Yes, I have read Fast Food Nation. I have mourned the cows in the feedlot. I hold a personal crusade against High Fructose Corn Syrup and Trans Fat. But it all leaves my mind whenever I see that Golden Calf...er...Arches in the distance. I have drunk the watered down Orange Drink, I have tasted the shortbread communion wafers shaped like Grimace. The part of my soul that looks after my health and well-being has been sold to Ronald McDonald.
My love affair began as a small child when my parents used to buy two cheese burger Happy Meals for the four of us and then tear each burger in half. I remember vividly the first time I was allowed to order off the adult menu. I was with my pastor's daughter, who bought me breakfast. When total came up $6.66 she declared "I am NOT paying that. Give me another hash brown."
Happy Meals gave way to Big Macs, a large Dr. Pepper and those FRIES. So delicately crisp when hot and fresh, that quickly give way to wooden crumbles when cold. If I am really feeling decadent, a hot fudge sundae for 99 cents. I have spent all three of my pregnancies downing 69 cent vanilla cones to help soothe my heartburn. Yes, hand-dipped gourmet ice creams have their place, but sometimes you just want cheap, nostalgic indulgence on a cake cone.
Still, until recently I only had a casual relationship with Ray Kroc's goldmine. We'd haphazardly show up, order a couple of Happy Meals that usually came with some unfortunate toy that I'd later have to sneak out of the house (the Shrek quiz cards were especially horrible, and found their way into the garbage can AT MCDONALD's). There was no rhyme or reason...until now.
I was recently told that if you save 10 proofs of purchases off the bottoms of your Happy Meals they can be redeemed for a free one. This is of course, not advertised. If I had known, I probably could have earned about 100 free meals by now. So now, I jealously guard my boxes, I tell everyone about the promotion and sometimes they graciously give me theirs, I have even snuck a few out of the top layers of garbage and then immediately washed my hands (which prompted my husband to say "I don't even know you anymore." Um Yes...you do! There is no way that sort of behavior could have surprised you).
As I mentioned in my previous blog right now Mickey D's has Lego Batman and Madame Alexander Wizard of Oz Dolls. I am a woman POSESSED! I have decided to only go to McDs when they have toys we really, really want, and then we will load up. I will check the website, and make plans. So far we have Lego Batman, The Joker, Mr. Freeze (my favorite), Penguin's Boat, Joker's Helicopter, and the Batmobile. We still need Robin and Batman's boat. We also have Dorothy, Glinda, The Wicked Witch, The Cowardly Lion, The Flower Munchkin, and the Winkie Guard. We are missing two Munchkins, the Mayor (but I don't care about him so much), the Tin Man, the Scarecrow and my FAVORITE, The Flying Monkey. But they will be mine. Oh YES. They will be mine...er...Alice's.
The people who work at McDonald's don't fully seem to understand the quest. I try to tell them if you have ANY of the Happy Meal toys that I don't have I WILL buy all of them. I will eat a Happy Meal, the baby will eat a Happy Meal, whatever. But they just act annoyed. Dude...I am your JOB SECURITY.
After two weeks of Happy Meals I am getting a little sick of it. After this is Hot Wheels and Barbie, and I can take a break. But until then, I will sometimes choose milk and apple slices to minimize guilt. I will contemplate how switching to all white meat chicken didn't change the rubbery consistency of a McNugget, and how the breading feels like armor after all these years. I will relish the flavor of the meat, which does not resemble any other beef I have ever tasted. And I will wonder why new jeans are so tight.
The Glorious SHERRI brought me a FLYING MONKEY TODAY and SCARECROW. She is DIVINE.
In other news, my Winkie Guard is missing. I am quite fond of him.
I have found my WINKIE GUARD. Oh Winkie Guard, I think I love you most of all!
*FINAL NEWS UPDATE*
Today I bought Five Happy Meals, and my search is complete. I got Lollipop Guild Munchkin, Lullabye League Munchkin, Tin Man and The Wizard. Also Lego Robin. And now I can worry about something else for a while.