ATLANTA - That big McDonald's promotion over the weekend with the animated Adult Swim series 'Rick and Morty' has apparently fallen completely flat across the nation.
In the third season premiere of the series, which aired on the Atlanta-based network in April, one of the main characters, Rick Sanchez professed his love for McDonald's Szechuan Sauce, which was available as a special promotional item in June 1998 during the initial motion picture release of the film Mulan.
In the episode, Rick goes back "to the day it all began" in his memory when he could still order the Szechuan Sauce and taste it one more time. By the end of the episode, Rick went completely crazy, ranting that he wanted more of that "Mulan Szechuan Teriyaki Dipping Sauce" -- even if it takes nine more seasons or 97 years.
The fanbase of the series began besieging McDonald's on social media and in real life, demanding that they re-release the sauce. In July, the company responded, sending a 64-ounce bottle of the sauce to Rick and Morty co-creator Justin Rolland, who also voices both characters on the Adult Swim series.
McDonald's also ran an online campaign for three fans to receive bottles of the sauce. One of the bottles was auctioned off on eBay for more than $15,000.
Apparently ready to seize on a good thing, McDonald's announced that they would be releasing a handful of screened posters and their Szechuan Sauce at a limited number of locations across the nation -- three locations were announced in metro Atlanta: North Druid Hills Road, Ponce de Leon Avenue and Northside Drive -- with one collectible giveaway per customer.
'Rick and Morty' is very popular among college students, so students from Georgia Tech flocked to the closest McDonald's location: on Northside Drive, ready to obtain the sauce and posters.
The manager there informed visitors that they had only received 18 packs of the sauce, and that by 11 a.m., they already had a waiting list of more than 40 people. Both of the other Atlanta locations reported similar situations.
Reports from Chicago indicate only four locations there had the sauce, with limits of 40 packets per store.
Some packets of the Szechuan Sauce have found their way to eBay with prices exceeding $400 each.
While many complaints by individuals online have suggested reporting McDonald's to the Better Business Bureau and the Federal Trade Commission for bait-and-switch tactics or unfair trade practices, so far, the only comment from McDonald's was a tweeted apology saying "we're sorry not everyone could get some super-limited Szechuan."
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