It's been a couple of years since some random punk and his dad at the McTable next to us told the kid that there are supposed to be toys in a Happy Meal. [As payback, I told him about the 2/$1 pies.]
Otherwise, whenever the need to eat at McD's arose, I'd order the Happy Meal "sin jugete" [seen who-geh-teh], without toys. Maybe if we lived in Hong Kong or Tokyo, where the McDonald's toys are tiny, collectible masterpieces, it'd be different, but here in the US, they're invariably crap. And they just cause grief and have to be thrown away later, which is wasteful.
And then there are those days when the kid's home sick from school for the fifth day in two weeks, and you have to go out because you're out of diapers, overdue for an oil change, and needing to go to the bank, and you just don't want to make an issue out of it in the drivethrough,
So you give in, only now you have to get two Happy Meals. Because even though the kid doesn't eat fries, and K2 has no concept of a Happy Meal at all, she does have a highly developed sensitivity to sibling injustice. So forget decoupling, you're now literally buying the damn food because of the toy.
And then you pull up, and you see it is. freaking. Barbie. So that ain't gonna happen, scream all you want, kids. But the kid already knows that and goes, "I don't even want Barbie. Can we get the car?" Hot Wheels.
And so you order, and you say, "with the cars," which is off-script, apparently, because the lady asks if it's for a boy or a girl.