Let's Examine the 'Rick and Morty' McDonald's Szechuan Sauce Debacle

Three 1 oz. packets of sauce sold on eBay for $848.
October 8, 2017, 7:59pm
Image: Adult Swim

Saturday, thousands of fans of Rick & Morty—a comedic television program that traffics in jokes normies could never understand such as "people with autism like Minecraft" and "Reddit exists"—lined up at McDonalds dining establishments around the world for their chance to sample Mulan Szechuan-flavored Chicken McNugget dipping sauce, a food accessory that has become a meme among "the best fanbase in the multiverse."


As has been noted by Rick and Morty observers out there, this pop-culture crossover effort was not entirely successful. It turns out appetite for fast food sugar sauce far outweighed overall supply of said sauce, and many Rick and Morty fans are currently Mad Online.

If none of this makes any sense at all to you, congratulations on avoiding a fanbase and television program that has grown highly insufferable as it has grown in popularity. Rick and Morty is an animated show on Adult Swim in which Rick, a senior citizen genius—is constantly misunderstood by his far dumber family, namely his sidekick and grandson Morty. Rick is a huge dick to Morty and co. and constantly comes out on top as a result of his superior intellect. As our colleagues over at VICE have pointed out, many Rick and Morty superfans see themselves in Rick—misunderstood by the masses and constantly having to put up with idiot Mortys (or worse, Jerrys in their day-to-day life). People who dislike Rick and Morty are often seen as simply not getting it, "it" being that the world is cruel to geniuses who lack empathy.

ANYWAYS, in the first episode of this season, which dropped on April Fool's Day, Rick and Morty go on an adventure to obtain aforementioned szechuan sauce, which was a tie-in with the release of the Disney movie Mulan in 1998. Rick is obsessed with the sauce, and fans of the show have become obsessed with it as well. So fans of the show were stoked when McDonalds announced that the sauce would be made available for one day only (Saturday).

But McDonalds either underestimated the level of fanaticism among fans of the show or was unable to manufacture more of the sauce, which myrecipes.com points out can be made in roughly 10 minutes with dark brown sugar, brown rice vinegar, ketchup, soy sauce, and a couple spices. Fans were subjected to extremely long lines, szechuan sauce shortages, and premature exhaustion of sauce supplies. On social media, there were reports of police having to come to break up fights at several locations—Motherboard has not been able to verify these reports.

On Twitter, McDonalds has spent much of the last 24 hours responding to mad Rick and Morty fans, who feel betrayed by the chain, which may be familiar because of the billions-and-billions of burgers it has sold.

Likewise, people in the Rick and Morty subreddit and its associated Discord channel are NOT HAPPY, with at least five different threads started suggesting fans launch a McDonalds boycott, and posts about the szechuan sauce fiasco getting tens of thousands of up votes. Meanwhile, over on eBay, single packets of szechuan sauce (one ounce) have sold for upwards of $250, and a three-pack sold for $848. These are completed auctions, by the way, meaning someone actually paid these prices.

Perhaps in parallel universe, McDonalds made enough szechuan sauce to satisfy the masses. But in another, saner parallel universe, people see a promotion like this and simply shrug.