Several readers sent me links to articles about The Guy From CSPI suing McDonald’s for offering toys with Happy Meals.  My wife also left a copy of a newspaper article about the lawsuit on my desk this morning, perhaps hoping she’d see me do a spit-take with my coffee.  I was of course planning to write a post on the topic, but decided to create a video instead.


p.s. — Our internet was down for a good chunk of the day.  Turned out a connection outside the house was damaged by the snow and 15-degree nights we’ve had lately.  Sorry for the delay in responding to comments.

37 Responses to “The Guy From CSPI Sues Again …”
  1. Ginastarke says:

    Somebody should tell the guy from the CSPI that you can just BUY the happy meal toy, for usually around a buck.

    I guess you’re only being manipulated if you buy food.

  2. Sean says:

    Great video, how many times did it take to break him down?

    Shouldn’t he also sue cereal makers for putting toys in with their sugary abominations? Oh wait, sugary cereals are fine because they don’t violate any vegetarian ethics.

    What’s really making kids fat? Cap’n Crunch every morning or the occasional Big Mac?

    Yup, we got prizes in cereals, Cracker Jacks, and all kinds of other junk growing up. Funny how only Happy Meals circumvent parental authority.

  3. TWV says:

    OMG, this had me rolling in the floor…can I sue for that? I bumped my head. I blame the guy from CSPI.

    Please sue him, not me.

  4. Aaron Curl says:

    Fabulous! Hilarious! Yet frightening. I just don’t understand some peoples thought process and when I try to understand I go a little insane, so I just keep living in reality instead of fantasy land.

  5. mrfreddy says:

    CSPI guy’s voice sounds oddly familiar…

  6. Debbie says:

    ROFL, that was awesome. 🙂

  7. Kenny F. says:

    I like the black-socks-with-sandals look. Nice touch 🙂

    My wife drew CSPI guy for the film, and when she first showed him to me, I nearly split a gut.

  8. Hank Garner says:

    That was hilarious Tom. I wondered when you would address this. I think the last line was the most poignant. 😉

  9. Bullinachinashop says:

    I have enough of my patience tested by people who act afraid of the KFC double down. I don’t know how you put up with that kind of condescending BS. How can a court legally tell a business they can’t sell toys?

    Is it the mix of toys and food that offends? Why is it then, that Toys’R Us can sell all that candy? Is my daughter better off eating the candy she complains for when I get a birthday present than playing with a free toy when I get her lunch at Walmart? How can any of this make sense?

    It doesn’t make sense. This is about CSPI’s hatred of McDonald’s, not anything reasonable or logical.

  10. Karen says:

    Tom, you have such a beautiful family! And so multi-talented! Thanks for a good belly laugh to start my day!

    One question: When douchebags like CSPI guy initiate these lawsuits, is there anything a common red-blooded, red-meat fan, and free-enterprise-loving American can do?

    We can only hope the courts apply a bit of sanity. I’m sure there’s a reason CSPI picked California to file this suit … less of a chance they’ll run up against a judge or jury with common sense.

  11. Jason says:

    Ha. Nice work Tom, and Chareva. And girls. Point well made! Too bad you don’t have teenagers. You could easily have added buying them cars, dresses, piercings, computers, and of course cell phones. How can you possibly tell a teenager NO to getting a cell phone? Parents are just powerless.. of course.

  12. Scott says:

    Priceless! Sent the link to my wife, but told her to make sure the kids aren’t in the room … don’t want them to learn that our limit is 15 times pestering 😉

  13. Pam says:

    Loved the video! Your kids are great (and really cute, too)! When my husband and I were graduate students with very little income, my daughter’s toybox was about 75% fast food toys. It was a cheap, cost-effective treat when you had to make money go as far as it could. Going to MacDonald’s with a Playplace was about as inexpensive a family night out as you could ever find. Plus, all her friends had the toys, too, so it greatly facilitated social interactions in the toddler set. CSPI’s lawsuit, the banning of fast food joints in poorer parts of LA, the WIC program not allowing needy women to obtain whole milk (and now potatoes, I hear) — I believe there’s a pattern here and it doesn’t strike me as being the altruistic one that The CSPI Guy and his brethren claim that it is. (PS: my daughter who was weaned on fast-food family nights out is now 5-feet 10-inches tall, 125 lbs, stunningly beautifu,l and majoring in Philosophy at a major university and getting mostly A’s (not to brag or anything) — I just don’t think fast food had any bad effect on her health or mental abilities!

    Isn’t it amazing …. CSPI Guy believes when you chose to take your daughter to McDonald’s, you were being manipulated. And here you probably thought you were making a choice.

  14. Jeanne says:

    Loved it. Why can’t people use their brains!

    CSPI Guy thinks most of us don’t have any.

  15. Richard Tamesis, M.D. says:

    Maybe someone should bring a class action lawsuit against them for forcing fast food restaurants to use trans fats back in the 1980’s.

    I’d love to see that happen, if only to close them down.

  16. Becky says:

    Bwahahahahaha!!! Can’t type…laughing too hard…gasp, gasp.

    I’ll definitely make sure my kids see this one. They love mocking the “guy from CSPI”

  17. DiscoStew says:

    I’m so glad the CSPI doesn’t operate in Australia. If they did, the guy from CSPI would be beaten senseless………..

    Let’s see if we can send him down under. That would be a fine result.

  18. Jesrad says:

    Awesome, I love it ! And it’s very apparent that talent runs in the entire family 🙂

    Thank you.

  19. Shelley says:

    It seems I have some kind of parenting super power, as I’ve never found my parental control circumvented by anything McDonalds does. And as much as my children love their food (not picky eaters, my two!), what they love the most about McDonalds is the playland. Hey, could there be a law suit in that too? Damn you McDonalds, the lure of a fun playland where kids can run around like mad things for hours and have heaps of fun is just too much…

    John Banzhaf, the lawyer Spurlock sucked up to in Super Size Me, actually believes the playlands are some kind of evil lure to hook kids on McDonald’s.

  20. Katy says:

    When I was a child, there was a family restaurant, Francois’s, that had a large toy chest that children could select a toy from if their parents ok’d it (that whole clean plate club business). MY reason for wanting to go there, however, was because it was the only place in town with chocolate pudding:-).

    Would CSPI’s definition of manipulation extend to the commercials for Toaster Strudel (the one kids WANT to eat)? How about the latest Nutella commercial where the kids push aside their dry wheat toast until Nutella appears. No more fighting to get kids to eat!! Notice when listing the wholesome ingredients, sugar isn’t one of them. Just cocoa and nuts and skim milk. No sweetener?? Riiiiight.

    CSPI pushes cereals as health food and seems to have no problem with all the cartoon characters and prizes used to sell cereals. I guess we’re only being manipulated when we feed our kids foods The Guy From CSPI doesn’t like.

  21. Ellen says:

    Check out the wording from the legal docket of the lawsuit:

    “McDonald’s exploits very young California children and harms their
    health by advertising unhealthy Happy Meals with toys directly to them.”

    How come he hasn’t filed a lawsuit against the television networks?? I mean, come on, aren’t the TV networks aiding and abetting by broadcasting Mcdonald’s commercials DIRECTLY to these children??

    This lawsuit should be laughed out existence. Unfortunately, CSPI filed it in California, where the judges are often so screwy, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals is known in the legal community as the 9th Circus Court of Appeals.

  22. Katy says:

    “McDonald’s exploits very young California children and harms their
    health by advertising unhealthy Happy Meals with toys directly to them.”

    And then the children take Mommy’s or Daddy’s wallet and the keys to the car as they lie sleeping and head on over to the Golden Arches for a Happy Meal but get in a crash? Is this the health hazard?

    Oh, wait, this statement claims that the advertising, not the food, is harming the children’s health. Hey, maybe they’re right!

    That’s what’s so twisted about this whole lawsuit. The theory is that kids see the ads, want the toys, and beg to go to McDonald’s until parents give in. Parents who can’t say no to a whining child are going to have far worse problems than buying too many Happy Meals.

  23. Joyce says:

    “I’m so glad the CSPI doesn’t operate in Australia. If they did, the guy from CSPI would be beaten senseless………..”

    How would that be possible? Maybe you mean beat him sensible?? 🙂


  24. Jeanie says:

    I posted this to my Facebook wall. Just trying to spread some intelligence around. Thanks for making it fun, too!

    Thanks for spreading the word.

  25. Lori says:

    McDonalds has a free online pinball game at and a link to diagrams for people who don’t understand complicated coffee drinks. It uses slang like “hang out.” This is clearly an attempt to introduce kids to their coffee–an addictive substance with drug-like effects. I’m gonna sue!

    If they introduce an espresso drink called “Happy Shots,” I know we’ll see another lawsuit.

  26. Walter says:

    Richard Tamesis, M.D. said:

    Maybe someone should bring a class action lawsuit against them for forcing fast food restaurants to use trans fats back in the 1980’s.

    I second the motion.

    I really would like to see this along with extensive media exposure about them forcing the fast food restaurants to use the trans fats. Then maybe people would start to question what the CSPI is about.

    That would be great, but I think news reporters like having them around. They’re always good for some dramatic quotes … heart attack on a plate and all that.

  27. Sarah says:

    Great video. Oh we have fun. I hate this ridiculous support of not having any personal responsibility, much like with “violent video games make violent children.” No, bad upraising makes violent children. And parents allow violent video games.


    In other news…. I have more horrible articles for you every day =D

    Yeah, Furhman’s one of those vegan zealots who believes “associated with” is proof of cause and effect, at least when it suits him.

  28. DiscoStew says:

    A TV news report here just showed the woman making the complaint against McDonald’s. She said that McDonald’s, because of the toys in the happy meals, were forcing her to buy McDonald’s for her children.

    Golly gee, there are some dumb people in this world!!!


    Either very dumb or completely shameless.

  29. KarenW says:

    Not that I want to give these nanny-state assholes any ideas, but if they really want to destroy McDonalds, they should force them to give up the play areas. That was my #1 motivation for taking my kids there when they were little. They never had to ask! In the winter, I would take them about once a week. They would eat maybe half a cheeseburger and 4 or 5 fries and spend two hours getting exercise while I relaxed and drank coffee.

    That’s exactly what my girls did.

  30. Donnie Winn says:

    While not their “target market”, to be consistent, CSPI should also sue the public education system, which actively teaches children to disregard their parents’ values, and many of their instructions regarding behavior. There is a real case of circumventing parental control. Requiring the children to attend, by force of law, then teaching them to ignore their parents. A way bigger issue than toys in happy meals, cracker jack, breakfast cereal, and advertising aimed at children.

    They’d happily use the public school system to indoctrinate your children into their belief system.

  31. Lorne Marr says:

    If they are successful and win the lawsuit they can use the money to buy some unhealthy food for their children again. These parents should rather reconsider the way they are bringing up their children and stop making these false accusations.

    Anyone who blames McDonald’s for what they choose to feed their own kids is too devoid of common sense to be a good parent in the first place.

  32. Marilyn says:

    Tom wrote: “That would be great, but I think news reporters like having them around. They’re always good for some dramatic quotes … heart attack on a plate and all that.”

    My guess is that this whole thing–and others like it–would shrivel up and go away within a week if TV news said “ho, hum, not newsworthy,” and the newspapers covered it only with a short paragraph on the inside of the back page, somewhere near the bottom. . .

    I agree. I wish the news folks would give it a try.

  33. Angelyne says:

    They are suing McDonald’s for the very simple fact that they have large pockets. Just pure greed, no other reason. If they win their suit though, that might make for an interesting precedent. Maybe they are hoping for a settlement?

    I think they probably are hoping for some kind of deal. Either that, or they just want to hassle what they consider to be the evil empire.

  34. Amy Dungan says:

    Loved this Tom! Your girls were great!

    Thank you, Amy.

  35. This was fantastic, Tom. Really funny video!! I agree especially with the comments about suing CSPI for forcing trans fats on us…

    In my dream world, someone who ate a lot of trans fats and ended up with health problems sues them and wins, big.

  36. C says:

    That is the most hilarious video I have seen in a while

  37. Paul says:

    Classic! Thanks to you and yours.

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