiming the fast food giant is illegally advertising to children with its McHappy meals that come with a toy included in the purchase. The toys are often based on current commercial movies and different characters are released at regular intervals, reportedly putting added pressure on parents to make a return visit to the counter or the drive-through lane to succumb to their progeny’s pressure.

Now, unless your kid is holding a gun to your head, in which case you have significant other grounds for a lawsuit, there’s a simple answer to this conundrum – just say “No!”

My generation grew up before ‘special snowflake’ laws were in place and we were the targets, via a rotating television antenna, of countless American toy manufacturers as we sat transfixed every Saturday morning consuming cartoons. How else were we going to learn about Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots, Wiz-z-zers, and Chip-Away sets?

I was insanely jealous of the kids next door who had both an Easy-Bake Oven and a Lite-Brite – both, incidentally – powered by incandescent light bulbs.

Being the youngest of four kids, I played with the hand-me-downs and though I didn’t have much use for my brothers’ Hot-Wheels, I was lucky enough to have an older sister who was into both fashion and sewing and whipped up a pretty kickass wardrobe for Barbie, Midge, and Skipper.

We made do with what we had and if we wanted something else, it was generally reserved for special occasions like Christmas and birthdays and no, there’s no way we got nearly everything on our commercially enhanced wish-lists.

I’m not sure when and where things took a turn but today kids are now apparently calling the shots, enough so that the precious resources of the provincial courts are getting involved.

It’s a sad day when I come to the defense of an American fast-food behemoth, but c’mon. Toys in Happy Meals are nothing new and McDonalds offers a healthy food substitution for the toy if the parents prefer. Yes, the parents, not the children.

If this frivolous lawsuit is considered a reasonable and rational approach to marketing then we may as well sue all the dollar stores for selling cheap toys. And grocery stores that strategically place chocolate bars near the cash register, illegally tempting you while you wait to pay for your carrots, kale, and low-fat yogurt. And the pet food store for luring my misguided dogs by displaying rawhide chews and liver treats about 18 inches from the floor, forcing me to deal with the imploring brown eyes, string of drool and desperate whimpers. How dare they?

Legal representation in this province is increasingly reserved for the elite who can actually afford it and this pathetic suit simply enforces the concept of victimhood when the true fault lies with parents who are failing to step up and actually parent their kids.

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