Next thing you know, pickles will carry warnings

My pickle was cold. I purposely removed it from my buns and touched it with my tongue, just to make sure. I'd read earlier that morning that a woman in Tennessee was suing McDonald's for $110,000 because her pickle was so hot it fell off her buns and burned her chin.

Her husband is asking for another $15,000 because he "has been deprived of the services and consortium of his wife" as a result of her pickle-burned chin. I don't even want to know how his wife's chin is critical to "consortium" between the two.

I read that news Sunday morning and wondered what in the name of Ray Kroc was happening in the land of Happy Meals.

"Since when did McDonald's start putting hot pickles on their burgers?" I asked my wife.

"What's that, honey?" said my wife.

"I said what's up with the hot pickles at McDonald's?" I asked again.

My wife tunes me out when I'm reading the Sunday paper. She knows I talk to myself and never is quite sure when I'm directing that conversation toward her.

According to the lawsuit, filed in Knox County Circuit Court, Veronica M. Martin was injured by an allegedly dangerous and defective product - in this case a small McDonald's hamburger - causing her to suffer both physical and mental injuries.

"While attempting to eat the hamburger, the pickle dropped from the hamburger onto her chin," the lawsuit reportedly stated. "The pickle was extremely hot and burned the chin of Mrs. Martin."

"Are you kidding me?" I said to myself Sunday morning at the kitchen table.

"What's that, honey?" my wife said from across the room.

"That pickle would have had to hang on her chin for a long time to burn her bad enough to ruin her sexual appetite," I explained to my wife.

"What pickle?" my wife asked. She obviously hadn't read the article.

"The hot pickle Mrs. Martin said fell out of her hamburger and dropped on her chin," I explained.

"That's nice, honey," my wife replied, obviously too busy to worry about Mrs. Martin's hot pickle.

I still couldn't picture how the pickle stuck to the woman's chin long enough to cause second-degree burns, as the story indicated. Not unless the woman didn't realize there was a pickle on her chin until it was too late.

"Is there something on my chin?" Mrs. Martin might have asked her husband. "It feels kind of warm."

"I can't tell," Mr. Martin might have replied. "It could be a pickle, but it also looks like it could be a bottle cap."

The gist of the suit apparently hinges on the assumption that Mrs. Martin was pretty much guaranteed, through an "implied warranty," that a McDonald's hamburger was fit to eat and that McDonald's breached that warranty by throwing a hot pickle into the mix.

I suppose that means the burger my son and I shared Sunday didn't come with a warranty. Not only was my pickle cold, but the meat it rested on didn't even warm the bag it came in.

I could have plopped that burger, pickle and all, on my chin for an hour without it ever messing with my ability to have "consortium" with my wife, or even perform heavy lifting.

To my knowledge, this is the first time McDonald's has been accused of serving blistering pickles. They did have a problem with hot coffee once, getting successfully sued by a woman who spilled a cup of hot coffee on her lap.

They apparently made a mistake in assuming customers ought to know that coffee is generally served hot. Now there's a warning on the cups for dumb-dumbs who need to be reminded. They'll probably have a "hot pickle" warning on the burger wrappers before this latest suit gets too far.


While I was visiting McDonald's Sunday, I asked the woman at the counter if she'd gotten any complaints about the pickles. She apparently hadn't read about the lawsuit and gave me a puzzled look.

"So you want a burger with no pickles?" she asked.

"No. I want pickles. That's not what I meant," I told her. "I was just wondering if they'd be hot enough to burn my chin."

"How could you burn your chin with a pickle?" she asked, wondering how she got so lucky to be on duty when I walked in.

"That's what I wondered," I told her. "How could anyone burn their chin with a pickle."

"One burger with no pickles?" she asked.

"No. I want pickles," I told her again. "I want lots of pickles. Forget what I said. I just thought you knew."

I pulled my burger from the bag and pried it apart to touch the pickle. It was cold.

I stuck it on my chin, much to the delight of my son, and nothing. No warmth. No pain. Nothing. Just a pickle on my chin.

"Maybe you have to go to Tennessee to get hot pickles," I told my son, who gave me the same look his mother had earlier that morning.

Jeff Ackerman is publisher and editor of the Nevada Appeal.


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