If this doesn't win me any points with Big Lebowski-heads, nothing will.

"I can get you a toe, believe me. There are ways. I can get you one by three o'clock this afternoon. With nail polish."

I'm not sure what those ways are, or whether the fictional Walter Sobchak's suppliers could get fingers just as easily, but I have to admit, that line was one of the first things that came to mind when I heard that a fast-food diner had alleged that a San Jose Wendy's (NYSE:WEN) gave her the finger. How on Earth could a fingertip accidentally end up in a bowl of chili? My first guess was that we were dealing with a scam.

Last week, it appeared that guess was right, when Wendy's announced that the woman involved was no longer represented by her original lawyer, was planning to drop her claim, and had a history of litigation. Today we get news that the Las Vegas resident (Vegas? Surely there are no scams in Vegas?) has been arrested. The police promise more details this afternoon.

When a similar situation involving a souped-up mouse-- which turned out to be a complete scam -- occurred at a restaurant owned by Cracker Barrel Group (NASDAQ:CBRL), I was both repulsed and amazed. Cracker Barrel's investigation rivaled anything you'd see on CSI. Among its important findings: the mouse was killed by blunt trauma, not drowning, and it was not cooked, meaning it certainly didn't spend much time in a hot soup warmer, ergo, it was planted.

I'll bet there are similarly detailed analyses being done on the Wendy's finger, although I don't expect we'll be treated to discussions of the object's degree of cooking, for obvious reasons. Authorities are now said to be trying to determine where the finger came from. Forgive me my own CSI hypothesis.

Finely manicured? I'm guessing that folks with nice manicures don't give up their fingers willingly -- unlike the character who donated the toe in the Big Lebowski. So, who's well-groomed but wouldn't report a missing fingertip? I don't want to be overly gruesome, but I'd be checking to see whether the suspect knows anyone who works at a mortuary.

As fascinating as this kind of pulp-fiction come to life can be, the bottom line is that corporations, and their employees and shareholders, have to shoulder the financial burden for this kind of scam. (McDonald's (NYSE:MCD) endured a similar attempted fraud last year, allegedly perpetrated by a law-enforcement officer.) Wendy's reports that sales in the San Jose area are down, necessitating layoffs.

So, while we're all enjoying the freak show, we need to remember that this is a chain that has worked hard to build a reputation for quality and cleanliness. While there may be valid questions about the stock's valuation on other accounts, the finger affair will blow over soon enough, and investors should judge the stock accordingly.

Seth Jayson is going to show Wendy's a little love, and head out for one of its big, juicy burgers. At the time of publication, he had no position in any firm mentioned. View his stock holdings and Fool profile here. Fool rules are here.