So today I allowed the daughter to skip school for our annual December Daddy-Casey NYC Bonanza.
As always, it was fantastic. We had lunch at a quaint tea shop (she loved the banana-and-Nutela crepe), hit up Dylan’s Candy Bar, saw the tree at Radio City, visited Macy’s for the world’s most underrated holiday puppet show, roamed FAO, hit up the M&M and Hershey stores, rode the Times Square Toys ‘r’ Us Ferris Wheel. Before catching the train for home, I allowed Casey one final indulgence—McDonald’s.
I know … I know—gross. Unhealthy. Nasty. Today, however, was a special one, so I allowed it. Which leads me to the point of this post.
Casey ordered the four-piece McNugget Happy Meal, which costs about $4.50. The price includes the chicken, a small fries, a milk and a little toy. On the back of the box, in LARGE letters, it says, “Happy Meal Helps Kids.” Then, in slightly smaller type: “Now with every Happy Meal or Mighty Kids Meal purchase, a donation is made to Ronald McDonald House Charities.”
Great, you think. Wonderful. McDonald’s giving back.
Here’s the small print, which is truly tiny, tiny, tiny and on the bottom of the page, in orange lettering against a red backdrop: “McDonald’s donates a penny per Happy Meal or Mighty Kids Meal sold. Participation may vary.”
According to a coupe of sources, McDonald’s sells approximately 2.5 million Happy Meals per year. If, on average, they cost, oh, $5, that’s $12,500,000. Of those earnings, McDonald’s donates a whopping $25,000 to charity. Which, as anyone who works in massive-scale fundraising will tell you, is pretty much jack shit.
In other words, McDonald’s is using the idea of charity to have you buy more Happy Meals, in the hope that doing so makes you feel like you’re doing good in the world.
A friggin’ penny?