Anna Ayala was arrested late last night, and San Jose police will hold a press conference at 1 this afternoon to announce charges–bad timing for Wendy’s, since this means that the exoneration from a month of bad publicity from a finger supposedly found in its chili that has substantially hurt its sales in California and Las Vegas will take place in the Friday evening news cycle. Previous entries: Apr. 9 and Apr. 20.
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finger in the chili
There are ways, claims Mary Roach in the San Francisco Chronicle, channelling Walter Sobchak. (“Fingering the finger”, Apr. 18 (via Romenesko)). “I would put good money on the digit hailing from someplace other than the hand of a meat or tomato or onion processor who works in a plant that processes ingredients for Wendy’s. People who work in processing plants do not have long, well-groomed fingernails. Long nails are against the rules in these plants.” Scott Herhold of the San Jose Mercury News is reminded of a 1987 hoax involving a finger that wasn’t. (“1987 finger mystery just a lot of tripe”, Apr. 17). Earlier entries: Apr. 9 and link therein.
The mystery of the San Jose Wendy’s chili finger deepens, as police execute a search warrant for Anna Ayala’s Las Vegas home, and Ayala claims new litigable injuries from the search. The local newspaper has four different reporters investigating. (Alan Gathright, Dave Murphy, Maria Alicia Gaura, “Police search home of woman who found finger”, SF Chronicle, Apr. 8; Ryan Kim, Dave Murphy and Alan Gathright, “Finger-finder has history of legal battles”, SF Chronicle, Apr. 9; “Woman Who Found Finger In Chili May Sue”, Good Morning America, Mar. 28). Earlier entry: Apr. 8. See also the Snopes page on the Pepsi-can syringes of 1993.
Remarkably, the media coverage never suggested that some skepticism might be warranted regarding a finding of a finger in chili until the execution of a search warrant seventeen days later. The media was similarly suckered by the tale of a juice bottle supposedly containing a human penis back in 2001.
“The woman who claims she bit into a human finger while eating chili at a Wendy’s restaurant has a history of filing lawsuits – including a claim against another fast-food restaurant in Nevada.” (Ken Ritter, “Woman who claimed to find finger at Wendy’s has litigious history”, AP/San Diego Union-Tribune, Apr. 8)(via Malkin)