"Waiter, what's this mouse doing in my soup?"
"Well, ma'am, it looks like the dog paddle."
No? C'mon, I bet it's funny if you imagine Fred Willard delivering the punch line. No matter, that version of a corny old classic was the first thing that came to mind when I heard about the crazy situation that's been transpiring at one of CBRL Group's
Awhile back, when I wrote about CBRL Group I started off saying that the shareholders had endured a pretty tough month. Well, things got worse. Shortly before the lackluster earnings report was released, there came word that a Mother's Day diner claimed to have found a mouse in her veggie soup. (Thanks to Dave Barry's blog for alerting me to this important news because CBRL Group didn't seem eager to issue a press release.)
According to officials, the whole episode was a scam -- and a poorly planned one at that. A detailed mouse autopsy, described in fascinating detail by the Daily Press, revealed that the mouse had been clubbed to death, not drowned, and that it wasn't cooked, as would be expected had it spent much time in the soup warmer.
In a sting operation, police arrested Carla Patterson and son Ricky when the two arranged to turn over camera-phone photos to Cracker Barrel officials in exchange for $500,000. (I know, digital pictures, unlike film negatives, can be duplicated in a microsecond, so the value in a swap is nil.)
For its part, CBRL Group, which did all the right things to address the issue, down to shelving its vegetable soup, seemed glad to put the episode behind it.
Unfortunately, this is not out of the ordinary in the restaurant biz. McDonald's
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