NY Times reports that on Oct. 7, fans of the Adult Swim cartoon “Rick and Morty” were outraged when they excitedly swarmed designated McDonald’s locations for the promotional event that promised the return of the infamous Szechuan sauce, only to find out there wasn’t enough to go around.
According to the Hollywood Reporter, the sauce was originally introduced as part of a marketing campaign for the 1998 Disney animated film “Mulan.” It was referenced by the character Rick Sanchez in the third-season opener of Adult Swim’s sci-fi comedy, “The Rickshank Rickdemption.” The character claimed he had to get his hands on the dipping sauce as part of his “series arc.” (It is interesting to note that after this episode, the sauce was never mentioned again.)
After the airing of the premiere episode on April 1, McDonald’s sent “Rick and Morty” co-creator Justin Roiland a large container of the sauce, inciting “public interest in attaining some of the long-lost condiment for themselves.” A petition was even started to bring the sauce back to McDonald’s.
McDonald’s promised to bring the sauce back for just one day for its fans, also including limited-edition stickers and posters with each sale. Crowds of people lined up eagerly for hours waiting for the famed sauce. Some even camped out overnight to reserve their spot.
Huffington Post noted that the trouble began when the fans soon realized there were limited quantities of their sought-after condiment. Reportedly, there were only 20 packets given to each location; some fans claimed that some locations listed online didn’t have any packets for them to begin with, or “sold out before the advertised selling time.”
Numerous upset fans took to Twitter, criticizing McDonald’s for its lack of preparation for the special event.
Trying to get #SzechuanSauce today was a complete fail. Shame on McDonald's for this fiasco
— Brandon Matamoros (@branmat14) October 7, 2017
— Bradley Brower (@BradleyWBrower) October 7, 2017
"They f*cked up, Morty. Just say it. They f*cked it up worse than Jerry f*cked up his marriage." pic.twitter.com/q0Jlsbgkjp
— Bill B. (@BillBushman) October 7, 2017
Apparently, the crowds that gathered became so unruly that authorities were called to disperse the angry fans.
In Los Angeles, employees struggled to maintain order while people rioted the McDonald’s chanting, “Szechuan sauce! Szechuan sauce!”
A Wellington, Florida McDonald’s location had the same issue with its upset crowds, ushering cops to the scene.
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
There were also reports of physical altercations that broke out during the event. Detective Ross Nemeroff told the Hollywood Reporter that there were “four males and females fist-fighting over tickets” on the scene.
One fan noted that he had driven all the way from Texas to Florida to make it in time for the release of the sauce at a participating McDonald’s. Another fan was excited to try the sauce again, remembering it fondly from when it was first introduced.
A spokesperson for Adult Swim commented that the stunt was not a promotion from the network or anyone officially connected to “Rick and Morty.”
The creator of the show, Justin Roiland, tweeted that he was “not happy” about the incident, and expressed that the fans give the employees some slack, as it was out of their control.
FYI: We had nothing to do with this McDonald's stuff. Not happy w/how this was handled. Please be cool to the employees it's not their fault
— Justin Roiland (@JustinRoiland) October 8, 2017
McDonald’s took initiative and responded to the chaos over the Szechuan sauce promotional event. One tweet read: “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.”
Waited over 4 hours . no sauce. No poster. I git a sticker and it didn't even have the sauce on it.. it said mustard… pic.twitter.com/j3R1dKWKvU
— Jonathan Bullrock (@JonathanBull0) October 8, 2017
Another tweet was sent out that went into more detail about the action that they would take, according to Daily Mail.
“Yesterday, we were truly humbled by the amazing curiosity, passion and energy this community showed to welcome back Szechuan Sauce–even if for just one day,” the tweet began. Click for the full message below.
— McDonald's (@McDonalds) October 8, 2017
Featured image via Flickr/Leonid Mamchenkov