Okay, so, I like to get Happy Meals sometimes.
I know, I know. Fast food is evil and unhealthy, blah blah blah. Sometimes I like evil and unhealthy food–doesn’t everyone? All things in moderation, that’s what my mom used to say.
Besides, McDs is actually pretty good about diverse hiring. And apparently they pay a slightly higher standard wage than other fast food chains, like Wendy’s or Jack in the Box … I mean, we’re talking pennies higher, not dollars. But of all the shit poverty wages paid by multinational fast food chains, McDonalds pays the highest, gosh darn it. And its not like we’ve got Shake Shacks or In-n-Outs around here, so …
I mean, granted, there is a local, small-chain fast food drive thru that serves hamburgers, shakes, hot dogs and tots … but they’re all the way across town, drive thru only, close ridiculously early, only take cash (still don’t run debit or credit even though its been 9 years since the first iPhone was released and 7 years since the Square app debuted), and they use this weird gross thousand island/ketchup “special sauce” on everything. They’re immensely popular locally for some reason, but way more of a hassle than a fast food treat as far as I’m concerned–plus, since its a small business, I’ll bet dollars to donuts the employees are getting minimum wage, crap hours, no benefits, and don’t even get the buffer of HR when their management/ bosses start going on power trips.
So, yeah. I do like McDs for a treat. And Happy Meals–the big kid Happy Meals–are my favorite. They’re a rational meal size, and I justify the indulgence of fries and nuggets dipped in sweet n sour to myself through the apple slices and by choosing a milk (okay, chocolate, but whatever. Its not soda).
Plus: I get a toy!
Usually the toys just go into this travel suitcase of things to entertain my niblings on family game night, but still. Toys are fun!
So yeah, in my book, as the occasional treat, the Happy Meal wins. I go once or twice a month, depending on my mood. Sometimes less.
Usually when they ask whether I want a boy toy or a girl toy, I kind of grimace to myself and just say whatever gender is assigned to the toy of my preference–like when they had the American Girl dolls, hells yeah I wanted a girl toy, and when they had the superhero headbands and eyeglass masks, I asked for a girl toy until I got the Wonder Woman tiara, and then a boy toy until I got the Batman glasses.
I kinda dislike the question, tbh. I wish they would say, “Would you like a Ninja Turtle or Hello Kitty toy?”– like identifying by brand instead of gendering the toys.
Although … at Halloween they had these Peanuts cartoon themed buckets in purple and orange, and when they said, “Would you like a boy toy or a girl toy?” I said, “Boy,” because I was curious which color would be assigned to which gender, and why. It made no sense. Purple, apparently, was for a boy.
But I was curious if that was actually assigned or employee whim, so I went back a few days later and this time asked for a girls toy (orange). I wasn’t satisfied, though, because that still could’ve been chance–too small of a sample. So I kept making up excuses through October to go back and order more Happy Meals, always switching up the gender, because I suspected it was entirely random and they didn’t actually have the buckets colors assigned to a gender, except I started losing track of which gender I’d asked for at which visit, and soon I just had an uneven pile of cheap plastic orange and purple buckets.
So … yeah.
Sometimes, though, when both toys are equally stupid to me, I say, “Surprise me,” and I’ve noticed when I do that, I always get a boy toy.
I wonder if they get shipped disproportionately more boy toys?
Or if girl toys are requested more and run out of faster, so when no preference is expressed, they try to offload boy toys?
Is it regional?
Or is this unconscious bias? Are they assuming boys toys are more preferable, and try to please the customer by guessing preference in the absence of expressed interest?
Or are boys toys less preferable, and they’re actually thinking, “Stupid-ass adult ordering themselves a kids meal–I’m giving them a stupid-ass boys toy.”
Maybe the toys are in bins, and the boys toy bin is closer to the drive thru window. Maybe if I went inside more often, it would default to girls toys when a neutral option is given.
There is a slight possibility I’m overthinking this, haha.
Still can’t help but wonder.
I also have a theory that the McDs in Hawks Prairie actually ran out of sweet n sour sauce years ago and never put in another order to corporate, and they’re just pretending to “forget” to pack it in the orders, because I do not think I’ve gotten a single sweet n sour sauce from that location since I started going to McDs again in 2013, even though its the only side sauce I order.