Here’s How McDonald’s Is Removing All Traces Of Irritating Happy Meal Fitness Trackers

In the space of just a few weeks, McDonald’s began stuffing kid-friendly fitness trackers in its Happy Meal boxes in Canada and the U.S. and then abruptly stopped offering the devices after receiving reports of skin irritation. Now, it appears the fast food giant wants to put the whole ordeal behind it, by scrubbing every trace the trackers existed from its stores, websites, and general environment.

According to documents seen by Consumerist, McDonald’s recently sent a two-page memo to company-owned locations across the country, ordering the restaurants to stop including the trackers in Happy Meals, and instructing them on how to break the bad news to customers while scrubbing all marketing materials related to the short-lived promotion.

The memo, which was sent last Wednesday, directs employees at affected restaurants to secure all “opened and unopened” boxes of the Step-It Activity wristbands with a notice stating “Hold/Do not use.”

“The distribution center will arrange for an urgent pick-up of the Step-It Activity Bands,” the note states. “Alternate toys will be delivered to restaurants starting as soon as Aug. 17.”

In the meantime, employees are to use replacement toys they have on hand in Happy Meal bags. If they don’t have a replacement toy, they can offer customers free apple slices or Go-Gurt.

The company, however, doesn’t specifically address how employees should handle questions about why the activity trackers are no longer available.

If a customer asks for a Step-It Activity Band, the worker is simply to say, “We are out of stock of this toy. Would you like a different toy instead?”

In the case that a customer asks if the toys will be back, the employee is to say they are “completely out and will not be getting more.”

While the responses make it clear that the Step-It bands won’t be making a reappearance, they don’t actually address or inform customers that a skin irritation has been associated with the devices. Instead, the canned answers make it appear the devices were simply so popular they ran out.

Additional questions from customers are to be referred to McDonald’s toll-free number, per the memo.

As some stores wait for those alternative toys, all locations have been instructed to remove all signs the toys existed from their stores, including taking down all signs or posters from the front counter, drive-thru, and toy displays:

Consumerist reached out to McDonald’s regarding the memo and its instructions — or lack of disclosures.

A spokesperson for the company did not address our specific questions, and instead provided the previously released statement:

“We are voluntarily removing the Step It! Activity Band Happy Meal toys in our restaurants in our United States and Canadian markets. It will no longer be offered as part of our Happy Meals. We have taken this swift and voluntary step after receiving limited reports of potential skin irritations that may be associated from wearing the band.

“Nothing is more important to us than the safety of our customers and we are fully investigating this issue. Our restaurants are now offering our youngest guests an alternative Happy Meal toy.”

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