SALT LAKE CITY -- McDonald's efforts to earn some goodwill and business from fans of the show "Rick and Morty" backfired this weekend after a limited edition run of Szechuan sauce was not nearly enough to meet demand.
The sauce was first released as a promotional item years ago for the release of Disney's "Mulan" but more recently became the focus of Internet buzz after an episode of the show featured Rick's longing for the discontinued condiment.
So when McDonald's announced the sauce would be available at some stores for one day only on Saturday, plenty of fans were excited. However, that excitement faded to disappointment and even anger for many.
The AV Club reports that social media is filled with reports from people accusing the chain of sending 20 packets or fewer to many stores, woefully underestimating the demand for the limited time sauce.
In one video posted to Twitter from a user in Los Angeles, fans can be heard chanting "we want sauce" as police work to move the crowd back.
Other users posted photos and videos showing massive lines and expressing their frustration.
McDonald's replied to some of the critics on Twitter, leaning into the show's theme of multiple dimensions to deflect the ire.
Melody, a 16-year-old fan from Salt Lake County, was among those upset fans this weekend. She said when she heard the news Monday, she was thrilled.
“After the episode about the Szechuan sauce came out, that’s when I started watching it, because I keep hearing about how great this show is.... The episode was really fun," she said. "It got myself and a lot of other people hyped up to try this sauce.”
The promotional materials for the limited edition sauce featured art similar to that of the show.
Melody said Rick hyped the sauce up during the show, but the first run of the sauce was before her time so she has never tried it.
“When it first came out it was 20 years ago, before I was born, so I didn’t have the chance to try it when it came out," she said.
The teen shared the news with her friends and asked her parents to help her obtain the coveted condiment.
“McDonald’s is finally gonna release the sauce for only one day, so I said, 'Can we please, please, please, go and get this sauce, and we agreed that we will," she said. "...So we went and looked for the sauce and failed.”
Melody says McDonald's website listed locations that would have the sauce.
"So we went to that restaurant that we were told had the sauce, we go there and they say there is no sauce, and we find a few other Rick and Morty fans there," she said.
Her step-father started calling several other restaurants, but none had the sauce. The one that said they did actually did not have any when the family arrived, which Melody said was the result of a misunderstanding. They gave up and went home, only to learn that restaurants in Salt Lake City and Provo both reportedly had the sauce.
"...so we had my step-dad go to Salt Lake to find the sauce, and right when he gets in line he’s told that there is no sauce," she said, adding "I was very disappointed."
Melody said she thinks McDonald's could have handled the promotion better.
“It’s straight from McDonald’s and it sounds too good to be true I guess, and it was true, but done very wrong," she said. "People have waited for hours to get it and they didn’t get it.”