Monet Parham, mother of two children, filed a suit claiming that McDonald’s unfairly uses toys to lure children into its restaurants. The plaintiff, who is represented by the Center for Science in the Public Interest, a nutrition advocacy group, claims the company’s advertising violates California consumer protection laws. In the lawsuit, Parham admits she frequently tells her children “no” when they ask for Happy Meals. A lawsuit that seeks to stop McDonald’s from selling Happy Meals must be dismissed because parents can always prohibit their children from eating them, the hamburger giant said in a court filing on Monday. “She was not misled by any advertising, nor did she rely on any information from McDonald’s,” the company said. “In short, advertising to children any product that a child asks for but the parent does not want to buy would constitute an unfair trade practice,” the company said. Read more on International Business Times.
This is one of the perils of viewing consumers as minors (and this is no joke about fast food specially designed for kids). Consumerism is a very important social movement, and Consumer Law introduced some innovative nuances to classic Private Law rules, but paternalism is not (or should not be) one of its characteristics. Parents cannot argue that they had no choice but buy “Happy Meals”, as if their children were victims of an irresistible appeal, and the poor progenitors were slaves to such desire. Who is being childish, after all?