One of my favourite news stories of the year so far has to be Colin vs. Cuthbert, an unexpected war of caterpillars that is as interesting as it is funny.
For those who’ve been living under a leaf for the past few weeks, Marks & Spencer has taken legal action against Aldi on account of their Cuthbert the caterpillar cake allegedly bearing a striking familial resemblance to Colin.
The trademark infringement claim, lodged with the High Court, claims that Aldi has led customers to believe their bargain cake is just as delicious as the iconic Colin, and that the store had furthermore benefited from the product’s high quality birthday bash reputation.
However, as I argued during a night in on Twitter, ‘It’s just not on to come after Cuthbert like this when you’re quite happy for Curly, Cecil, Clyde and Morris to keep wriggling around the shops.’
Many others share the same view, with the chrysalis of this case bursting open with countless on-point memes, fluttering about on social media in a flurry of delightful silliness. (Admittedly I was never too hot on biology).
#FreeCuthbert soon began trending, with M&S’s campaign only serving to fire up the love for Colin’s cheap and cheerful cousin. An unlikely 2021 rebel emerging just as many of us are tentatively beginning to sense a bit of fun on the horizon.
Human beings are weird creatures who get overly passionate and at times even irate when it comes to favoured snacks and sweet treats. And so it’s no great surprise to me that this is far from the only food fight to make it to the courtroom. It’s time to roll over, Colin.
5. The Infamous Subway’s Footlong Sandwich Debacle
There’s nothing quite like grabbing a Subway footlong meal-deal for your lunch. The satisfying crusty crunch of the baguette. The familiar aroma of the Chipotle Southwest sauce. I don’t even mind getting lettuce all over me, it just feels like part of the fun.
However, in 2013, Australian teenager Matt Corby was left less than impressed after measuring his sandwich, finding it to be just 11 inches in length. A whole inch worth of carby goodness apparently having vanished.
After Matt uploaded a photo of his shortened sub to Facebook, the marinara meatballs really hit the fan, with people all over the world wondering whether Subway was lying to them and whacking out their own tape measures in turn.
A couple of days after Matt’s post, Subway Australia gave a public response explaining that the label ‘footlong’ was intended as ‘a descriptive name’ and was ‘not meant to be a measurement of length’.
Customers were outraged by this perceived deception, and a number of sandwich lovers went as far as to file lawsuits, which were combined into one class action lawsuit.
In 2016, as reported by Business Insider, Subway agreed to settle the case once and for all by making their subs bigger.
The sandwich chain began introducing requirements that meant franchisees had to measure bread, making sure footlong subs were 12 inches and six-inch subs were no shorter than six inches. Excuse me while I nip out and check for myself.
4. McDonald’s Nearly Sued The Dictionary Over The Term ‘McJob’
Every year the Oxford English Dictionary will include new, contemporary terms that reflect the way slang shifts and changes over time. In 2001, the term ‘McJob’ was added, defined as ‘an unstimulating, low-paid job with few prospects, esp. one created by the expansion of the service sector.’
Two years later, the term also made its way into Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary. Needless to say, McDonald’s then-CEO Jim Cantalupo was not best pleased by this less than flattering description of career prospects at the fast food giant.
In an open letter addressed to Merriam-Webster, published in the US trade publication Nation’s Restaurant News, Cantalupo blasted the term as being an ‘inaccurate description of restaurant employment’ adding:
It’s also a slap in the face to the 12 million men and women who work hard every day in America’s 900,000 restaurants.
Cantalupo urged the dictionary to ‘eliminate your inaccurate definition of restaurant employment in the next edition,’ describing the term as ‘completely inappropriate and absolutely demeaning for all the dedicated men and women who have been, or are currently employed in a restaurant.’
However, Merriam-Webster did not give in to these demands, and the war of words continued for some years. McDonald’s reportedly even went as far as to threaten a lawsuit, but didn’t end up going through with it.
3. A Fraudulent Fingertip At Wendy’s
In 2005, fast food lovers across America were horrified when Nevada woman Anna Ayala claimed to have found a severed, and ‘crunchy’, human fingertip in her bowl of Wendy’s chilli – fingernail and all.
Speaking with ABC News at the time, Ayala claimed the gruesome discovery had caused her severe distress:
The thought of, you know, just knowing that there was a human remain in my mouth… it is disgusting. It is tearing me apart inside.
The resulting outcry cost Wendy’s an estimated $21 million in lost business, as per NBC, but all was not as it seemed.
Following an investigation, it emerged that Ayala’s husband, Jaime Plascencia, had in fact purchased the severed digit from a co-worker who had lost it during an industrial accident.
Ayala and Plascencia both pled guilty to conspiring to file a false claim and attempted grand theft. In 2016, Ayala was given a nine-year prison sentence, while her husband was sentenced to 12 years four months. Ayala also received a lifetime ban from all Wendy’s restaurants.
2. Slipknot vs. Burger King
In their 2000 track Insane, Slipknot raged, ‘Am I the only motherf*cker with a brain?/I’m hearing voices, but all they do is complain.’
However, fast forward five years, and Slipknot were the ones complaining. Their gripe centred around a Burger King commercial for BK Chicken Fries that featured the fictional, yet strikingly familiar band Coq Roq.
As outlined in the lawsuit:
It is obvious that the television advertising and website are designed to conjure up the image and persona of a live performance of Slipknot.
In addition to capturing the flavour and high energy intensity of a Slipknot performance the members of Coq Roq wear masks that include a gas mask as worn by Slipknot’s Sid Wilson, a kabuki style mask as worn by Slipknot’s Joey Jordinson and a mask with dreads as worn by Slipknot’s Corey Taylor.
However, Burger King responded in kind with their own lawsuit, arguing that Slipknot themselves parody other masked bands, including the likes of KISS and Insane Clown Posse. Both parties ultimately ended up dropping their respective suits, and the ad campaign proved to be a clucking big success.
1. Man Sues Papa John’s For Allegedly Bombarding Him With Text Messages.
Although we all like to hear about the latest deals from our favourite pizza places, Jonathan Anozie found Papa John’s incessant text messages anything but tempting.
According to a 2017 report from TMZ, Anozie claims he was pelted with ceaseless text messages offering him two large pizzas with up to five toppings deal for just $9.99.
A decent deal for sure, but these messages only served to frustrate Anozie, who continued receiving them even after replying ‘STOP’ in a bid to cancel the apparent swarm of automated texts.
It’s unclear how many messages Anozie received, however the Papa John’s website states that subscribers may receive up to six messages per month. As someone partial to a weekend slice, this doesn’t seem too unreasonable at first glance. However, for Anozie, this unwanted communication left a sour taste.
As per the lawsuit, which argued Anozie should be given $500 per text in compensation, the texts had a ‘significant’ negative impact on his daily life:
Defendant’s calls directly and substantially interfered with Plaintiff’s right to peacefully enjoy a service that Plaintiff paid for and caused Plaintiff to suffer a significant amount of anxiety, frustration and annoyance.
I never believed I’d write an article that would leave me feeling so hungry and yet so stressed at the same time.
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