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Apparently, this whole weirdness started when the sauce in question was referenced in a cartoon called Rick and Morty. Here's the just over minute long video. According to Mashable, the cartoon reference led to "numerous petitions on Change.org asking McDonald's to bring back the sauce, one of which has reached more than 8,000 signatures".

According to Time, Fox News, USA Today and many others, an unnamed person sold on Ebay a found 20 year old packet of Mulan McNugget Sauce to a fan of the Rick and Morty show for nearly $15K.

Did this really happen?

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    I'd appreciate an answer that distinguished between "a joke bid of $15K on a joke Ebay auction" and "sold". – Oddthinking May 27 '17 at 5:39
  • The stories listed here all say the sale was completed. There is nothing that says it was a joke bid. Of course I would be happy to see any credible evidence that there was joking involved, but the first line of the Time article is, "A 20-year-old dipping sauce from McDonald's sold for nearly $15,000 after a mention in the show Rick and Morty". – Jolenealaska May 27 '17 at 6:16
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    I understand that the claim is that it was sold. I am skeptical. It is not hard to find auctions that are won by ridiculous joke bids that are never actually paid. – Oddthinking May 27 '17 at 6:28
  • I question that there was ever a buyer, seller or an actual condiment pack. I think this whole thing was just made up out of whole cloth and sloppy photoshopping. I'm seriously shaking my head at Time. – Jolenealaska May 27 '17 at 6:44
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    I think part of the interesting thing about this story is... no one seems to know who bought or sold it, or how it tasted. – Journeyman Geek May 27 '17 at 7:32
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Yes, there was an eBay auction where someone purported to have an original package of the Mulan Szechuan Dipping sauce from McDonalds.

Yes, someone used the eBay system to make a bid of $14,700.

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However, there are good reasons to believe the original item was faked, and no good reason to believe the bid was actually paid.


The picture in the eBay listing matches this one from eater.com (and elsewhere on the Internet):

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When compared to this photo of a BBQ sauce package from An Immovable Feast, it can be seen that - suspiciously - both list exactly the same ingredients,

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High fructose corn syrup, water, tomato paste, grape vinegar, distilled vinegar, salt, soy sauce (water, wheat, soybeans, salt), food starch- modified, spices, dextrose, soybean oil, natural smoke flavor (plant source), xanthan gum, caramel color, garlic powder, cellulose gum, dried chili peppers, malic acid, natural flavors (fruit and vegetable source), onion powder, sodium benzoate (preservative), succinic acid

Furthermore, when it is compared with this picture of BBQ sauce package found at Mouthful of Sunshine, it can be seen that it shares the same reflections. The Mulan image on the right has been faked based on the package on the left.

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The faked image also contains the copyright date of 2011, despite the sauce being discontinued in 1998.

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It is clear that the picture of the item being sold has been faked.


Two other items make me suspicious that this was a deliberate ploy (or prank) by McDonalds and the creators of Rick and Morty:

  1. The Rick and Morty show that contains the reference was aired on April 1.

  2. A live-action Mulan movie comes out in 2018.

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    To be fair, apparently McDonald's and Disney no longer have promotions together, so I think it's unlikely that it was actually a planned marketing event (I don't see much benefit in advertising something that you wont be able to purchase). – JMac May 29 '17 at 12:15
  • @JMac Really? I hadn't heard that. Why not? – Jolenealaska May 30 '17 at 1:12
  • I do not believe there was any coordinated marketing here. – JoshDM May 31 '17 at 0:30
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    @JoshDM I certainly don't believe there was any malice on the part of Rick and Marty or even McDonalds. I would like to know who fooled Time et al. with the phonied-up package, though. If R&M or McDs were involved, I would expect a better job. – Jolenealaska May 31 '17 at 11:52
  • @JoshDM From IMDb "In the season three premiere of Adult Swim's popular animated sci-fi/comedy, Rick and Morty, a 1998 McDonald's cross promotion of the original Mulan (1998) is heavily alluded to. This cross promotion, a Mulan-inspired teriyaki dipping sauce, immediately gained internet attention as fans of the show demanded the fast food chain bring the sauce back. It is now rumored that McDonald's will bring the sauce back for the live-action version of Mulan (2018)." Curiouser and curiouser. – Jolenealaska Jun 9 '17 at 15:22

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