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PostPosted: Mon May 08, 2006 5:35 pm 
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Sorry this is long, but I found this on another forum and couldn't find a "official" link. Thought it was interested, especially since Steve Jobs is behind it! :twisted: :lol:
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Disney Loses Its Appetite for Happy Meal Tie-Ins 
By Rachel Abramowitz
Los Angeles Times

May 8, 2006

For 10 years, Walt Disney Co. and McDonald's appeared to have the perfect marriage. Happy Meals bore little figurines of Nemo, Mr. Incredible and 101 Dalmatians.

But no more. This is one relationship that's ending in part because of the children.

Disney is not renewing its cross-promotional pact with the fast-food giant, ending the arrangement with this summer's release of "Cars" and "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest." One reason, say multiple high-ranking sources within Disney, is that the company — which prides itself on being family friendly — wants to distance itself from fast food and its links to the epidemic of childhood obesity.

Under the terms of the agreement, said to be worth $1 billion to Disney, McDonald's paid $100 million in royalties and conducted 11 promotions a year for Disney films, videos and TV shows, with seven aimed specifically toward the young Happy Meal consumers. Disney also agreed to let McDonald's set up shop inside its theme parks.

Disney declined to discuss the breakup. But in a conference call last year, Pixar Animation Studios chief Steve Jobs — who is now Disney's largest shareholder in the wake of Disney's recent purchase of Pixar — signaled his ambivalence about using characters to sell fast food while promoting a film.

"There is value" in fast-food tie-ins, Jobs said then. "But there are also some concerns, as our society becomes more conscious of some of the implications of fast food."

And Disney is not the only studio that thinks French fries loaded with trans fats may be too hot to handle.

DreamWorks Animation SKG is working with McDonald's to promote "Shrek 3," due out next year. But according to one top-level source inside the studio, there is already internal debate about whether the lovable green ogre should steer clear of Chicken McNuggets and Big Macs in favor of the more healthful fare that McDonald's has added to its menu, such as salads (Shrek is, after all, overweight).

The end of the Happy Meal partnership with Disney comes at a time when the processed- and fast-food industries are under fire on a number of fronts because of growing concerns about expanding waistlines, particularly among youngsters. Last week, former President Clinton announced an agreement worked out by his William J. Clinton Foundation and the American Heart Assn. to persuade the makers of Coke, Pepsi and others to phase out the sale of sugary soft drinks in schools.

But some say the more discreet actions of the entertainment industry could ultimately have a greater influence, especially if other corporate giants follow suit.

"I think it would have impact in contributing to the cultural change that is necessary," said Dr. J. Michael McGinnis, chairman of a National Academy of Sciences panel that just released a study showing how food marketing adversely affects children's diets. "The committee thought it was important for the use of cartoon characters that appeal to children only to be used in the marketing of healthy products."

One of the industry's most prominent critics, "Fast Food Nation" author Eric Schlosser, said it would be "hugely significant" if Hollywood walked away from Happy Meals. "It will put more pressure on McDonald's to change what they sell in Happy Meals. The obesity issue would be irrelevant if the food in the Happy Meals was healthy."

Sources on both sides of the agreement say the parting of the ways was mutual. And it's not a complete divorce. McDonald's fare will continue to be offered in Disney's theme parks. Disney is also leaving open the possibility of McDonald's promotions geared toward adults.

Disney released a statement praising its decades-long relationship with McDonald's, adding: "While our contract with them will expire at the end of the year, we look forward to a more flexible, nonexclusive relationship where we will be working with them on a case-by-case basis."

That sentiment was shared by Dean Barrett, senior vice president of global marketing for McDonald's.

"Our relationship was ongoing before the agreement and will continue after," Barrett said. "We've had great success. There's great entertainment value with us and Disney, and I would think that would continue for years to come."

Barrett said the only factor that was really changing was the exclusivity of the relationship — McDonald's is now free to partner with other studios. Hence McDonald's new, two-year agreement with DreamWorks, beginning with "Shrek 3." DreamWorks declined to comment.

Disney has not signed any new promotional deals with fast-food providers, even though its purchase of Pixar gave it an even bigger slate of potential family-oriented blockbusters to market to youngsters. Industry analysts say the breakup will force both Disney and McDonald's to find new promotional outlets.

"Fast food has been a very important promotional partner in promoting films to children," said industry analyst Lowell Singer of Cowen and Co. "As the animated marketplace gets more competition over the next few years, Disney will need to be much more aggressive and creative in reaching children though other promotional outlets."

Restaurant analysts don't expect the bottom line of McDonald's to suffer if other studios and toy companies pick up where Disney left off. Children may not even notice.

Elizabeth Calvin, a West Los Angeles mother who occasionally takes her 7-year-old son Gabriel to McDonald's, said the change won't make a difference to him. "He definitely is interested in the toy aspect more than the food," she said. "I'm not sure he really cares which toy it is. He likes the ones that are little games more than he does the plastic characters."

Happy Meals are marketed to children between the ages of 3 and 9. A Happy Meal with a cheeseburger, small fries and Sprite totals 670 calories, with 26 grams of fat and 4.5 grams of trans fat — the fat type that experts say is particularly dangerous. In recent years, McDonald's has added healthful alternatives such as apples and low-fat milk.

McDonald's won't say how much of its business comes from the sale of Happy Meals. But a good toy promotion can double or triple those sales.

Blame impressionable young minds and "the nag factor," said Jerome Williams, a professor and advertising expert at the University of Texas. "Kids see a movie, and see it's being promoted with a particular product, they'll nag their parents about it," he said. "Studies have shown that, after a while, parents will give in to their children…. They're not so much expressing a preference for a Happy Meal but for the character the Happy Meal is associated with."

According to a study released last month by the National Center for Health Statistics of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 19% of children ages 6 to 11 are overweight, and 17% of teenagers are overweight.

Those figures may be conservative, said James O. Hill, director of the University of Colorado's Center for Human Nutrition. He said new government data suggest that as many as 40% of young children are overweight and about 20% fall into the obese category.

"The government doesn't use the term 'obese' for children," Hill said. "They use the terms 'overweight' and 'at risk for overweight' [that are] comparable to 'obese' and 'overweight' for adults. Very few of those kids are going to grow out of it. Most of them are going to grow up to be overweight and obese adults."

Other factors contributed to the unraveling of the McDonald's-Disney alliance. Although the relationship boasted hit promotions for such films as "101 Dalmatians" and "Lilo & Stitch," some McDonald's franchisees began to chafe when the studio churned out clunkers like "Treasure Planet." The company also had to abide by Disney's strict rules regarding use of its characters, which were not allowed to be seen eating McDonald's food.

For its part, Disney grew disgruntled with some of McDonald's advertising efforts and had problems with the fast-food giant's toy production schedule, according to a high-level Disney executive. The studio had to lock down release dates at least 18 months ahead of time to accommodate the needs of McDonald's. If the studio moved the date, it had to pay a penalty to McDonald's.

Hollywood and fast food have been closely aligned since the 1980s, with some sort of fast-food tie-in to almost every major film targeting children.

An exception is the "Harry Potter" franchise, which had only one promotional partner, Coca-Cola, for the first two movies, and none for the last two.

That's in part because "Harry Potter" author J.K. Rowling went on record stating that "fast-food kids meals would be her worst nightmare," said Diane Nelson, executive vice president of global brand management for Warner Bros. "She made it clear she had an aversion to it. "We … decided internally it was not the right way to approach the brand."

Nelson said Warner Bros. planned to continue fast-food tie-ins to promote other films, and noted that the industry now offered more healthful alternatives to give people a choice.

"We are certainly conscious and watching the situation with childhood obesity and how that is being tied in with our business…. It's important to be responsible."

That said, Nelson added, "we're not going to walk away from the category."


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PostPosted: Mon May 08, 2006 7:05 pm 
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i think its an interesting but good decision for disney, ive noticex in recent years that there asnt been any disney merchandise at mcdonalds and that mcdonalds has just been selling barbie and ninja spy gear and crap.hmm im gonna miss those cool disney toys though, :D

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PostPosted: Mon May 08, 2006 8:36 pm 
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Oh no! I love the little toys! That's why I go to MickyD's!

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PostPosted: Mon May 08, 2006 9:01 pm 
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This has been a great choice by Disney. Sure they may lose a few sales in the box office, but they chose to stop. :thumb:

And the article ended well with Harry Potter and Jo's quote. :)

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PostPosted: Mon May 08, 2006 9:42 pm 
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Hmm, this is a bit of a momentous decision. I doesn't affect me personally as I don't eat at McDonalds as their vegetarian fare is meh, and if you are going to eat a salad, you go to a salad place, not McDonalds. However, it is a HUGE cross-promotional area for Disney, and the 1 billion dollars quoted sounds like a conservative estimate to me!

Quote:
Disney also agreed to let McDonald's set up shop inside its theme parks...McDonald's fare will continue to be offered in Disney's theme parks. Disney is also leaving open the possibility of McDonald's promotions geared toward adults.


Fat adults are ok then!

Actually, this is the bit that interests me the most. That is, the theme parks. In Anaheim, the covered wagon in Frontierland that serves fries and coke sticks out like a sore thumb. The themed Burger place on Paradise Pier in DCA works a little better. I don't know, maybe its just me, but I've always felt a little uneasy about the amount of fast food in the parks.

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PostPosted: Mon May 08, 2006 11:15 pm 
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For those who care, it looks like Disney isn't loosing this deal 100%!

Disney says it still plans to work with McDonald's 

By Russ Britt
MarketWatch

May 8, 2006

Walt Disney Co. said Monday that it will let its 10-year cross-promotional agreement with McDonald's Corp. expire at year's end, but says it still plans to work with the fast-food giant on other deals in the future. The Los Angeles Times reported in Monday's editions that Disney seeks to sever the pact because of concerns over fast food and its ties to childhood obesity. In a press release, Disney said: "While our contract with them will expire at the end of the year, we look forward to a more flexible, non-exclusive relationship where we will be working with them on a case-by-case basis."


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PostPosted: Tue May 09, 2006 5:49 am 
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In response to the concept of the first notice - I think this is a big load of bull. This country doesn't have that big a problem with obesity (least of all childhood obesity!) - children already have the fastest metabolism. People are so stupid, don't believe this crap. Who's dumb enough to think that they're putting something in fast food and cereals that they weren't in the 90's or the 80s?! We have exactly the same percentage of 'obese' (by the way- these are still people, they're not DEFORMED!) as we've always had, there are just more obese people... because of a little thing called overpopulation. Get used to it - it's here to stay! And it's not an acceptable excuse for ignorance either, so it's about time for a widespread Intelligence Check.

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PostPosted: Tue May 09, 2006 10:27 am 
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Lazario wrote:
In response to the concept of the first notice - I think this is a big load of bull. This country doesn't have that big a problem with obesity (least of all childhood obesity!) - children already have the fastest metabolism. People are so stupid, don't believe this crap. Who's dumb enough to think that they're putting something in fast food and cereals that they weren't in the 90's or the 80s?! We have exactly the same percentage of 'obese' (by the way- these are still people, they're not DEFORMED!) as we've always had, there are just more obese people... because of a little thing called overpopulation. Get used to it - it's here to stay! And it's not an acceptable excuse for ignorance either, so it's about time for a widespread Intelligence Check.


And how about putting the control with the PARENTS?!? It's not McDonald's fault for parents who take their child there for two meals a day instead of the occasional treat, like I used to get when I was a child.

I take my kids to McDonalds about once or twice a month. I love the Disney happy meal toys, and hope to see them in the future.

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PostPosted: Tue May 09, 2006 10:27 am 
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Lazario makes some good points. Food doesnt cause obesity, the person does. And it is up to the parents to limit their child's access to fast food and keep them stear clear from the Mighty Kid's Meal. Those are usually made for older people with smaller appetites. I would know cuz my sister is in her 20s and she always get's the MIghty Kid's Meal to save both money and calorie intake.

Plus, McDonald's and many other fast food places are already making huge strides to provide more healthier items even for kids. Just have them get the apples and milk instead of coke and fries.


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PostPosted: Tue May 09, 2006 10:33 am 
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OH GREAT! Now I don't have any excuse to buy a happy meal anymore :D

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PostPosted: Tue May 09, 2006 11:43 am 
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toonaspie wrote:
Lazario makes some good points. Food doesn't cause obesity, the person does.

Well, you know... Food makes a difference for sure. But your genes are what determines how fat or thin a person is and to be very blunt, some people just have fat genes. And some people have genes that make them thin when they're young, then they start getting fat at 15 or 11 or 17 or 22... it's that unpredictable. But people STILL don't know this, that's why they use a person's weight to judge them. Telling a person they're lazy or stupid because they're fat assuming that people only get fat because they eat too much and don't exercise. My father tells me all the time how much he used to exercise when he was a kid... And it didn't make any difference because he still gained up to 200 pounds by age 30. Exercise does make a difference, but not much and certainly not alone. My father went to 300 pounds because he couldn't exercise anymore. He's a short guy and his leg started swelling up because of some kind of gene problem. Now, he can't exercise ever. He can barely walk in fact. That's even more proof of just how unpredictable your genes are. But the fact is my father used to do quite a bit of physical activity (by his account) and was always hefty, always overweight.

kbehm29 wrote:
And how about putting the control with the PARENTS?!? It's not McDonald's fault for parents who take their child there for two meals a day instead of the occasional treat, like I used to get when I was a child.

A little paranoid? Honestly, are you or any Walt Disney employees actually watching the human traffic at McDonald's; how would you know that anyone's daily routine includes 2 family outings to any fast food restaurant? Even the idea of that is proposterous, don't you think? I'd say that's so far from the norm, that I challenge you with the idea that not even 1 person was ever that extreme in their eating habits for longer than 30 days. See, you want to believe this b.s. they're spreading in the news on TV too. It's just not reality. Reality is a lot more painful; you like a lot of people seem to think that if these obese family members just stop going out for fast food that they will magically start losing weight. WRONG! Because fast food is only 1 way people gain unnecessary weight and consume unnecessary fat and cholesterol. And you haven't really had talks with any doctors, have you? If you had, you'd know that for people with fat genes - the natural sugar in fruit is almost just as bad for them as the crap they put in the stuff at McDonald's or Pizza Hut or KFC or Taco Bell. To be thin, fat people have to cut WHOLE FOOD GROUPS out of their diet. But people are so hung up on being judgmental, they don't take 2 seconds to think about how much WORK is involved in dieting - how much of your life you have to give up. Food is no longer something you get to enjoy! So- think about that the next time you (I'm saying anyone here, not speaking generally) make a guess about the life of an overweight person. Could YOU eat like they have to to be thin? Would you? Whether the answer is no or yes, one thing you'll learn is that it sure as HELL isn't easy.

You and most people here I'd venture to say are good parents. There's no question about that. In fact, you'd have to ask where I'm expressing special concern for anyone's kids (I feel that's me sticking my nose in other people's business when I hate for people to do that to me). But it is a matter that concerns everyone when people are being intolerant. My parents are both fat (I'm not so hung up on the word itself) and my father used to pick on women larger than him when he went shopping. Of course that really is more because she was a woman, but my father was 300 pounds back then- he should have been more tolerant. He should have thought it wasn't his problem instead of making it everyone's problem by expressing disgust at seeing her in public. And my father as it turns out is not an isolated incident - he's just like a lot of other Americans who think it's acceptable to deem a person not worthy to live because of the way they look. Remember that bumper sticker: "Save the whales, harpoon a fat chick"?

What I find really disturbing is for the most part people here are treating overweight people like they don't know any. Like it's an epidemic. It's not like the plague, you can't catch it by seeing overweight people in public, nor can your kids - which is the ultimate proof that this is not about concern for people's health, but rather it's hatred and fear of another social undesirable and judgment of another group of people seen as inferior. God- I can see right through this and so many people aren't thinking about what they're saying. That's disgusting.

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PostPosted: Tue May 09, 2006 12:11 pm 
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Lazario wrote:
A little paranoid? Honestly, are you or any Walt Disney employees actually watching the human traffic at McDonald's; how would you know that anyone's daily routine includes 2 family outings to any fast food restaurant? Even the idea of that is proposterous, don't you think? I'd say that's so far from the norm, that I challenge you with the idea that not even 1 person was ever that extreme in their eating habits for longer than 30 days.


Actually you'd be suprised. As a teacher in a school, with a McDonald's around the corner, I was baffled by the amount of children that would come in in the morning and put their empty happy meal boxes and fries cartons in the bins. In a class of 30 children all 8 years on average 5 children will do this, sometimes more. I know that this is a pattern across the whole school, the older kids around 10 - 11 who come to school themselves without their parents, it more like 10-15 kids in every class.
Furthermore, at 3:00 PM when school finishes the McDonalds is ALWAYS packed, i mean there is always a line of cars at the drive thru and people who are eating in often have to line up outside, because there is no room inside. And more often than not, it it the same faces that came in in the morning a deposited their Mcdonald's leftovers in the bin.

Now the school I am at is a healthy eating school. The kids who get school lunches do not get any crap, it is also fresh food. Also they are encouraged to eat as much fruit and vegetables, and are forbidden to eat chocolate and sweets at break times. So naturally the issue of McDonald's has come up on many occassions. When asked about why they go there 9 times out of 10 it's the same answer. "My parents can't be bothered making Breakfast or dinner, going to McDonald's is easier."

So I can wholly support the point that some people go to Mcdonald's more than twice a day.

Also I'd like to make a small translation.

"Disney wants to be family friendly and encourage healthier eating"

should read as

"McDoanld's already announced last year that the contract would not be renewed. Because of Disney's recent slew of flops, Mcdonald's have
already made a deal with Dreamworks to include characters from the dreamworks films in the happy meals instead. Disney not wanting to look the losers in this story, have fabricated this healthy eating story crap, so they'll come away from this with their pride in tact and looking like good guys."

Ah, That BullS*** to English dictionary is the best thing I've ever bought! ;)


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PostPosted: Tue May 09, 2006 12:26 pm 
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ichabod wrote:
Actually you'd be suprised. As a teacher in a school, with a McDonald's around the corner...

I almost mentioned that in my last post. That it would take living or going to work or schooling a mile or less away from fast food joints for people to have this kind of unhealthy habit. I mean- who thinks people can afford to drive there twice a day just because they are "addicted" to the food? That's the popular idea with the people who keep taking this brainless activism against (what I like to call) "fast food-poisoning."

But anyway- you have a good point and you know it. But that's a different matter almost entirely. That's unhealthy eating. That's not what I'm talking about, but I know what you mean and can certainly agree that unhealthy eating to that degree is a bad thing. However, it still doesn't make kids or other people obese who don't naturally have genes that give people slower metabolism.

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PostPosted: Tue May 09, 2006 1:21 pm 
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This part of the article had me do a double-take:

LA Times wrote:
One of the industry's most prominent critics, "Fast Food Nation" author Eric Schlosser, said it would be "hugely significant" if Hollywood walked away from Happy Meals. "It will put more pressure on McDonald's to change what they sell in Happy Meals. The obesity issue would be irrelevant if the food in the Happy Meals was healthy."


Uhhh...I don't know where exactly you've been in the past couple of years, Eric, but it seems to me like Mickey D's has been bending over backwards to advertise their healthy Happy Meal choices. Their newer Happy Meal commercials are basically all about fruit and milk options, and no more than a passing swipe at fries and sodas if at all. They even seem to be coming up with cold cut sandwich options in lieu of fried burgers and pressed McNuggets.

While McDonalds has been laying pretty low in the fatty new burger field, Hardee's (Carl's Jr.) and Burger King have been the ones battling to see who can come up with the manliest, meatiest, most disgusting burger/breakfast sandwich. Now, don't get me wrong, I still find McDonalds food to be pretty masty, but geez. At least give them some credit for trying. They're never going to competely remove all of the junk from Happy Meals, forget about it. But at least they HAVE come up with some alternatives AND have been heavily marketing them. I think it's high time to cut McDonalds some slack for once.

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PostPosted: Tue May 09, 2006 6:14 pm 
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Lazario starts an arguement! :o How surprising!

:wink: :lol:

bambifan56 wrote:
OH GREAT! Now I don't have any excuse to buy a happy meal anymore :D


Well, Disney is ending the deal, however, that doesn't mean we'll NEVER see Disney toys again. You'll just see them MUCH less.

But I agree. Now I'll almost never be tempted to buy a happy meal. :lol: Well actually, I almost never eat at McDonalds anymore. Too unhealthy.


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Timon/Pumbaa fan wrote:
Lazario starts an arguement! :o How surprising!

What do you mean? No one here is disagreeing with me. That doesn't equal an argument.

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Lazario wrote:
Timon/Pumbaa fan wrote:
Lazario starts an arguement! :o How surprising!

What do you mean? No one here is disagreeing with me. That doesn't equal an argument.


I don't know - I've gotten into some pretty heated agreements in my time. IT ALL DEPENDS ON HOW YOU SAY IT, RIGHT??!?!!?

The above statement is intended as a guide only. Loomis reserves the right to run away like a puppy if anybody takes any offence whatsoever, which seems unlikely given how loveable and fluffy he is.

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Lazario wrote:
Timon/Pumbaa fan wrote:
Lazario starts an arguement! :o How surprising!

What do you mean? No one here is disagreeing with me. That doesn't equal an argument.


It jest seemed like you were trying to get into a heated arguement with kbehm29 when you said:
Quote:
A little paranoid? Honestly, are you or any Walt Disney employees actually watching the human traffic at McDonald's; how would you know that anyone's daily routine includes 2 family outings to any fast food restaurant? .........


That's all.


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Timon/Pumbaa fan wrote:
It just seemed like you were trying to get into a heated arguement with kbehm29 when you said:
Quote:
A little paranoid? Honestly, are you or any Walt Disney employees actually watching the human traffic at McDonald's; how would you know that anyone's daily routine includes 2 family outings to any fast food restaurant?

That's all

I get what you're saying. But you jumped too soon (which is an unfortunate habit of yours). However, I will argue with people if a statement someone is making is hateful of someone for something so trivial as their appearence... Is that what bothered you?

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Lazario wrote:
Is that what bothered you?


Err, if your asking if somebody said something that bothered me, then no. In fact, nobody so far has made comments that I disagreed with or got offended by (though I was afraid people like kbehm29 might find them too harsh). In fact, I think you made some good points and agree with some.

I just don't like my threads get turned into heated arguements. Especially when that's not my intention(like this thread).


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