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Home > People

WAWIBF... Scraping the cracker barrel

5 June 2004

When 36-year-old Carla Patterson found a dead mouse in her vegetable soup at a local Cracker Barrel eating-house in Virginia, she let out a mighty scream. In the ensuing panic and hullabaloo, many customers dropped their forks in fright and fled the restaurant suppressing vomit. It was May 8th - Mother's Day.

The soup was just the beginning of what was set to be a lavish celebratory meal laid on by Carla's 20-year-old son, Ricky, who was also present. After the screaming had subsided, Cracker Barrel employees tried to calm things down. Before they could cart the evidence off to the kitchen however, quick-thinking Ricky got a few snaps using his cameraphone. After all, you can't be too careful nowadays.

Carla sued Cracker Barrel for half a million dollars. A bit steep you might think, for one little mouse, but then there's the principle at stake; and a ruined Mother's Day; and this is America we're talking about, where you can actually be taken to court for farting in a public place. Probably. In Florida.

So as Leno and Letterman made mouse gags and Cracker Barrel's sales and reputation plummeted, the mouse was sent off to the lab. Then this Tuesday the case came to a close. Not only did a stash of corroborating evidence show that the mouse in question had been bashed to death prior to it being brought into the restaurant and dropped into the soup, but also, dickhead Ricky had apparently approached Cracker Barrel bosses and admitted planting the mouse and offered to exchange his incriminating photos for the cash.

Cracker Barrel agreed, insisted that as part of the deal Ricky must publicly admit to the scam. Then, naturally, they called the police. The Pattersons were then dumb enough to turn up at the meet expecting to actually receive a check for half a million dollars. Cracker barrel indeed. They were arrested and on Tuesday charged with extortion and conspiracy to commit a felon.

The lesson then is clear. If you have any intention whatsoever of aking a quick quid from your local eatery, don't be an idiot about it. If you're pulling the old 'mouse in my soup' scam, then use your head and drown the mouse in an identical soup first. Don't smash its skull in.

Comment on this article: letters@thefridaything.co.uk

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