Existential dread channeled into a cartoon, Rick and Morty has become the most popular comedy show among Millennials. Which means its fans are numerous, vocal on social media, and able to compel a fast food giant to resurrect a long-dead menu item because it tied into a season three gag. Thus, McDonald’s agreed to bring back Szechuan sauce, a dipping option first introduced in 1998 to promote Disney’s Mulan. But McDonald’s WILDLY underestimated the demand for this taste experience. So instead of October 7th being a day of much rejoicing, there was much rage, as countless Rick and Morty fans were turned away without that special sauce.
Naturally, they took to Twitter to complain.
Reportedly, McDonald’s issued only about 20 packets apiece to each of its select locations. So lines that wound outside the restaurant and down the block became filled with disappointed fans.
@McDonalds you wanna explain why you only gave 20 packs of the schezuan sauce to certain stores when you knew it was about to be a hot item?— Carlos Quinones (@datguythere024) October 7, 2017
Admittedly, McDonald’s website did warn “when we say limited, we mean really, really limited!” But this is still ridiculous. So news sites started reporting on the outrage, and how this publicity stunt had “backfired.” Videos of chanting and angry sauce-seekers, and photos of protests spread like a memory altering parasite plague.
Meanwhile, some who did snag the very, very, very limited edition sauce took to Ebay to make bank.
But that bubble was quick to burst. Because McDonald’s was quick to post an apology and a promise.
So. A major corporation that has been trying desperately to reconnect with customers, dumb-lucked into a fan-driven opportunity to peddle an old recipe for profit and headlines. And they supremely fucked it up, inciting waves of new coverage of their product and their brand, tying both to one of the most popular shows on television. And then, they went from all this “limited” talk to quickly revealing a “new” plan to make this heavily coveted product widely available. You don’t need to be a Rick to suspect fans got played by McDonald’s.