The oh so clever nannying fussbuckets who run San Francisco thought they'd got one over on Ronald McDonald:
The politicians bragged that they had instituted a de facto ban on the Happy Meal when they passed the law. Their assumption was that the crafty corporate types had programmed kids to incessantly nag their parents to buy meals that the nanny state had decreed unhealthy by dangling a plastic toy in front of impressionable youngsters.
Once the evil plastic toy was gone, Little Johnny and Little Sue would be clamoring for tofu burgers, carrot sticks, and spinach soufflé. The evil McDonald’s Empire would be brought to its knees.
Now leaving aside the gross immorality of this interference in personal choice, it seems that those running McDonald's are smarter than those running San Francisco (no surprise there):
Happy Meal sales haven’t slowed down, McDonald’s is making even more money, and parents are now spending an extra 10 cents per kid every time they stop by the golden arches.
How can that be?
McDonald’s simply started charging separately for the toys allowing them to continue hawking the dreaded Happy Meal. It essentially allowed Ronald McDonald’s bosses to institute a price increase by not having to package a toy with the meal.
And to cap it all Ronnie's mates are giving the extra revenue to their house charity that helps seriously ill children and their families.
You see New Puritan regulation of personal choice doesn't work. Minimum prices for booze promotes smuggling, home production and moonshine. Smoking bans push smoking and drinking into "smoky-drinkies", the 21st century equivalent of the speakeasy. And officious attempts to target the food preferences of ordinary folk will result in much the same.
It really is time we started treating people like grown ups. So, for perhaps the first time in my life (and maybe the last) I shall say well done to McDonalds!