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what is it anyway?

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

I will never learn.
No, really.
Never.
Why do I keep doing this to myself?
Why do I keep buying Happy Meals?
It's not so much the food that bother me.
It's the toys.
They drive me NUTS!!!!
With our recent vacation and emergency trip to Colorado the mom-mobile is littered with TONS of the little buggars.
TONS!
My only excuse is it's so easy to order 'four cheeseburger happy meals with a milk.'
See how that rolls off the tongue?
So much smoother than saying....'yes, I would like four cheeseburgers with four small fries and four milks."
See?
Easier.
Simpler.
Much more concise.
And cheaper to boot.
But there-in lies the trap.
Those darn little toys that come with the meal will get ya every time.
Can I get an AMEN, sista?!
Are they not the most annoying, worthless pieces of plastic you've ever paid $3 for?!
What are they anyway?
Half the time you can't tell what the toy is supposed to do...even with the instructions.
And they're almost always loud enough to start a stampede!
And if the toys aren't loud and obnoxious, the kids are.
Let me set the scene for you...
Imagine five very grumpy people jammed into a white mom-mobile. The mom is driving the kids 500 miles by herself, dodging tornadoes and hailstones the size of small watermelon the entire way. They've just pulled out of the Mikky D's drive-through on their marathon journey through the middle of nowhere Nebraska.
They are tired.
They are hungry.
They have been riding for hours on end with no form of entertainment (because the DVD player went kaputz and there's nothing but 1930s country channeling through the radio).
Suddenly...the children discover a toy in the bottom of their happy meal bag.
('Ode to Joy' plays here...)
Everything starts out innocently enough.
'Oh cool, Mom! Look, an Indiana Jones action figure that talks!'
'Oh goodie,' says mom. 'Please keep it down back there.'
'Mom,' yells another. 'Mine has a ball that rolls down a ramp.'
'Great,' she replies.
Slowly but surely the racket insensifies. Action figures fight off bad guys, basketball stars are born and ramps become race cars.

Finally the 10 year old throws the ball at the six year old missing him entirely but bonking Mom on the head.
'Alright,' she says through gritted teeth. 'I said settle down. If I have to talk to you about this one more time I'm taking the toys away!'
Quiet ensues. Everyone nodding their heads in agreement.

'We'll be good mom.'
Ha! Within seconds Indiana Jones launches an aerial assault on Strawberry Shortcake while aliens bang heads on mini-van windows.
'ALRIIIIIIGHT,' Mom screams. 'That's it! Pass 'em forward NOW! And Nick, don't you dare stuff them behind your back. I see you. Give it here! NOW! I'm throwing them out as soon as we get home!'

Sigh.
Yea.
I know.
Not pretty.
Unfortunately it's a true story.
The problem is (and don't tell the kids this) I can't bring myself to throw those darn things away.
I did, after all, pay three bucks for 'em.
I can't just toss 'em!
Aaaaach!

16 salty messages:

Old DAN AND Little ANN June 11, 2008 at 1:04 AM  

It's almost like I was there. I'm so sorry! Maybe pay them an extra .50 and buy the toys back from them. Dave Ramsey would tell you that if you invested that $3 in a mutual fund for 35 years earning 12 percent ... you'd all be millionaires in no time. I'd tell you, buy the Happy Meals, and then pay the kids for the toys!

Rachael June 11, 2008 at 6:48 AM  

Oh those Happy Meal toys are the bane of my existance. I finally DID start throwing them away, and let me tell you: it feels good! The kids, don't even know I throw them away, so they obviously don't miss them, but I am always sneaky about it so no one will pull them back out of the trash. You should try it, it's very liberating! You paid for the food, not the plastic!

Tina in CT June 11, 2008 at 8:08 AM  

After the girls have been here, I toss the ones left behind.

How is your MIL - been waiting for an update?

Mark and Courtney June 11, 2008 at 9:02 AM  

Send 'em to Goodwill. There's always a pile there!

I had to laugh--we've ordered kids' meals one time at Arby's, and before I took the bags from the counter I took the toys out and handed them back to the cashier! LOL He was surprised, but they didn't go home with me! :) :) I am perfectly capable of acquiring junk without the help of fast-food restaurants, thank you very much. ;)

AdoptaMama June 11, 2008 at 9:15 AM  

AMEN! Like Rachael, I've started getting rid of them (although not tossing them, but putting them in the 'Goodwill' box so some kid can purchase his "treasures" while giving at the same time). Things like Strawberry Shortcake or My Little Ponies A & K play with religiously, but those funky looking things that have no obvious function pretty much get tossed in the box the next day when the girls are out of sight. I do take a long hard look at the toys when deciding whether to get happy meals or to just take the extra time to order all the items individually. It takes patience, but with lots of practice, you can do it, too! ;) I've got my girls brainwashed saying, "We really won't play with that for more than a day anyway..."

How's your MIL doing?

~Patti

Diana June 11, 2008 at 10:20 AM  

I love your "life" posts! I agree, throw the darn things away! Happy meal toys rank right up there with birthday party favors, the junk prizes they bring home from school like every other day, and the stuff they pull out of the drawer at the dentist's office. There's only one thing worse than having them scattered all over the van...and that's having them scattered all over the house.

But, if you absolutely can't stand to part with them, you can always collect them, put them in your own prize box and let the kids earn them out one at a time for good behavior. And when they need extra jobs for negative behavior or spending money or whatever, have them go around and collect all the little buggers again.

Kathy & Matt June 11, 2008 at 1:40 PM  

About once every 6 weeks, I toss out happy meal toys. I hate them too!

jessy June 11, 2008 at 1:58 PM  

Amen! Preach it, sister! *chuckling*
Like some of the other commenters, I take a good long look at what toy is being offered. Fortanately our family's high standards on what we allow our kids to watch on t.v., avoids much Happy Meal misery. And another good part is taken care of by the home daycare business. The funny thing is I rarely have to enforce it.
Ian will say, "MOM! Can we get the Happy Meal?"
And someone else will answer, "NO! Can't you see it's Sponge Bob?" (Insert--Bratz, Harry Potter, a choking hazard...etc.)
And yet a third child will pipe up, "Yeah, Ian, dat's not a-po-pi-ate."

Auntie G June 11, 2008 at 8:55 PM  

Tami,
You are just too funny!! Luckily I am not to the Happy Meal stage with Johanna yet. Thanks for the warning.
Gail

Drew Michelle and Luke Paras June 11, 2008 at 10:07 PM  

Threw one out myself today! I don't even let them hit the house!! Why can't they give out Beanie Babies or Lil' Kinz? Why do they have to be loud and obnoxious American Idol singers?

Living Life with Sophia June 11, 2008 at 10:30 PM  

Sophia just got the KungFu Panda happy meal toy talk about annoying! The funny thing is she loves it!!

MamaPoRuski June 12, 2008 at 6:00 PM  

So sorry to hear that. We never open the packages, they disappear unwrapped into the mom bag and reappear during christmas time to stuff the operation christmas child shoe boxes to send overseas...

The Hinshaws June 12, 2008 at 9:58 PM  

That's a great idea - socking them away for Christmas donations. I'm not organized enough to keep up with them for that long, though. My favorite is Chic-Fil-A where you can trade the toys in for ice cream. I wish McDs would start that!

I also am a closet happy-meal-toy-trasher. I sneak them out, and what do ya know? They NEVER miss them! (what does that tell ya?)

Irina June 13, 2008 at 9:08 AM  

Nice! :) I like your stories :)

Missy June 14, 2008 at 10:36 AM  

You could always take the toys out before the kids get the meals. Collect the toys in a box through the year and give them out as halloween treats instead of candy. I did that once and I think I was the most popular house on the block. :) Long story on how I had so many toys with no kids.

Jenni June 15, 2008 at 4:04 PM  

Ha! My kids got that same strange alien-toy, and I looked at it and thought, "What the heck IS this?!"

We've got a road trip ahead of us. I think I'll take this post as a cautionary tale and avoid the Happy Meals for the duration of the drive!

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