Headlines you can’t make up: Burger with onions ignites ‘McFury’ at McDonald’s

As a reformed journalist, these kind of stories make me (a) snort coffee through my nose, which is a tragic, because EVERY DROP OF JAVA is precious, (b) shake my head in awe and (c) wonder what other epic things are happening, every day, that we don’t hear about, because if a burger with onions makes a man like this go all Michael Douglas in FALLING DOWN, what happens if he gets into a fender bender? Will a SWAT team have to be called to Powell’s Books if somebody glances at the books he’s buying and raises one eyebrow, like Spock?

First, the story itself. Then we’ll analyze this, to see what it tells us about onions, and burgers, and America.

Burger with onions ignites ‘McFury’ at McDonald’s
by KING 5 News, KGW
Posted on September 26, 2012 at 10:49 AM

GRESHAM, Ore. — A Gresham, Oregon man is accused of going on a violent rampage in a Portland-area McDonald’s fast-food restaurant Sunday.

Jayme Leon will be charged with harassment and criminal mischief following the violent episode in which police said he threw a soda in the face of the McDonald’s manager and smashed a cash register.

According to the Oregonian newspaper, Leon’s rage ignited when he received a Quarter Pounder with onions. He reportedly asked for no onions.

After placing the order, police said Leon called the restaurant to complain. He was told to bring the burger back for a refund, but said he had already eaten it.

Leon returned to the restaurant, upon which police are quoted as saying he went into a “McFury.”

Police arrested him a short distance from the McDonald’s. He was booked into jail but released on his own recognizance.

# # #

What stood out to you?

For me, the icing on the McFury cake was this fact: he ate the offending burger with onions. All of it.

Then he went back to raise hell, break things and get arrested.

Normal people would peek at the burger, notice the onions and tell the 16-year-old at the counter hey, this is a mistake. Be great if you could fix it. And any restaurant will fix it. Everybody on the planet knows this. Maybe in Stalinist Russia around 1955, all burgers came with onions, and YOU WILL LIKE THE ONION BURGER, but I’m making that up.

You could be the mousiest, least aggressive person in the world, saying something like, “I think maybe I sorta ordered a burger without onions, and it’d be great — not to trouble you at all, because you’re busy and underpaid — it’s just be great to have a plain old burger, and if that’s a bother, I’m happy giving this one away to a starving person outside and handing you another buck and a quarter to buy a separate burger without onion, since there’s a 1 percent chance I maybe ordered it wrong, though that’s not what my receipt says.”

Even if you went all nicey-nice, they’re gonna replace your burger. Probably give it to you free and throw in some french fries or whatever.

That’s why this story jumps the shark.

People get mad all the time. There are brawls in the parking lots of Waffle Houses, apparently so often that fark.com may retire that as a meme. People rob gas stations all the time, so it isn’t news until a rednecks in Florida start a trend of dressing up like ninjas to rob 7-Elevens, which still resists using AP style and going with Seven-11. Listen to Patrick Stewart: resistance is futile.

The other reason this story jumps the shark is normal people, like you and me (OK, maybe just me) do a little cost-benefit analysis before resorting to Things that Will Get Us Arrested and Mocked throughout the Series of Tubes.

What is the benefit of raising hell at McDonald’s and trashing the place? Maybe they give you a replacement burger … except they won’t, because they’ll be busy looking for mops to beat you with and talking to dispatchers on 911 instead of frying up a new pattie of cow.

Weigh the benefits (zero) versus the costs (whoah, dude) and the decision for you and me is easy. But maybe you and I don’t harbor a deep-seated hatred of onions.

4 thoughts on “Headlines you can’t make up: Burger with onions ignites ‘McFury’ at McDonald’s

  1. I ask for no onions all the time, and McDonald’s never gets it right. I also worked in food service, so um, I have no pity for the people who screw up my order. I truly want to neck-punch them. Of course, I don’t because that would be crazy. It’s not that I just sometimes don’t feel like eating onions, it’s that I loathe them. They make me vomit. Really. But all I do is take the burger back and say, “You put onions on my burger.” and they usually just give me a new one. No fuss. You know, maybe it wouldn’t be so bad if they didn’t chop them up so fine that you can’t pick them off without removing the other toppings. They should be like Burger King and put ginormous onions on the burger. Then it’s easy to pick them off and no one has to snap. Problem solved.


  2. I worked in food service for years to put myself through school so, yeah, I’ve met this kind of customer a few times. I worked with a woman who waitressed during the day but also had a hair salon in her basement. She said in her experience people became way more irate when you messed up their food than when you messed up their hair. Go figure.


  3. Maybe it was a situation where his parents had forced him to eat vegetables while growing up. You know, one of those deals where onions were his most hated food but his parents were big meanie-heads and made him eat them all the time anyways just to demonstrate the kind of control they had as high-and-mighty-parents. So maybe it was that when the people at Mickey-Ds gave him onions on his burger, he ate them out of a lifetime of habit, of being forced to eat what he didn’t want to eat his whole life. Maybe he didn’t even question the practice of eating the onions then, but hated it the whole time and afterwards decided that he’d had enough of being forced to eat what he didn’t want to.

    Then again, maybe he was just allergic to onions – the reaction being they made him go crazy.

    Just saying.

    Great post, as always!


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