Since its debut in August, the Popeyes Chicken Sandwich has stirred up quite the attention. After two weeks, the item quickly sold out, and the demand for the sandwiches led to violence. This month, the fast-food chain restocked, and with the long lines came many incidents reported in numerous stores. This Popeyes sandwich is a good example of the corporate culture that involves baiting customers to create hype for their product.
A recent video emerged of a Popeyes employee body slamming an elderly woman in the parking lot of the Tennessee restaurant. An unclear verbal altercation in the store led to the hospitalization of the senior with a shattered elbow, six broken ribs and a broken leg. Since then, a Popeyes spokesperson told FOX Business, “Following an investigation, the franchisee took immediate action, and we were informed that the employee has since been terminated.”
One of the most disturbing and tragic events resulting from the sandwich is the stabbing and death of 28-year-old Kevin Tyrell Davis at a Maryland Popeyes. Surveillance cameras documented the young man gradually cutting the line, leading to the breakout of an argument between Davis and another man. Within the next fifteen seconds, the men took the conflict outside the restaurant doors, and the unidentified man stabbed Davis. He was hospitalized and pronounced dead later that evening.
“How does a confrontation lead to a homicide in 15 seconds?” Police Chief Hank Stawinski of Prince George County Police Department asked. The motive of the attack still remains unknown, but police investigators currently have no evidence proving the men knew each other or that the attack was incited by a previous problem.
Popeyes, once again, released a statement addressing the death, saying they were saddened by the stabbing.
“We do not yet know whether this was the result of a dispute over one of our products or something unrelated, but there is no reason for someone to lose their life on a Monday night in a parking lot,” the statement said.
These sandwich stories only heighten the product’s exclusiveness, and consumers should recognize that this has gotten out of hand. A limited product is fine, but it becomes dangerous when a company sets a hook for consumers to bite. The influx of attention has caused clear distress between both customers and employees. These examples should send a message that humans can become viciously drawn to something they can’t have, and it appears as so companies are profiting and marketing off of this. As concerns for public safety continue to increase, it’s vital to see through this culture that is created and push companies to work around this method in general.
Companies should stop profiting off of the idea of limited products. While Popeyes is just an example, many companies generally know how this marketing works, yet disregard its effects. In the future, it would seem sensible to market new products differently so the supply and demand does not get out of hand. What’s needed is not a minor company change, but rather a broad societal shift from corporations techniques of grabbing the public’s attention.