Somewhere in the middle of the Pacific Ocean a huge barge full of cheap Chinese fitness trackers is slowly reversing course.
Earlier today we reported that McDonald’s was distributing free activity trackers with their children’s Happy Meal. It was part of a promotion to make the hamburger chain seem more health-conscious.
Even though the trackers were really pretty basic pedometers, it only makes sense that some corners were going to be cut in order to source them cheaply enough to include free with fast food.
The complaints began almost immediately. First from online commentators pointing out the irony of making someone buy a hamburger in order to get a fitness device.
Soon, the quality of the devices themselves came into question.
One Arkansas mother claimed that her son had a burn on his arm after wearing the activity band for just a few minutes. Her post on Facebook went viral — shared more than 80,000 times — and prompted several other parents to report similar issues.
“We are looking into this matter,” company spokeswoman Terri Hickey initially claimed. “McDonald’s Happy Meal toys, including the Step-it Activity Bands, undergo extensive review and testing by independent safety laboratories and we remain committed to providing our youngest guests with safe and fun Happy Meal toys.”
Now it seems, McDonald’s has decided to just ditch the entire promotion and offer children an alternative toy with their meals.
“Nothing is more important to us than the safety of our customers,” Hickey said in a later statement announcing the company was pulling the plug.