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How far is too far?

Erin Carr-Jordan has gotten quite a bit of press lately. The mother of four has been banned from eight McDonald’s restaurants in Arizona for checking play areas for bacteria.

It started as what sounds like an innocent request from a mom that a restaurant clean up its play area, which the restaurant did not act on within a few days.

But instead of reminding that one restaurant of her request, she started not only testing the play areas of other McDonald’s but also posted videos of her findings.

McDonald’s says Carr-Jordan was banned because her presence in the restaurants had become “disruptive.” At the same time, the company said it was taking her complaints very seriously and was reexamining their play area cleanliness policies and enforcement of those policies.

That was not enough for Carr-Jordan. Her website now lists her findings of bacteria at various restaurants in Arizona, California, Colorado, Illinois, New Mexico, Minnesota and Wisconsin, while her videos include play areas in Maryland, New Kersey, and New York as well. Carr-Jordan is fighting for regulations at the state and/or federal level, and at least California and Illinois have introduced legislation in response to her work.

Now, I have two small children, a four year old and a two-and-a-half year old. I don’t like the idea of them playing in dirty or broken play areas.

Yet I can’t help but think that Carr-Jordan may have gone a bit too far. Would it have been equally — if not more — effective to work with McDonald’s to develop a satisfactory cleaning protocol for their play areas? Or even to exercise her right to choose to not bring her children to play areas that were not adequately clean?

And, for the record, the McDonald’s that Carr-Jordan initially complained to ultimately apologized and sanitized the space.


  1. I recommend picking up a Bacterminator cover for your mobile devices such as the iPhone, iPad, Android, Blackberry or MacBook. The covers are antibacterial and non toxic and last up to 3 years with regular use.

  2. I recommend that Carr-Jordan dedicate some of her self-righteous anger to feeding the hungry and addressing the international problems of potable water. If she’s not interested in doing that, then I would respectfully suggest that she shut up and let her kiddies play in what I presume are their sparkly clean bedrooms.

  3. The law of unintended consequences. A couple more lawsuits like this and companies will no longer offer or build play sections. We’ll then complain about the “good old days” as we’re stapling our toddlers to their high chairs while we’re waiting for our food.