Why Customers Aren't Happy With The McDonald's Pokémon Meals

As a kid, there was nothing better than going to the McDonald's drive-thru after a hard day of school and picking up a famous Happy Meal to enjoy. The Happy Meal has been making parents' lives easier and delighting children in the U.S. since 1979. Fernández de Cofiño came up with the idea around the time she purchased the first McDonald's franchise in Guatemala in 1974. The original meal came with a hamburger, small fries, and a sundae. In 1979 when McDonald's officially rolled out the Happy Meal nationwide in the U.S., a small toy was included with the meal (per Newsweek).

The Happy Meal toys have evolved over the years, with customers expressing strong feelings about the best and worst toys. One of the best — and most popular — offerings were the Beanie Babies of the 1990s — they have since evolved into the modern Teenie Beanie Boos (via the New York Post). The toys tend to follow current trends or promote popular kids' movies. In 1979, McDonald's partnered with "Star Trek: The Motion Picture," marking the first time the company worked with a film on promotion (per Quality Logo Products).

McDonald's hasn't looked back since and often works with popular TV shows and movies to design new toys. Most recently, the chain partnered with "Pokémon" to produce four exclusive cards. Eager customers were disappointed, however, when they received old toys instead of the new cards in their Happy Meals.

Customers received Space Jam 2 toys by mistake

Much to several customers' dismay, the toys inside their Happy Meal were not the "Pokémon" cards they were expecting. Instead, they received basketballs from the "Space Jam 2" movie promotion. Kotaku reported that several adults purchased Happy Meals thinking they would be given a new "Pokémon" product as their toy. Instead, they got stuck with last season's offerings. One person got a "Scooby-Doo" toy, while another received an item from the "Thor: Love and Thunder" promotion.

According to the McDonald's website, the new Pokémon promotion is supposed to include four game cards, a spinner, and a coin. The cards are meant to be used to play multiplayer games. One customer ordered a Happy Meal on the app, chose the desired toy, and still wound up with a basketball instead.

Reddit users speculated that one potential reason for the mishap was that the stores simply didn't receive the toy shipments on time. The collaboration was announced this week, so it may be worth it to wait a few days before trying to get your hands on one of the "Pokémon" offerings. When the 2021 "Pokémon" promotion launched, several scalpers and collectors purchased Happy Meals by the dozen in hopes of accruing the rare cards, so you won't want to wait too long before ordering yours if you can!