I might count myself lucky, but somehow I didn't hear about Wendy's (NYSE:WEN) foray into finger food until this week. After having been tormented by the thought for a day or two, I just had to write about it. A while back, the idea that Wendy's will let them eat fruit and other healthy fare certainly wouldn't have prepared anyone for this kind of freak occurrence.

In case you were lucky enough not to hear about it (and I'm about to spoil that), last week a patron at Wendy's crumbled crackers on top of her chili, took a big bite, and spit out a fingertip, complete with manicured nail. She reacted just as most of us might.

Is anybody else reminded of that infamous scene in The Hitcher when C. Thomas Howell pulls a french fry out of the pack and the audience starts screaming (or wants to scream), "That's not a fry! That's a finger!" That moment was disturbing in a suspense thriller -- and of course concocted for that very reason. And it's not really something anyone ever believes he or she will experience in real life. (OK, I might also be overestimating the number of people who have seen The Hitcher and consider the finger-in-the-french-fries scene a standout moment in modern cinema, but I digress.)

News agencies are still abuzz over the incident, considering the fact that Wendy's denies that the appendage belonged to any of its employees. Its suppliers deny any fingerless employees as well. Currently fingerprinting analysis is being performed to try to match the finger to its owner.

This is not exactly what Wendy's needed right now. Consider its flagging comps and bummers at Baja, even while rival McDonald's (NYSE:MCD) has kept cooking along -- a freakish scandal like this one doesn't fit well into the mix. It's not too hard to imagine the implications of associating Wendy's brand with such a nasty surprise. The outlandish story -- and although it may be true, it smacks of urban legend already -- is enough to turn the stomach. As emotional as this response may be, I can't say I feel too fired up to grab a quick bite at Wendy's at the moment.

For the time being, though, getting to the bottom of the incident -- pointing the finger of blame, so to speak -- certainly might help. On the other hand, on our Wendy's discussion board, some patrons have been of the opinion that this story will just blow over, much like those old mad cow disease fears did. True, both incidents bear the statistical certainty of being struck by lightning.

Regardless, it's a good time for Wendy's to produce more answers than questions. Knowing how or why it happened might help tone down the "gross" factor and help Wendy's clear its name.

Is there something bugging you about Wendy's, but you just can't put your finger on it? Talk to other Fools on the Wendy's discussion board.

Alyce Lomax does not own shares of any of the companies mentioned.