When Emma and Jeremy were little, we’d sometimes go to McDonalds. I say sometimes because at the time we were all vegetarian, which made ordering food from McDonalds a bit tricky. Now with Emma still vegetarian and me vegan, we just hit our local Thai restaurant. It works now but they don’t offer colourful children’s toys or have a playground, so it wouldn’t have worked as well then.
I always thought of the display at the front of the store as the display of disappointment. The kids treated it like Christmas. They’d come running into the restaurant and glue themselves to the plexiglass, eagerly picking which toy they were going home with.
The display was wonderful for me (sometimes) because I could say exactly what toys they wanted instead of going through the whole “boys toys and girls toys” issue but we found their first choices were usually sold out and often their second choices were too. At that point I’d ask if the remaining toys could be placed on the counter for the kids to pick and then I’d get a blank look. This request confused the heck out of most of the cashiers, who couldn’t seem to understand I didn’t want a boy’s toy for Jeremy and a girl’s toy for Emma; I wanted them to be able to pick.
The reason was because the generic choice was always a disappointment, even more than their sold out display. Usually Jeremy did not want the boy’s toy but sometimes it was the reverse. Every once in a while McDonald’s would chuck out a miniature Barbie with pre-painted clothes. She was too small to play with any other dolls and there was no option for changing her outfit. Basically she was boring. Then both kids wanted a boy’s toy.
It’s funny though. I remember the frustration of arguing (politely) with a confused teenager to get a choice of toys. I just asked Jeremy and all he can remember is the one season McDonalds offered electronic video games (back when he was six years old).