The Oxford McDonald's was so crowded on Saturday that when senior Brandon Fogel and his girlfriend arrived, at promptly 1:50 p.m., they had to park across the street.
The "Rick and Morty" t-shirt-clad customers inside were not there for the chain's new Buttermilk Crispy Tenders. They wanted limited-edition Szechuan Sauce, which is alluded to in season three of the cartoon and, this Saturday, made a comeback for the first time since 1998 at select McDonald's locations around the country. Oxford was supposed to be one of these, starting at 2 p.m.
But when Fogel found a group of his friends there, two of them explained the restaurant only had 20 of these sauce packets to dish out -- and they'd already done so by 11 a.m.
Fogel, a recently converted "Rick and Morty" fan who consumed seasons one and two the week before fall semester began, was upset.
"I just went for the gimmick of it because I thought it would be funny," Fogel said. "But, still, incredibly disappointed."
He wasn't the only one. Locations across the country were met with angry customers due to insufficient sauce packets; at the University of Pennsylvania, police allegedly had to remind people via loudspeaker that there was no Szechuan.
The Oxford location did not officially serve the sauce until 2 p.m., but according to employee Chelsea McClure, they began handing out tickets that could be redeemed for Szechuan around 11 p.m.
"They were not happy at all, not at all," McClure said of customers who missed out. "We got cussed out many a time."
McDonald's acknowledged this Saturday afternoon, tweeting that they were sorry everyone couldn't get their hands on "some super-limited Szechuan." They followed up the next night, Oct. 8, with a lengthier statement.
"Between the costumes, the memes and the cross-state travel, you, the fans, showed us what you got," the apology, addressed "To our customers and Szechuan Sauce lovers, reads. "And our super-limited batch, though well-intentioned, clearly wasn't enough to meet that demand."
So, the chain has promised, Saturday's nationwide promotional event was not the last of the sauce. The sought-after condiment will return this winter, in much greater quantities, according to McDonald's Twitter account.
"We want to make this right," their statement reads. "You're some of the best fans in this, or any, dimension . . . and we plan to deliver on that promise as soon as possible. Stay tuned."