Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Red Hot Chili Peppers in a 401(k)

I was in the mall last night when I got hungry and decided to stop at the food court. I was tempted by the Chick-fil-A stand but there was no way I was going to pay $10 for eight measly chicken nuggets. Instead, I stopped at McDonald’s on the way home and bought a dozen chicken nuggets for $2.50. The cashier asked what type of sauce I wanted to go with my order. “What are my choices?” I asked. She rattled off a list of names and I chose the last one, out of curiosity because I’d never heard of it. 

It turned out to be a good choice. It was made with cucumber and chili peppers, hot and tangy, just the way I like it. The next day, I tried to find the sauce in the supermarket but I couldn’t remember the name. Finally, I returned home and dug the plastic dipping sauce container out of the trash and learned I was hunting for sriracha sauce. Or more specifically, sriracha sauce added to McDonald’s Big Mac sauce, since sriracha was merely the main ingredient in the sauce I had tasted.

So I turned to the Internet, which led me to eBay where I found plastic dipping containers of McDonald’s Sriracha Mac Sauce™ for sale at surprisingly high prices: the first ad I stumbled upon offered a single container for $10,000. I carefully washed and pressed the lid of my previously discarded Sriracha Mac Sauce™ and compared it to the pictures on eBay. They were identical. I stared into the empty container realizing with dismay that my previous night’s $2.50 dinner may have been the most expensive meal I’ve ever eaten.

I had no idea why someone was offering a dipping sauce container for $10,000. I assumed the seller must have been a flake, but then I saw other listings from different sellers, albeit much more reasonably priced, ranging from $75 to $3,000. Something was going on here. So I went back to McDonald’s tonight and dug out the three dollars I had squirreled away to buy a lottery ticket (a.k.a. my retirement fund) and ordered the Chicken McNuggets. “Oh, and by the way, I’d like some of that Sriracha sauce.” The cashier brought me a brown bag of McNuggets. I gave him the friendliest smile I could muster without looking like I was coming on to him. “Could I have a few more Sriracha Mac Sauces™?” I asked, innocently.

So now I’m driving home with $60,000 of McDonald’s Sriracha Mac Sauce™ in a little brown bag, eager to log onto eBay and fund my retirement. Of course I’ll have to forgo the lottery ticket I was going to buy, but even if this doesn’t work out I can still eat my retirement dreams.

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