Friday, June 16, 2006

Insider: More than ten years after Stella Liebeck, McDonald's Still Hasn't Learned How to Label Their Coffee

Everyone knows who Stella Liebeck is, even if they think they don't.

Come on now: McDonald's coffee? Lawsuit? Stella awards? Ah yes, now I see the light bulbs turning on.

As I'm sure most of you remember, in 1994, Ms. Liebeck successfully sued for a large chunk of change because she spilled McDonald's ridiculously hot coffee on herself and (unsurprisingly) was severely burned.

Due in part to that case, McDonald's has since begun to label their coffee with warnings that the beverage is served at potentially dangerous temperatures.* However, despite these precautions, and thanks to some classified information from the inside**, it would appear that McDonald's is once again in a precarious position with their coffee.

Just look at the labeling on this cup my source was able to seize (click for a closer look):Does anyone else see the immense problem here? No? Let me spell it out for you: The label says, "CAUTION: Handle with care - I'M HOT," located not even an inch away from an attractive female model. I mean, how long do you really think it's going to be before some moron claims he thought the label referred to the chick*** and not the coffee?!

McDonald's may think that this is a non-issue, especially since these labels are only found on the unpopular and largely**** unheard of medium-sized cups of coffee, but you can never underestimate the power of lawyers*****.

P.S. Since I've been on a bit of a trash-label kick (this post and this post), I feel I should mention that on the back of the cup, I found this:
Take that for what it's worth.

*My source, a Mickey D crew member, tells me that he's gotten more complaints about cold coffee than ridiculously hot coffee.

**My source is definitely not me.

***For the sake of full disclosure, there is a picture of a guy on the other side with the same label, but I didn't get as good of a picture of it and quite frankly, I just didn't think he was hot.

****No pun intended.

*****For example: normal people - love smell of coffee; lawyers - love smell of cash.


Steven said...

Your google ads are quite amusing now. "Dispose of Waste We'll pick up almost anything. Book online for $10 off!"

You know I don't think Ronald McDonald is pitching a cup in the trash as you elude to. That's actually a black and white photo of him on the American soccer team as he misses an easy shot wide left with no goalie defending.

Anonymous said...

I have to correct you on the
href="http://MCDONALDSCOFFEELAWSUIT.COM">McDonald's Coffee Lawsuit
. The woman got severely burned and had to stay in a hospital for seven days. Even more outrageously, 700 other cases of burns caused by its coffee had been reported to McDonald's.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for dropping by and commenting, anonymous.

I apologize for not being more clear - I don't think that Stella Liebeck's lawsuit was frivolous or unjustified. Stories such as the one linked to in the post (found here) have convinced me that Ms. Liebeck was most likely in the right.

Thanks again.