High School Student Takes on McDonald’s over Girls Toy vs. Boys Toy

Have you seen the article about Antonia Ayres-Brown who is taking on McDonald’s over the “Girls” Toy vs “Boys” Toy in the Happy Meal?  (See her article on Slate: McDonald’s Gave me the “Girl’s Toy” with My Happy Meal. So I Went to the CEO)

In 2008, Antonia first wrote to the CEO of McDonald’s about being asked whether the family wanted a “girl’s toy” or a “boy’s toy” at the drive through. She received a response that employee’s are not trained to use those terms and that experience is not the norm. This summer, Antonia and her father visited various McDonald’s locations to collect data on this phenomenon.

Kudos to Antonia, as my 8 year old daughter has complained about this issue since she was about 3. About half of the time, she prefers the toy that is designated as the “boy’s toy” to the “girl’s toy”. Even though she would prefer that toy, she complained about it being referred to as the boy’s toy. I definitely do not believe McDonald’s 2008 response that the use of “boy” and “girl” were not the norm as I definitely encountered that phrasing at our local McDonald’s in Michigan where as Antonia’s experiences were in Connecticut. My receipt typically includes the terms “truck toy” or “doll toy” to represent “boy” or “girl”.  I have even been asked boy or girl when there was a single Happy Meal toy line because the system required an answer.

For example, the current toys are: Skylanders and My Little Pony. Both items that my daughter has liked. However, at 8, she has outgrown My Little Pony while Skylanders is in her age range. She would definitely be asking for the Skylanders toy. However, McDonald’s is no longer on her list of preferred counter service restaurants so we probably won’t be stopping their for a Happy Meal to test out how our local McDonald’s are doing.

Has anyone been to one of our local Ann Arbor McDonald’s locations recently? What has been your experience?


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Ann Arbor with Kids is your go-to source for Ann Arbor Family Fun. It got its start in an activity list that I was compiling for the playgroup I ran at our church. When my daughter started preschool, the other moms were thrilled to hear about my list. I decided to take the list public in 2009.

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