Wisconsin Town Rejects Happy Meal Ban

While politicians in San Francisco go back and forth about whether or not to effectively ban the sale of kid’s meals that include toys, the city council of Superior, WI, has roundly dismissed a similar proposal.

The legislation, which would have forbade the inclusion of toys in fast food kid’s meals, was shut down by a 7-1 vote.

From the Superior Telegram:

[The councilman who proposed the law] said his intent was not to tell businesses what they could serve the public or to tell parents what they should feed their children. His intent was to remove the reward and limit giveaways that target children and encourage them to eat unhealthy fast food meals.

It didn’t help the councilman’s case that all four people he called before the council to speak in favor of the law were from Duluth, MN, instead of from the local community.

“No one from Superior was in support of it,” one of the opposing council members said.

Council won’t play with kids’ fast food toys [Superior Telegram]


Edit Your Comment

  1. Mr. Fix-It says: "Canadian Bacon is best bacon!" says:

    In other words:

    “It is not the purpose of the Superior Municipal Government to do your parenting for you.”

    I’d love to live in a town called ‘Superior’.

    • Cheap Sniveler: Sponsored by JustAnswer.comâ„¢ says:

      …Then you could do your “Superior Dance”. Isn’t that special?

      • Robofish says:

        And you could probably have Superior Coffee, and drive on Superior roads all while going to your Superior job

    • Jake Bechtold says:

      I used to live in Superior, WI… glad to see they still have some common sense out there!

  2. leprechaunshawn says:

    Wisconsin turned red on November 2nd. We voted common sense back into office. You can expect to hear more stories like this coming from WI in the future.

    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

      This is politics. Sorry, but you can never, ever, describe any part of it as “common sense.”

      • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

        I completely agree. The voters kicked an awful political party out and replaced it with another party of equal awfulness. I’ve seen the cycle happen more times than I can count.

      • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

        May I also point out that these legislative are not the voted into office on Nov. 2nd. So you comment makes little sense.

        • leprechaunshawn says:

          I’ve got to call you out for not RTFC, or at least not understanding the context of what I said.

          My point was that because of the political changes we made in WI, you can expect more common sense stories like this from WI in the future. You’ve probably heard some of the common coming out of New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. The same can be expected from our newly elected Governor, Scott Walker. For example, Governor Elect Walker has proposed that state union employees begin contributing 5% to their pensions, kind of like the way the rest of us in the real world contribute to our own retirement. This measure alone could save the State of Wisconsin $95 million.

          • Evil_Otto would rather pay taxes than make someone else rich says:

            Why would there be more common sense in a red state?

            Oh, right, because rich people/corporations always know what’s best for the people. Right, forgot about that.

      • leprechaunshawn says:

        Very true!

    • Clyde Barrow says:

      There is a huge difference in mentalities between San Fran and Superior. It doesn’t surprise me that folk in Superior voted against this. It would surprise me if folk from San Francisco would however with their “hear-me-roar” we know better than you “hippie bs”.

    • FrugalFreak says:

      more greedsters back into office? sure.

  3. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    He has a point. Feed your kid whatever you want, but I’d like to eliminate the reward system for bad habits.

    As a research project has brought to light, where vending machines were replaced with carrot vending machines, when kids are hungry they will eat just about whatever you feed them. But when they are rewarded for one meal and not for the other, they will choose the reward. This reinforces bad behavior.

    • YouDidWhatNow? says:

      Key word being “replaced.”

      Taking out regular vending machines and putting in carrot machines, and then declaring that the kids love carrots is a ridiculous endeavor. Of course they’re going to buy the carrots – you’ve provided them no other options.

      • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

        I concluded from that study that kids don’t actually “want” unhealthy food. They just want food. So why not give them healthy food? Reinforce good habits.

        • YouDidWhatNow? says:

          You concluded incorrectly. The only way to make a valid conclusion would be to *add* a carrot vending machine alongside traditional snack food vending machines…and then see what the comparative sales are.

          Kids want stuff that tastes good…that’s what they’re going to buy. Giving them carrots as their one and only option isn’t reinforcing a “good” behavior – it’s reinforcing dislike of those in the position of power who made that their only option.

          • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

            They may prefer candy, but the point is that they won’t refuse healthy food. And research has shows that if you keep a good habit of healthy food you no longer crave unhealthy food all the time.

            So forcing kids to eat healthy, which they don’t really mind, makes them no longer want unhealthy choices.

            • YouDidWhatNow? says:

              If you’re hungry you’re going to eat what’s edible. It’s mildly disturbing that you think that “study” proved anything.

              • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

                I don’t think you understand the study at all, or you wouldn’t be saying that.

    • Excuse My Ambition Deficit Disorder says:

      I believe Pavlov did this with a dog…so in essence you are saying my child’s behavior can be managed just like I do with my dog. See the big flaw with that…is the parent/guardian that caves into their minions every whim and whine. There is such a thing as saying the word “no” and yes they will melt down and make a scene…and that’s when you grow a pair and follow through with the threat of punishment…

      • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

        If you think human nature does not direct correlate with Pavlov’s experiement, you’re pretty naive, or just haven’t done the research. Humans are pretty basic beings, and apples to apples we will pick the one with the reward. And while adults grow into more complex people with the ability to override their baser instincts, children are still developing.

        It takes on average 10 times as long to unlearn something than it does to learn it. That means any bad habit is an uphill battle to correct later on. If you really cared about your kids’ health and well-being, you would support a system that banned rewards for bad habits.

      • pecan 3.14159265 says:

        Actually, positive reinforcement and conditioning works on people, as well as dogs. When kids start to cry and throw tantrums, many parents are taught to ignore the tantrums, as responding to them only conditions the child to do it more to gain attention. Take away the incentive (attention) and many kids stop throwing tantrums. They move onto other obnoxious behaviors. Likewise, when children are rewarded for doing chores, they learn positive reinforcement and conditioning. “When I do these things well, Mom and Dad are happy” and “When Mom and Dad are happy, I am more likely to be able to ask them for a new toy.”

    • Dyscord says:

      Reward? So kids are dogs now?

      Sorry it doesn’t work that way. First off, eating fast food isnt “bad behavior”. If you eat NOTHING but fast food, then there might be a problem.

      Second, taking the toys away is going to do jack shit. Kids don’t eat happy meals just because of the prize. At most stores, you can get the toy without the meal if you so desire.

      This is a parental issue. Nothing more. I’m sick of state governments thinking they can raise our kids better than we can.

      • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

        Jes Christ, you equate research of human behavior to them being dogs? I think that falls under Godwin’s Law of taking statements to their eventual extreme conclusion.

        Poor behavior, in any form including eating, DOES work that way.

      • jjmishu says:

        Well state governments pay to educate (most) of your kids, incarcerate your kids when they eff up, and pay for their health care when they get old.. but hey lets make an ideological stand about giving kids free plastic junk made in China with their high sodium, high fat, and high carbohydrate happy meal.

    • George4478 says:

      So there’s a study where there was a candy bar machine with no reward and a carrot machine with a reward? And the kids chose the healthy food with reward over the non-healthy food, even though both were readily available?

      I have 2 sons and I see how they eat. I don’t believe you.

      Citation for this study.

      • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

        Check the Consumerist backlogs. I’m not going to do it for you.

    • xxmichaelxx says:

      Yes, this is why all of us who grew up with Happy Meals are now FAT and DEAD!! (In other words, you’re being foolish. But you’re right about human == dog when it comes to Pavlovian response.)

  4. Excuse My Ambition Deficit Disorder says:

    I really hate politicians…really….another “for the children” campaign. Hey dumbass…yes you…where do you think the kiddies get the money to pay for this meals. Now go “fix” something that really matters to the people you are trying to represent.

  5. TacomaRogue says:

    I don’t know if these politicians understand how the happy meal purchase works. Little kids aren’t hoofing it down to the closest Micky D’s to gourge themselves on happy meals to get all the “cool” toys. However, they (usually) are in-tow while a parent or two runs around doing errands and needs something quick and easy to satiate a cranky kid. I’ve yet to meet a kid who asks for a happy meal because of the toy, and as a former nanny, I’ve met my fair share of kids. They want the chicken nuggets or the burger or the fries, but the toy gets played with then lost in the span of about 10 minutes.

    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

      Yes, but parents pick meals with toys because it gets their kids to shut up for 20 minutes. So maybe the problem isn’t that toys attract kids. Maybe the problem is that toys attract parents. But the damage caused is the same regardless.

      Maybe instead of punishing, we should use a carrot. Tell fast food restaurants that if they provide a toy for food that meets dietary recommendations for children, that food will be partially subsidized by the state. That will encourage them to offer better choices, possibly at lower prices than the unhealthy food.

    • Michaela says:

      As a former childcare worker, I was met with a different situation. I worked with many kids who did prefer fast food joints that offered toys, especially those of characters they currently liked. Sure, the toy was soon abandoned, but aren’t the “free gifts” that entice adults to purchase particular items also quickly forgotten?

      The argument is that the toys, play pens, and other “kid” aspects of fast food restaurants act as an incentive to get the meal purchased. They override the idea of moderation for many, and unfortunately that can (but not always) lead to a very unhealthy lifestyle.

      I support a town choosing if fast food restaurants can use this type of reward system to get families (and thus cash) in their restaurants. However, I know how I will vote if a proposal like this comes to my town.

    • Fett101 says:

      “I’ve yet to meet a kid who asks for a happy meal because of the toy”

      That’s neat because I know several who do.

      • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

        He assumes children are adults. Adults understand better their impulses and wants. Children do not. Children may not realize when they are being influenced into doing things through marketing. Adults as don’t always know, but are not as easily duped.

        • TacomaRogue says:

          She assumes nothing thank you very much. I simply stated that in my experience with a lot of children none of them have been concerned with the toy, they’ve wanted the food. The last kids I took as a treat both nearly forgot their toys at the resturant, then did forget them at the park, but neither cared. They were 3 and 7, right in that “they don’t know better, only want it for the toy” age range.

    • Dyscord says:

      Pretty much. When I was a kid, I’d always get a hamburger happy meal when my mom went. Usually after church. There were some toys that were cool but I never wanted a happy meal JUST for the toy.

  6. milrtime83 says:

    Duluth is right across the state line, it isn’t like he flew people in to talk.

    • George4478 says:

      How far they came is irrelevant. He still picked non-citizens to represent how the local citizens supported his plan.

      If so many locals supported him, then he should have no trouble finding people who actually lived there. Yet he didn’t.

  7. IT-Princess: I work in IT, you owe me $1 says:

    I don’t want the food, just the Transformers toys. A lot of times they’ll give it to you without the happy meal. I drive through for my morning tea sometimes and if I get someone nice they just give me the toy, thus eliminating the need to destroy my child’s healthy eating.
    We go to McDonald’s MAYBE once a month.

  8. rubicthecube says:

    Thanks a lot everyone, I’m now craving McNuggets. Mmm, delicious heart attack inducing processed chicken by-product. Oh yeah, I want a toy too.

  9. BBP says:

    How is removing the toy going to stop kids from eating at McDonalds? Last I checked, if the parents eat at McDonalds, so, too, will the kids.

    Removing the toy really doesn’t do anything.

  10. kataisa says:

    Further proof that middle America has more common sense than the liberal Hollywood California types who want to control everything you say, eat, and think.

    • Mr. Fix-It says: "Canadian Bacon is best bacon!" says:

      Which reminds me — How’s the video game regulation case going, Cali? o3o

    • suez says:

      Right, I’d much rather have politicians obsessively telling me who I can sleep with, in what positions, and what I smoke afterward… ;^P

    • JulesNoctambule says:

      Yes, middle America just wants to tell me what powers I, as an adult woman, should and shouldn’t have over my own body! Far more sensible and less nannystate, right?

    • DH405 says:

      Yeah. Councilman Hollywood McLiberal, they called him. Movie star. Came to Superior, Wisconsin to be a city councilman.


  11. zombie70433 says:

    What happened to parents saying “no”. My parents explained it to me this way – it’s too much money, and you get too little food.