The Whitehall Ledger - Serving Southern Jefferson County in the Great State of Montana

By Jack H. Smith
Ledger Publisher 

COLUMN: Not so Happy Meal


February 21, 2018

When I was a little kid it was always a big deal when my Grandma Smith would take all of the grandkids to McDonalds. It was a special time with a special woman who always made sure we had McDonalds coupons in each of our Christmas and Birthday gifts. There would also be a savings bond, but to a kid the coupons were a much bigger deal.

There was one time my Grandma who was a notoriously bad driver attempted to take us to McDonalds and we ended up 15 miles away in a neighboring town, but I appreciated that she at least tried.

As a kid there was something special about getting a Happy Meal and going outside to play with the Hamburgler and Grimace. It wouldn't matter if it was 5 degrees out, we would always rush outside pre and post meal to get in as much playing as possible. It was much a different time and we didn't need elaborate indoor playgrounds or ball pits that seem to be a wonderful breeding ground for the bubonic plague.

A few hours ago I was reading an article about McDonalds and it shocked me. Starting in 2022 McDonalds has plans to remove the cheeseburger from the Happy Meal. I could not believe what I was reading. I understand that America has some problems with over eating and not so healthy lifestyles, but this seems to be a bit much.

I'm thinking that if someone is so concerned about their health or the health of their children, than they probably shouldn't be going to McDonalds in the first place. It's not like the Golden Arches are known for their exquisite diet program.

I see recipes on a daily basis that substitute zucchini or cauliflower for pasta and I just figure it's probably easier to just not eat pasta or use the vegetable the old fashioned way and not as a pizza crust.

Part of being a kid is being able to go to places like McDonalds and to eat a bunch of crap and not feel bad about it. It is the perfect place for grandparents to take their grandkids and let them have whatever they want and as much of it as they want.

I'm hoping they think about reconsidering this decision because going to McDonalds won't be much fun for a kid if by 2030 they end up with three apple slices, a head of lettuce, a cherry tomato, and some kale to go with their cheaply made toy promoting one of the 2,344 super hero movies that come out each summer.


I once watched a documentary called "Super Size Me", and it detailed a guy named Morgan Spurlock who ate at McDonalds three times a day for a month. The guys health wasn't that great after a month, but that was eating there 90 times in a month, of course it's going to make a difference. I'm sure if kids ate there every day like he did it could be a big problem, but what on earth is wrong with a cheeseburger with a Happy Meal every now and then.

I feel like fast food places always get the criticism when people make bad decisions. I worked at McDonalds when I was 18 and I've got to say there are a lot of people who eat there just about everyday, but those also aren't the people who are going to keep coming if there are no cheeseburgers in the Happy Meal. They will go somewhere else.

As I get older, I'm not the biggest fan of McDonalds, but every once in awhile I'll eat a Big Mac and I survive. If anything it gives me some nostalgia although there aren't the dangerous outdoor playgrounds around anymore.


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