So, McDonalds has some cool Happy Meal toy that you'd love to have, but you, unfortunately, happen to be over the age of twelve and thus look damn silly ordering such a thing... here's what to do!

Always order it to go. Order a normal meal of your own as well. Look like you aren't sure what to order for the Happy Meal, as if you could care less what your younger sibling or child wants. "Yeah, a Coke I guess." "She'd BETTER like pickles." In this way, you are spared embarrassment, have a cool little toy, and more McSubstance.

Or you could just go to a flea market.

Keep in mind that if you just want the Happy Meal for the toy and not necessarily the food as well that most McDonalds (or other fast food places) will let you buy the toy separately.

This can simply be accomplished by placing your order and then adding "And I'd also like a (insert name of desired toy here) as well." They generally charge around a dollar which is a fair bit cheaper than buying the whole Happy Meal.

This does tend to rather tip your hand that all you want is the toy which might lead to some embarrassment. Just remember to be confident in your inner child. Adulthood is all about being able to finally afford all the toys you wanted as a child. If you do get odd looks, just remember that you don't work at McDonalds. That should bring some perspective back into the situation.

Things are markedly easier if you happen to know someone that works at McDonalds (or wherever) as you can just have them pick you up one and thusly shirk the embarrassment from yourself. My gf managed to score all the Hello Kitty toys in one fell swoop (and for free to boot) using this method.

If you're feeling devious you could just hunt down a convenient small child and have them stand next to you when you order to lend an air of authenticity to the whole charade.

Look for my next writeup in this series: How to buy LEGO sets when you're over twice the suggested age.

I recently did this very thing, except it was a Burger King Big Kids meal. A month or two back, they started giving out Dragonball Z toys to advertise for the US release of Coola's Revenge (Cooler's Revenge in the US, by an odd application of inconsistent logic, but that's a discussion for another node). Generally I don't go to fast food places, and prior to this incident it had probably been at least 10 or 12 years since I had a kids meal at one, so it seemed like it might be a bit awkward.

Anyway, it turned out to be pretty easy, the key is this: go with some other people you know who also want that toy. It could be problematic, depending on what toy it is, how many friends you have, etc. But it really is fun that way.

We made it a (short-lived) tradition to go out every Friday night and get a Big Kids meal (and possibly an additional Whopper if we were hungry). Afterwards, we would go out and smoke in the parking lot, and then go get loaded at some dive. My friend Lucianne would sometimes grab one of those paper crowns that BK has, and loudly proclaim herself the "Queen of Burgaria". I'm pretty sure the people working there thought we were weird.

I think I would have been too embarrassed to go by myself, but with 2 other like-minded people, it turned out to be a really good time. We still have the toys, too, though I'm annoyed that we never got Goku.

If one is in pursuit of restaurant meal toys, from McDonald's or any other fast food establishment, they can literally be found by the bucketful at Goodwills and Salvation Armys, or whatever your local brand of thrift store is. Often, you'll find toys still sealed in their plastic bags, and they all go for around 25 cents each. Ebay is also a good, cheap resource -- it's rare that anything produced after, say, '92 has much value. These companies produce millions upon millions of these toys for each promotion, and with everyone saving and collecting them, it's uncommon for any of them to be highly sought after (except for maybe the beanie baby insanity from awhile back).

However, if it's the actual meal you're after, the real solution is: Don't be embarassed. Who cares? The staff of a McDonald's is used to seeing odder things than an adult ordering a kid's meal for themself. A person working the register is probably on auto-pilot while taking your order, but actually daydreaming of what they're going to do after work. If you look embarassed or act oddly, you'll end up drawing unnecessary attention to yourself.

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