Fingergate's Inevitable End


Cops declare the whole thing a hoax, arrest Anna Ayala, woman who claimed to have found a finger in a bowl of chili at a San Jose Wendy's. Bay Area Wendy's restaurants claim $2.5 million in lost business. Ayala charged with attempted grand larceny. Headline writers compete for puns on "finger." DVD sales of The Hitcher, promising but ultimately disappointing 1986 Rutger Hauer/C. Thomas Howell joint that contains a finger-in-fast-food plot twist, remain flat. I still wonder what the big bulbous thing to the left of the fingertip is in all the pictures they show. Hoax or no hoax, I wouldn't be caught dead in either Wendy's or San Jose, let alone a San Jose Wendy's, but I hope the authorities can finally return the finger to its rightful owner.

NEXT: Batso for Ratzo

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  1. The finger was reportedly not cooked. I don’t think any criminal could be stupid enough to not think about that. I smell frame-up.

  2. Fuck you Tim,

    San Jose boy

  3. Fuck you Tim!

  4. Ummm, you don’t think criminals can be stupid? There are a nearly infinite number of examples.

    Truly Ms. Alaya didn’t think it through. If she’d used a cockroach or a mouse, she’d have gotten away with it: untraceable, not uncommon, and being uncooked wouldn’t have been a red flag. But a human finger? She should have realized that that would set off a thorough investigation.

  5. So it is more probable to you that Wendys put an uncooked finger in their food and lost 2.5 Million in business in an attempt to frame Mrs Ayala, than the idea that Mrs Ayala might be just a little stupid?

  6. All fingers point directly to Ayala as the culprit.

  7. I once worked at Wendy’s, and I don’t know if they still do this, but…

    …it used to be that the chili was made from old burgers that dried out on the grill and didn’t sell. We’d collect all the burger in these big bags and stick it in the freezer. Then, when the time was right…

    …The finger might have been an improvement.

    Rather than larceny, doesn’t fraud seem like the appropriate charge? …and speaking of appropriate, I don’t think Tim deserves a Bronx cheer for puttin’ down San Jose or Wendy’s. I wouldn’t eat in a Wendy’s again either–at least I wouldn’t admit it in polite company–and I’ve heard enough about San Jose that I don’t think I’ll ever want to go there.

    …Still, I found The Hitcher thoroughly satisfying–I guess there’s no accounting for taste.

  8. The scene of The Hitcher that sticks in my mind was Jennifer Jason Leigh lashed between those two trucks. I suppose you could say it works on a certain prurient pornoviolent level…

    Aw, screw it: sometimes its *fun* seeing a chick tied up…

  9. How believable was her claim in the first place? I don’t know where Wendy’s makes its chili, but how would a human finger get in a batch? One would have to believe that a worker lost a finger that could not be found and no one thought to look in the chili. On the basis of simply avoiding bad PR, you would think they’d go through the chili just in case the finger was in there. Or you would have to believe the worker lost a finger, did not tell anyone about it (even to seek 1st aid), and no one else noticed. This always sounded like an urban legend from the start.

  10. Guess you could say they put the finger on her! Hahahahah! Get it? Finger? Hahah, finger, you see, they put the “fin-ger” on her! Heh…heh…hello? Is this thing on?

  11. I don’t blame anyone for not wanting to come to San Jose. I’ve lived here all my life and it seems the most exciting thing to do here is go to Wendy’s.

    Today’s front page of the San Jose Mercury News: FINGERED! over a full page photo of that woman.

  12. My favorite scene from The Hitcher was when Rutger Hauer walks into the diner and puts pennies on the hero’s eyes.

  13. Do you know the way to San Jose? I’ve been away so long, I may go wrong and lose my way.

  14. You guys must be pretty wealthy to be able to afford to never eat at Wendy’s. To me, spending $1.89 a day on a Jr. Cheeseburger Deluxe and a Side Salad is a pretty good deal in terms of college student nutrition.

    Nothing cheaper comes close to the quality. Mc Donalds has a DOUBLE cheeseburger for a dollar and a salad with nicer *looking* lettuce, but the one I had most recently was not very crunchy. More of a “spring greens” salad.

  15. Has anybody checked to see if Ms. Alaya has access to a funeral home? Its would seem like the best snag a human finger and get away with it.

  16. Finger in the chili? Small potatoes when you’re talking about Wendy’s health hazards.

    I heard they use dihydrogen monoxide to dilute the syrup in their sodas. No thanks, I’ll just have a cup of water!

  17. My brother worked on a burn unit for 8 years. He was also known to have fun with the various digits that he found laying around the place (until he got into a bit of trouble for it, but that is another story). Come to think of it, if he had tried it, it at least would have been cooked.

  18. The finger was reportedly not cooked.

    Not surprising, half the time they don’t cook the chicken fingers either. >:-

  19. Rather than larceny, doesn’t fraud seem like the appropriate charge?

    If she was suing Wendy’s for damages, on the basis of a claim she knew to be false, that’s extortion. Not sure about grand larceny though…

  20. Tim Cavanaugh, you give “ruthless” a bad name.
    Whatchoo mean you wouldn’t be caught dead in either Wendy’s or San Jose?

    As it happens, the Little Woman and I had lunch at Wendy’s this very day, and she had chili. We discussed, ahead of time, that she’d order, “Chili, but hold the finger,” but we decided they’d be unlikely to get it.
    We had a very delightful dining experience. We both had Frosty’s. Is there anything better on this planet?
    Then, the exit of Wendy’s is the entrance to WalMart.
    Life is so good!

  21. What is wrong with Wendy’s or San Jose?

  22. “…it used to be that the chili was made from old burgers that dried out on the grill and didn’t sell. We’d collect all the burger in these big bags and stick it in the freezer. Then, when the time was right…”

    Is there a problem here?
    Anyone ever enjoyed horehound candy?
    (I bought a bag today on special for 88 cents at WalMart.)
    I was a candy cooker of hard candy for a couple of summers. We did a thorough clean-up at the end of the week, therefore we made white candies on Monday, and the colors got darker as the week progressed.
    Come Friday morn, I poked into the broom closet for the lonely bale of horehound–the herb. I grabbed a handful, threw it into the giant copper kettle with a little water to make the “tea.” That made, I added the usual ingredients of sugar and corn syrup, except I cut back on them as much as possible–my foreman advised me here–to allow maximum “recyled” liquid into the mix.
    The recyled liquid was from screwed-up batches and sweepings from clean-ups Monday thru Thursday.
    Hey! The liquid was brought to a high temperature and filtered endlessly. ( It did, however, remain dark.)
    I still enjoy horehound candy, as should Tim Cavanaugh.

  23. All fingers point directly to Ayala as the culprit.

    I am ashamed to admit that I actually did a spit-take on that.

    I’m surprised I haven’t heard about this story yet over at the weight loss/eating disorder communities I frequent on Livejournal. The “rooster head in the Chicken McNuggets” appears monthly, as does girl whose biology teacher swears he took a tour of the McDonalds meat plant and was shown that their burgers are made out of worms (belief in her story runs about 75%.)

  24. As fast food goes, Wendy’s isn’t so bad. Maybe it’s just that I worked there, so I can’t stand the place. I met a guy who worked in an ice cream shop, and he said he couldn’t stand the thought of ice cream anymore–hadn’t eaten any for years.

    …I don’t know if they have Fatburger where you live, but that place rocks! You could do a lot worse than El Pollo Loco too, but doubt those have made it east across the Mississippi.

    I suppose the Frosty at Wendy’s is probably as good as ever. …But I’m standin’ behind the Rutger Hauer comment–it’s a good flick!

  25. The Hitcher

    Just saw it a month or so ago, for the first time. Awful movie, just annoying as hell, ridiculous, almost as annoying as that old radio screamer with Agnes Morehead, Sorry, Wrong Number. At least that was only about 20 minutes long, The Hitcher seemed like it just sucked hours and hours of my life away.

  26. Ken, I know what you mean. When working at the MidOhio Food Bank as a volunteer one evening, I was given the task of hunting down the toy surprise in boxes of Cheerios. After digging through a couple of pallets of Cheerios and repackaging them I didn’t eat them for years. The dust got all up in my nose and sinuses or something.

    It was cool to see a forklift pallet half-filled with rubber bouncy balls. I begged the forklift driver to “accidentally dump it” but no such luck…

  27. I have to say the chili sounds “finger licking good”

  28. Ahhh, luxury…. you guys haven’t lived till you’ve hosed a port-a-john clean (ps— the vietnamese STILL don’t know what the hole in the shitter is for); or picked up a roiling bin of maggots on a Sunday morning trash collection detail.

  29. You could say she gave Wendy’s the finger … “gave them the finger” … haha

  30. Neb Okla: Why did you have to do that? Does the food bank have something against cheap Incredibles related merchandise?

  31. Sung to the tune of “If I had a Hammer”…

    If I had a finger
    I’d put it in the chili
    Down at the Wendy’s
    All over this land

    I’d settle out of court
    Make a lot of money
    And I woundn’t go sharin’ with my brothers or my sisters
    All over this land

  32. Cool, I see we have a bunch of Hitcher fans here – I always liked that one. Can’t believe they’re remaking it, though. Of all the damn things in the world to remake…

    Oh yeah, Wendy’s. I felt like it was pretty open-and-shut the second it was revealed this woman has a long history of bringing suits against big companies. Sure, it’s possible that such a person might legitimately find a finger in her chili. But Occam’s Razor says probably not.

  33. I just found out: there was a “Hitcher II” released in 2003. With C. Thomas Howell. (Straight-to-video, natch.) Somehow I don’t think I’m going to bother.

  34. I have a hard time understanding The Hitcher as a remake too. I don’t like any remake unless it improves on the original. What are they gonna do, answer the unanswered questions? Answer questions sooner?

    Why is this maniac doin’ this? Is the maniac just a figment of the kid’s imagination? Answer those questions too forcefully or too soon and you’ll ruin it. Ruined popcorn movie? …Yuck!

    …and part of the fun of the original is that it’s like a big dated reference. It seems pretty obvious that they derived the plot from the classic Doors song. …if I was going to pitch the movie using the classic format, it’s Blue Velvet meets Route 66. …But if you want clean plot lines and a well rounded plot, you have to connect the dots yourself. …if that’s what you want to do; either way, pass the popcorn.

  35. Ken Schultz,

    Two words: Michael “Remake” Bay.

  36. Let’s face it though, what percentage of major films this year will be original works, that is, not sequels or remakes or book adaptations? I’m sure it’s not more than 50%…

  37. …Adaptations to a new medium I can handle. Has anyone else seen Sin City?

    There’s a suggestion that two of the central characters may be the same character. The three central characters seem to all be in the same situations; in fact, they use some of the same dialogue: “Come on old Man. Show ’em you’re still worth somethin’.” –or something like that.

    They use the same dialogue in differenct plots over and over again. In fact, if it wasn’t for a scene that showed two of the central characters in the same place at the same time, you might think that the three of them were the same character at different points in time.

    …So the three plots are all alike, but one rings kinda from a first person perspective, one from second and the other from third–or maybe first person plural. Is any of this really all that interesting?

    …Probably not–but pass the popcorn!

  38. Can you digit?

  39. Dionne Warwick knows the way to San Jose. That has to tell something about the place.

  40. That San Jose song only made sense pre- and post- dotcom boom. During the boom it didn’t make any sense at all.

  41. Ken S:

    You bring up some really good questions in regards to re-makes. I think studio executives love them because most of the shit is already in the can.. script, pre-publicity, brand familiarity, etc.. all one needs to do to be “successful” is to update the special effects.

    On an artistic (story-telling) level, this is such horseshit. The recent re-make of Amityville Horror is a prime example. The movie actually starts out pretty well, but it totally loses it. Stories scare people, not cheap “shock” edits. Why are these movie people totally missing the point.. to tell a story? You can do that and make money, too.

  42. This thread began with commentary about the Wendy’s finger-in-the-chili hoax, but has now degenerated into a discussion of horror movies.

    The connection?

    Digital effects, obviously.

    Thank you, thank you. I’ll be here all week.

  43. as does girl whose biology teacher swears he took a tour of the McDonalds meat plant and was shown that their burgers are made out of worms (belief in her story runs about 75%.)

    That’s not true. My friend is a McDonald’s franchisee and he tells me that worm meat is more expensive than beef. Until the price of worms goes below beef he won’t consider it as a supplement. Same goes for kangaroo meat.

  44. Dionne Warwick knows the way to San Jose..really bring up some good question in regards of a re-makes..

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