Consumer warning: Beware of dangerous superheated pickles

image (It’s Flashback Sunday — but DON’T PANIC! Just because this post isn’t even remotely familiar is no indication you are experiencing the beginning signs of dementia! Actually, the fact that you read this blog at all is probably the best indication. Regardless, posts for Flashback Sunday are chosen because they 1) Have appeared as a newspaper column but not on my blog, or 2) were posted here long ago, back when all of my followers could fit into a two-door Mini Cooper — and did, often for no apparent reason…)

It wasn’t long ago that I found myself driving down the road with an 800-degree onion ring searing my flesh. I had just left a Burger King drive-through and, after exchanging pleasantries at the window and maintaining my composure long enough to exit the parking lot, pounced on my combo meal sack like a hyena at a gazelle feed — laughing and eating, laughing and eating.

So, when I ripped into an enormous onion ring and felt the breading fall away into my lap, I had no one but myself to blame when my appetizer became a sizzling, onion-flavored chin strap that turned my frenzied laughing to screaming on I-5. Though I had been branded a road-food junkie — apparent by the scarlet “O” encircling my lower lip and chin — I never once thought of calling a lawyer in an effort to seek damages against Burger King (and the onion growers of America) for supplying me the means with which to be an idiot.

As much as I’d like to say that I reached that decision based on my moral character, it really had more to do with a recurring image of what the trial would be like.

(Insert gauzy, dream-sequence here…

“Mr. Hickson, when you ordered your food at the drive-through, how did those combo-meal pictures make you feel.”

“Angry — Tortured, really. They seemed to be taunting me. I think I might have cried a little.”

(Dramatic pause by my lawyer) “So, it’s safe to say that, based on the fact that you were ordering food, Burger King should have known that you were hungry enough to risk bodily harm in order to satisfy your appetite.

“I would think so.”

“And yet they sent you out onto the highway with hot onion rings ANYWAY, knowing full well that you would probably try to eat them.”


“And is the girl who worked the drive-up window that day here in this court room?”

“Y-yes,” I say from the witness stand, and point incriminatingly to a 16-year-old wearing braces and a “Viva Loca” T-shirt. “If not for my quick thinking and throwing a super-sized cup of soda in my face, I might’ve been scarred for life because of that girl!”

Pandemonium breaks out.

…Insert reality here.)

The reason I bring up this painful subject is because of (another) lawsuit filed against McDonald’s by an Iowa woman who burnt herself on a hot pickle slice. According to the report, she is seeking $110,000 (apparently the going rate for garnish-burn victims) for the “physical and mental pain” caused by a pickle that fell from her burger and onto her chin.

Veronica’s husband, Darrin, is also suing—for $15,000—because he says, ever since the accident, he has “been deprived of the services and consortium of his wife.”

Now, I’m going to sidestep the whole hot-pickle-leads-to-lack-of-consortium thing, and just issue a hearty “thanks” to the Martins for bringing this safety issue to light for all Americans.

That said, I’ll leave you now.

All of this talk of food is making me hungry.

(Ned is a syndicated columnist for News Media Corporation. Write to him at or at Siuslaw News, P.O. Box 10, Florence, Ore. 97439)

Published by

Ned's Blog

I was a journalist, humor columnist, writer and editor at Siuslaw News for 23 years. The next chapter in my own writer’s journey is helping other writers prepare their manuscript for the road ahead. I'm married to the perfect woman, have four great kids, and a tenuous grip on my sanity...

28 thoughts on “Consumer warning: Beware of dangerous superheated pickles”

  1. This reminds me of that time in highschool when I tried to hide a cigarette from a teacher who was passing by. Add failed in so many ways… Although I had the mark to prove it right in the middle of my palm, I never blamed Pall Mall…Although come to think about it now it would have been a better excuse than the one I had then:(

  2. Thank God I no longer eat at McDonald’s. The pickles would terrify me and I would have to file a lawsuit claiming stress and anxiety. (I hope Mrs. Martin never tries to eat a deep-fried pickle. That could spell greater disaster.)

    1. The pickles are just one of many reasons not to eat at McDonald’s! And I’m pretty sure Mrs. Martin has sworn off pickles of any kind. And Mr. Martin is not happy.

  3. explains why the local fast mcdonald’s refused to give me a pickle on a chicken sandwich with cheese and mayo as requested by my office mate years ago. couldn’t explain why to me but i was allowed to take the pickle on the side. i just chalked it up to being a toxic combo and accepted it. told my office mate he was not long for this world if he added it to his sandwich. now i understand the big picture. thanks for solving this up until this point unsolvable mystery for me. ps – the o-ring just adds to your charm.

      1. thanks and p.s. – there is a couple who live near me and own a ‘mystery machine’ replica van they drive everywhere. kids go crazy for it.

  4. Holy snappin’ duck shit, Ned, it’s no wonder we Aussies have an “only in America” slot on most news feeds! Geez, next thing you know, Mrs Martin will be adding a second law suit because the rest of the meal made her fat.

  5. I always feel stupid and greedy when I burn myself on too hot food/drinks. I would be embarrassed to file any lawsuits over that kind of stuff.

    “Pickleus Interruptus”. . . .hahahaha

  6. Start going to a drive-thru doughnut place. You can sue them for knowing selling you food that is linked to weight gain, high cholesterol, and heart problems. Of course, I think you would have to have a heart attack first. Never mind…

No one is watching, I swear...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s