McDonald's has issued an apology after Rick and Morty fans complained vehemently about being unable to get their promised packet of sought-after Szechuan sauce during the fast food chain's one-day-only revival of the long-discontinued item. McDonald's brought back Szechuan sauce, originally given out for a limited time as part of a tie-in campaign for the Disney film Mulan, along with an array of other sauces as part of a wider promotion for their new Buttermilk Crispy Chicken Tenders.
Szechuan sauce became the stuff of legend when it was featured as part of a gag during the season 3 premiere of Rick and Morty, the popular Adult Swim animated comedy about a dimension-hopping mad scientist and his anxiety-ridden grandson. In the episode, Rick reveals his mad obsession with Szechuan and claims the entire purpose of his television quest is to once again taste the savory dipping sauce. Never one to miss out on a marketing opportunity, McDonald's not only hooked up Rick and Morty creator Justin Roiland (whose real-life obsession inspired the joke) with a batch of the long-lost sauce, they also gave a limited supply out to a small number of lucky fans. On Saturday, McDonald's brought the sauce back to their restaurants at a limited number of locations across the United States.
Unfortunately, when sauce-happy Rick and Morty fans showed up at their local McDonald's to score some Szechuan, many of them found the restaurants had either run out of the sauce or never actually had any to begin with. What was intended as a fun celebration of a great show and a legendary sauce turned ugly as angry Rick and Morty fans took to the internet to channel Rick Sanchez and call McDonald's all sorts of unrepeatable names. Videos popped up on Twitter and YouTube showing fans protesting McDonald's failure to deliver the sauce, and people became so unruly at a few locations that police had to be called. One online posting showed Szechuan-crazed fans jumping the counter and stealing packets of the sauce.
— Ian ??? Sikes (@ianjsikes) October 7, 2017
— Frederick (@fawich) October 7, 2017
Cops are at Wellington McDonalds where tons of angry people lined up for hrs for Rick and Morty Szechuan sauce only to learn they had none pic.twitter.com/3T272osid4
— Lulu Ramadan (@luluramadan) October 7, 2017
The backlash over unexpected Szechuan shortages has forced McDonald's to issue an apology to all the upset Rick and Morty fans out there.
The best fans in the multiverse showed us what they got today. We hear you & we're sorry not everyone could get some super-limited Szechuan.
— McDonald's (@McDonalds) October 7, 2017
It appears that McDonald's greatly underestimated the passion of Rick and Morty fans, and failed to ensure that locations offering Szechuan sauce were stocked with a large enough supply to meet demand. McDonald's also may have messed up their promotion of the event, failing to clarify on their website which locations would actually have Szechuan sauce, and which would only be offering the array of other non-Szechuan sauces also included in their campaign. Those who still wish to score Szechuan are not entirely out-of-luck, as packets of the sauce are now being offered on eBay, with bids rising close to $1,000-per-packet.
Ever-opinionated and never-shy Rick and Morty co-creator Dan Harmon will be sure to have something to say about Saturday's Szechuan mini-riot, and it might be a little bit snarky. At NYCC on Friday, Harmon took a small dig at McDonald's over the way they slyly co-opted Rick and Morty to build up hype for their promotion. McDonald's even went so far as to offer artwork that apes the style of Rick and Morty and slightly rips off some of the show's characters, a move that earned a blast of patented Harmon sarcasm, and will likely also earn McDonald's a few crushing take-downs when/if Rick and Morty returns to Adult Swim.