On Monday, November 4th, New York City resident Jeremy Merdinger wanted the same thing as every other red-blooded American: a Popeyes chicken sandwich. He ordered two sandwiches—one plain, one spicy—brought them back to his apartment to enjoy, and discovered he’d been given a little something extra special in his order:
Speaking with The New York Post Merdinger said that he first ate the spicy chicken sandwich, which tasted fine. He then took a few bites of his second sandwich, at which point a half-smoked joint fell out of it and straight into his lap. “These are things you see on social media a couple of times a year, and for it to happen to me, I was shocked and disgusted.”
Merdinger said his first instinct was to contact the restaurant, which said they’d investigate the matter. He then brought the issue to his boss at the social media influencer marketing firm he works at, who told The Post: “I didn’t want to turn this into a viral thing. I was hoping we could get this resolved quietly.” To do so, he enlisted the help of Darren Rovell— a sports reporter and influencer with 2.1 million Twitter followers—to get the message to Popeyes corporate.
Popeyes responded that they had investigated the matter, and that they would not be issuing an official response or apology, saying that the incident occurred outside of the restaurant. Merdinger claims that at that point he felt he needed to take his problem to Twitter, which he says he wouldn’t have done if the company had offered a refund and apology.
None of us can say for sure what exactly happened on November 4th, and we may never know. As the former owner of several food businesses, every so often I’d get customers who would say they discovered a foreign object in their food when they got home—often a material that was never once present in our kitchen—and who would demand refunds and additional compensation to keep them from posting the “damning photos” on Facebook and Yelp. I’ve also on many, many occasions smoked half a joint, put it “somewhere safe” and within 15 seconds completely forgotten where I put it. If I was smoking a joint on the sidewalk outside of a Popeyes, I’d probably put that half-joint somewhere on my person before heading back into work, like in a container in my purse or pocket. When you smoke at home—something you may possibly enjoy doing before eating two Popeyes chicken sandwiches—truly anything can happen.