Thursday, May 23, 2013

McDonald's Healthy Choice Hoax

Fast food eating is something that is a part of our American culture.  We try very hard to stay away from most fast food chains, but once in a while it's a fun treat for the kids to go to their favorite one...McDonalds. Sometimes we can convince them to go to our favorite, Culvers, but we do give in from time to time.  But when you go to a fast food restaurant, how many of you look at the receipt (or even get a receipt)?

Yesterday was a crazy busy day.  I finished three major assignments for my summer classes.  I am taking a full load this summer and it's really intense because I'm packing 3 months worth of full time class curriculum into 5 weeks.  I got finished early and we decided to take the kids swimming.  After swimming, it was very close to lunch time, so we decided to let them have a treat and we hit the McDonald's drive thru on the way home.  We ordered 2 Happy Meals with milk for the little ones and a Mighty Kids meal with chocolate milk for Sweet Pea as a super special "First Day of Summer Vacation" treat.  We usually don't let her indulge in the unbelievably sugar filled chocolate milk that they pre-package.  As I pulled ahead to pay, I noticed on our receipt an "upcharge" for the milks.  The regular milk was $.30 and the chocolate milk was $.20!  When I asked the cashier what this "upcharge" was, he said, "Milk is more expensive, so they charge extra for it.  The Happy Meals have a small soda in their price.  Anything else changes it."  I told him that it wasn't listed on their menu that milk is an additional charge and that it was strange that chocolate was cheaper than regular milk.  He looked at my receipt and said, "No they're the same.  You got two white milks at $.60 and one chocolate milk at $.20."  I knew then, that I should probably bring my concern to a higher authority in the company.

So, I emailed McDonalds.  I got on their website, went through the maze of options until I finally found a form.  I emailed the situation to them and my concerns that they are upcharging for the healthier option.  I explained that they don't mention on their signs that milk is not factored into the price of a Happy Meal and that there is no warning before hand that milk would be extra.

Now, don't you thing that a company that has been slammed for creating unhealthy choices for food and are working so hard to bring back their reputation would support the healthier option?  I think it's ridiculous that they don't automatically factor the charge of milk into their price, but instead support children drinking sugar filled carbonated soda drinks.

Here was the response that I got back from McDonalds.

Yeah...So, this didn't really answer my question.  I didn't choose to make my drink larger or "upsize", I chose a milk.  It just made me feel like they weren't listening.  And of course, I couldn't reply to this email, so I called them.  The representative that I talked to on the phone basically gave me the same spiel that the cashier tried to give me....that milk is extra and that small soda is the drink that is factored into the price.  I raised the same question with her.  "Why does a company that has had so much bad publicity about promoting unhealthy food to children support the unhealthy choice by factoring soda into the price of the meals instead of the healthy option of milk?"  I mean, I know that parents are the ones that get to choose for their kids and some DO choose soda for them.  But at the same time, hasn't McDonalds been working to provide kids with the healthy choices?  Hence putting both fries and apples in the meals.  The conversation ended with me getting very quiet because I realized that this was just how it was.  The representative said that she was very sorry for my displeasure and that she would pass on my idea about promoting milk over soda to the appropriate department.

I personally will not be taking my kids back to McDonalds until they change their policy of either including milk in their meals instead of soda or specifying on their menus that milk is an additional charge.



  1. That was my thoughts too. I don't normally look at the tickets, but I had to sign this one. Out of habit, I always glance over things that I sign. That's why I decided to share it with you.

  2. We still had the mini fries in the Happy Meal here, but the Mighty Kids Meal had the small fry.

  3. They still upcharge for apple juice! I was surprised when I saw that on my receipt the other day.


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