It’s been about a week since word got out about the Szechuan sauce coming to your local McDonald’s, and suffice it to say us Rick and Morty fans have been pretty fucking jazzed about it. This is a sauce that has haunted our collective conscious since April 1st, and learning that McDonald’s was going to be providing the object of our hearts’ desire? Beautiful.
However, we should have realized how sketchy it was from the get-go: the sauce would only be available if you ordered their Buttermilk Chicken Tenders (one per customer, of course), and would be accompanied by a limited-edition sauce poster, whose artistic styling was a flagrant ripoff of Rick and Morty, but without giving credit to the show that brought the sauce back to the limelight.
Shady, huh? Well, it gets worse.
The rules of how to get one of these sauces (ONE) was leaked onto Reddit, and they were brutal – one sauce per customer, a poster only available if you order inside the restaurant, a limited supply per store, and the most shitty thing of all was that they would ONLY be at select locations. That means you’d have to track down the right McDonald’s closest to you via their website, and it could be a hell of a drive away.
Oh, and there were only 20 packets available in those select locations. Good luck!
I reached out to friends across the state of Michigan to find out about their luck getting the sauces, and the replies were about the same. Lansing, Detroit, even Grand Rapids (the second-biggest market in Michigan) had an extremely limited supply.
A friend in Atlanta let me know how the stores gave out the sauces much earlier than 2pm.
I myself went to the Chosen One McDonald’s in Traverse City, right on time, and I was told that not only were they out of sauces, but that there was an arrangement where people were given tickets to get the sauces much earlier in the morning. Tickets! And now the restaurant was overrun with irritated fans spilling into the parking lot.
The sketchiest thing of all, however, was that another friend had heard the all-too-familiar reasoning how employees were stealing the sauces to sell on eBay.
By the way, have you guys checked eBay yet? I took these screen shots at 2:15pm, and they’re much worse now:
Now, I’m not going to shit on these employees over their decision. They make crummy money doing thankless work, and the prospect of making over a hundred bucks just to sell a dumb packet of sauce would probably be too great for even me, and I’m a big ol’ pudge who loves sauces. However, all this commotion and dissatisfaction is 100% McDonald’s fault.
This was a fantastic idea that was gift-wrapped to McDonald’s; Rick and Morty’s fantastic first episode of season 3 created a fever for this otherwise forgettable sauce, and McDonald’s played along for a bit, sending jugs of sauce to Justin Roiland. All they had to do was reach an agreement with Adult Swim on a promotion that would give a rabid fanbase the thing they’ve been clamoring over for months.
Instead, the fast food juggernaut screwed up in every way that matters: They had the chance to sell out every dumb butternut chicken squanch across the country and provide a sauce to every fan, but instead they gave in to their greed and decided to create a collector’s item. They cultivated mass anger over this “promotion,” going for exclusivity instead of mass goodwill. Yes, they got a score of free publicity out of this event, as I saw news vans and reporters scouring the area to get a piece of this story, but McDonald’s had the chance to please a multitude of people, and instead ended up proving just how clueless they really are.
This tone-deaf event execution has pretty much soured me and legions others over the Golden Arches. I don’t plan on coming back until everyone can sample the sauce, and god knows when that’ll be.