The Golden Arches are red-faced today after a promotion by McDonald’s over the weekend turned into a major fiasco.
“The fast food chain’s latest stunt was bringing back its ‘Szechuan’ sauce for a day, but restaurants across the United States quickly ran out of supply,” CNBC reports. “The condiment — first created as part of a 1998 promotion for Disney film ‘Mulan’ — became a topic of breathless discussion online after featuring in an episode of popular animated science fiction comedy ‘Rick and Morty’ earlier this year.
“In the episode, one of the protagonists — a dimension-hopping scientist with a god complex — retraces his own memories so as to re-experience the dipping sauce. In July, the show’s co-creator, Justin Roiland, tweeted that McDonald’s had sent him an entire bottle of the condiment.”
McDonald’s decided to take advantage of the sauce’s “Rick and Morty”-fueled surge in popularity, announcing that it would bring back the sauce in limited quantities at participating outlets across the country on Saturday.
“But on Saturday, it appeared McDonald’s had underestimated just how popular the dipping sauce had become,” CNBC reports. “As outlets quickly ran out of supply, many were not pleased. In some cases, cops were called to deal with irate customers.”
The Hollywood Reporter described the chaos at one L.A. McDonald’s: “In Los Angeles, fans numbering in the hundreds dressed in ‘Rick and Morty’ apparel lined up around the block at a La Brea McDonald’s location, hoping to get a packet of the sauce. Some die-hard ‘Rick and Morty’ enthusiasts even camped out the night before to assure a prime location in line.
“Unrest quickly spread among the crowd at the La Brea McDonald’s, however, as those in line began chanting, ‘Szechuan sauce!’ and, ‘When I say Szechuan, you say sauce!’ When it was announced that the store was not going to be able to accommodate the overwhelming requests for the sauce, the crowd got physical.”
THR reports that the La Brea location had only 20 packets of the sauce on hand.
McDonald’s apparently implemented a lottery, but it failed to put the crowd at ease. THR quotes Det. Ross Nemeroff saying, “Police responded to a call at the location” after physical confrontations began taking place. Among the incidents, according to Nemeroff, were “four males and females fist-fighting over tickets.”
A video posted on YouTube, said to be from the La Brea location in L.A., captures what’s described as a Szechuan sauce “riot.” Here it is …