Every few months the San Francisco Board of Supervisors does something, well, stupid, that gets our fair city all kinds of national ridicule. (I mean, “national press.”) The latest foray into proving that they are the kings and queens of coming up with ridiculous ideas was Supervisor Eric Mar’s bill to ban toys from McDonald’s Happy Meals unless the crap (I mean, “food”) in the box meets certain nutritional requirements.
Cue the scoffing. (Side note: Aasif Mandvi, you are a genius.)
And now, cue the new laws in other states that will ban bans. Seriously.
Specifically, Florida and Arizona are working on legislation that tells cities and towns that they are banned from banning toys and other promotional items from food packages. Hmmm…has anyone proposed a ban like San Francisco’s in either Florida or Arizona? Nope. But just in case:
“We wanted to be proactive in making sure it didn’t take place here,” explained Steve Chucri, president of the Arizona Restaurant Association, which lobbied for the bill. “To arbitrarily say a toy in a Happy Meal or crayons given to a child in a restaurant is going to predestine them to only having fatty foods in laughable.”
Even though I happen to agree that the original legislation was pretty silly, I have to say that this reaction seems equally as silly. In the first case, it should be up to parents to give their kids food that isn’t made out of this pink goopy nastinessÂ or that’s only 35% real meat. Does a toy really make a kid want to eat that stuff? No, they want to eat it because it’s full of fat and salt and sugar and it tastes good to little tastebuds.
On the flip side, I think the legislation to ban the bans is just as ridiculous. Is it just an attempt by politicians to flout their pro-business, free-market politicalÂ bona fides?
In both cases, my reaction is: come back and deal with non-issues like this when the economy is back on track, when unemployment is lower, when all the potholes are filled, and when Muni doesn’t suck. Until then, can we focus on some real issues, please?