Linguistic commentary from a guy who takes things too literally

One of Each in Every Kid’s Meal!

Posted by Neal on April 12, 2005

Doug was watching his Sonic X cartoon on Saturday morning, when a Burger King commercial came on. They were advertising their latest Kid’s Meal toys, ten characters from the movie Robots, and they concluded with:

One of each in every Kid’s Meal!

Now that’s either an outright lie, I thought, or it’s an unheard-of new marketing ploy. Imagine: You buy a Kid’s Meal; it comes out in a grocery-bag-sized paper bag; and inside, on top of the burger and fries, you find a figure of Rodney, one of Fender, one of Bigweld, and one of all seven other featured characters! Not only can you collect ’em all, you can do it all in one visit! You can do it two or three times if you get a few more Kid’s Meals in the next few weeks, amassing multiple complete sets of Robots characters that your mom or dad will have to quietly dispose of when you’ve forgotten about them.

No, one of each in every Kid’s Meal couldn’t possibly be right. But how else could I interpret it? They hadn’t said, “One in every Kid’s Meal,” they’d deliberately inserted two extra words in a commercial where every second counted: “One of each in every Kid’s Meal.” Of each requires there to be a set of sets to quantify over, and the only sets I could see were: all the Rodney figures, all the Fender figures, all the Bigweld figures, etc. I must have missed something, so I made a mental note to listen more closely the next time.

Lucky me! The Burger King commercial came on again, within the very same half-hour episode of Sonic X. This time I listened to the whole thing, and realized my mistake. The fuller description of the promotion went like this:

Ten figures and ten trading cards. One of each in every Kid’s Meal!

Oops. I’d missed that little detail about there also being trading cards. So the each quantified over not ten sets, but two: the figures and the trading cards. Of course, my reading is still available–ten figures and ten trading cards in a single Kid’s Meal–but the clearly intended one is available too.

What I’d really like is for there to be none of each in any Kid’s Meal, but that’s not an option anymore. I used to ask the order-takers to leave the toys out of Doug and Adam’s Happy Meals/Kid’s Meals, but my wife made me stop.


One Response to “One of Each in Every Kid’s Meal!”

  1. […] Happy Meals to Root Canals Back in 2005, I admitted that, “I used to ask the order-takers to leave the toys out of Doug and Adam’s Happy Meals, but […]

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