Giving Them The Finger
It made the news everywhere. Letterman and Leno outdid each other every day. Everyone was talking about it. Only trouble was, it wasn't true.
I'm talking about the finger in the chili hoax. A month ago, Anna Ayala claimed she found a severed (I guess it would have to be severed) finger in her Wendy's chili, and was suing the franchise.
Over the past few weeks, I've been tempted to make jokes like everyone else, except I just didn't believe it. It seemed unlikely that a finger could get into the chili without someone noticing. First, where they grind everything up, the meat and mixings would be too fine for a recognizable finger to get through. Then, where they prepare it, Wendy's employees generally use hand coverings. Finally, when anyone actually loses a finger, it's a pretty big deal--business as usual stops while everyone figures out what happened and where it went. A hoax seemed far more likely. (These kind of hoaxes, in fact, are legendary. Wasn't there something about a mouse in a Coke bottle? Or was that real? Back then I'm sure the Lettermen equivalents were joking about the paws that refresh.)
Then, after a few weeks, when Wendy's couldn't find anyone in the chili chain missing a digit, it seemed obvious we were had. It appears Ayala has a history of bringing claims, and that there were eyewitnesses who saw her put the finger in.
The whole thing would be funny except for all the damage caused. Ayala may go to jail, but I doubt she can pay for the millions in lost sales and jobs. In fact, I bet even after this is cleared up, the image of the finger will linger, and Wendy's chili may never fully recover.