Sunday, August 13, 2006

EXCLUSIVE: Taco Bell sauce dump video

I wrote last week about the return of a large quantity of Taco Bell 'Fire' hot sauce packets to a Taco Bell in Marion, Indiana. The event captured the attention of local and then national media. I've been in touch with an acquaintance of those involved and he has now supplied me with a video produced by those involved.

Let me say at the outset that I think the amount of attention this little prank has gotten is out of proportion with its novelty, but since I've got the facts and the video I'll present them here. (The story was picked up by AP; other coverage includes: Washington Post, Consumerist, and Fark.)

Via my contact, the perpetrators of this prank wanted to point out that despite some news reports to the contrary, those involved were not wearing masks when they entered the Taco Bell and did not intend to give the impression they were robbers.

My contact has also informed me that "the kid who was hoarding them did feel bad and returned them. I also believe that his mother said something about 'getting rid' of it," and that he does believe all this publicity "is definatly going to someone's head... I heard MTV and Dave Letterman mentioned."

As you'll be able to see in the video the prank was clearly that: a prank. It was meticulously planned out and even had a name: "Operation F.T.B" which evidently stands for Fire sauce Taco Bell.

The text of the note accompanying that was left with the bags of Fire sauce read:
"Dear Taco Bell, I bet I know what is going on in your heads right now. You may be asking questions like "Why" or "How" but I assure you I'll try to answer those in this letter. Little by little I have accumulated these packages with multiple trips to Taco Bell. It was such a gradual process of taking this sauce that we took 275 lbs of sauce right under your noses without you even noticing. We came here tonight to return to you the 25,000+ fire sauce packages that have been accumulated over the last 3 years. Please do not be angry for we have just come to return the sauce out of kindness. I have thought many nights about what to do with the sauce and I secretly stored it in the trunk of my car. I thought of selling it on ebay or even using it as a practical joke, but after much thought and consideration I finally decided to return all of the sauce to its rightful owner, Taco Bell. Thank you for your dearest understanding on this entire situation. God Bless!"
The 'reply' in a statement from Rob Poetsch, a spokesman for Taco Bell, was:
"We do appreciate this person's passion for Taco Bell. We don't encourage people to take out our sauce, but we appreciate them being so forthcoming. We're not sure what we will do with the sauce, but we will NOT be serving it to customers."
The video is 6 minutes long. It was produced by one of the pranksters. It includes footage of coverage of the incident by local TV news stations (including an interview with the Chief of Police), bad quality, night footage of the planning of the prank in a parking lot, still shots of the bags and fire sauce packets scattered across the floor of the Taco Bell, and yes, some brief video of the pranksters running into the Taco Bell shot by someone already inside.


Anonymous said...

Nice exclusive story and a fun YouTube video included to watch the sauce pranksters at work. It's amazing what people will do in their spare time -- like pilfer 25000 packets of hot sauce.

The best thing for a franchise owner to do in controlling such inventory costs is to have the cashier give out a couple of packets of sauce when customers ask for them. In that way, you have to have teens willing to spend a lot of $$$ on tacos in order to collect so many packets.

Anonymous said...

It makes me laugh that the news reports said that they were wearing masks and that there weren't any customers but obviously they were wrong about both. Kinda makes you wonder about how many other things they guess at while reporting the "truth".

Anonymous said...

The worst thing about some Taco Bell franchises is the fact that they treat their hot sauce like its gold! its like pulling teeth to get them to hand you more than 1 packet per taco/burrito. Some of us like putting 3 to 4 packets on each item, and at a cost of 1 penny per 50 packets, I think these cheap ass franchise owners can afford it.

welcome to corporate america, where multi-billion dollar companies nickel-and-dime you at every possible opportunity

Anonymous said...

This put Marion, Indiana on the map.

Anonymous said...

This is so absolutely awesome!!!!!!

Unknown said...

As I see it.......these guys all have very creative minds. All in fun....nobody hurt.
~~ and yes, I'm one of the Moms and didn't know anything about it til it was out in the news. My son got a birthday cake that year, with airbrushed "taco bell sauce" packets on his cake. ~~