When does a local story become a national crisis?
Some mistakes are so boneheaded—or inspire enough fear in consumers—that the story will spread far beyond its local origins. That was the case for McDonald’s when a Canadian franchise served a customer a cup of cleaning solution instead of a latte.
Sarah Douglas of Lethbridge, Alberta, was on her way to her son’s baseball tournament when she went to a McDonald’s drive-through for a latte.
It wasn’t until she was on the highway that she suspected something was wrong, she told the Canadian Broadcasting Corp.
“I immediately had to put my hazard lights on and pull over and spit it out and rinse my mouth out with … water,” Douglas said. “I opened up the lid of the coffee and out pours this pungent smell of chemical. It wasn’t a latte at all.”
McDonald’s did not issue a national response, but local franchise operator Dan Brown gave a statement: