At the beginning of the just-finished season of sci-fi-themed adult cartoon show Rick & Morty, protagonist Rick ends an episode by explaining his life’s ambition (or more specifically, the season’s plotline) is to track down the Szechaun McNugget dipping sauce McDonald’s released for a limited time in 1998 as a tie-in with the Disney movie Mulan, set in China.
The punchline to the 30-second rant he goes on about the sauce is that there is no real purpose in life, and the sauce is just a stand-in for the philosophical absurdity of existential meaning; apparently some fans didn’t get the joke, and have actually made it their life’s ambitions to get their hands on some incredibly hard to find Szechuan dipping sauce.
The value of Szechuan McNugget sauce skyrocketed as a result, and McDonald’s, which had no formal affiliation with the show, decided to take advantage of the sauce’s new-found popularity by re-releasing it in limited quantities for a single day earlier this month.
On auction site eBay, the going rate for a one-ounce packet of the sauce seems to be at minimum $100, though there are offers for, for example, a half-gallon of the stuff going for $15,000. At least 20 people have bought a framed picture of the Szechuan sauce packet for $10 each.
Rachel Marie from Macomb, Michigan, one of the lucky few to actually get their hands on a packet, originally was hoping to trade hers for a pin collection, but when she got offered a Volkswagen GTI, she couldn’t turn it down.
No run-down beater, this Mk 4 hatchback comes fitted with custom rims and the more-desirable 1.8-liter turbo four-cylinder and five-speed manual. We think Marie may have come away ahead in this trade.
Throughout the 1990s, AOL distributed hundreds of thousands of promotional AOL floppy disks and CDs, offering hours of free service for new subscribers. The disks cost the company upwards of $300 million dollars over the years and at one point, caused all other CD production to be halted. The disks were highly criticized for their environmental impact and as early as October 1996, Usenet members were sharing ideas on how to destroy them. In 1997, computer software engineer Dave Dyer created a lit Christmas tree out of 66 AOL CDs. In August 2001, NoMoreAOLCDs.com launched, encouraging people to mail them their unwanted promo disks. Their initial goal was to gather 1 million of the disks and hand-deliver them back to AOL headquarters. By May 2003, they collected 179,245 disks. The project ceased on August 10th, 2007 after collecting 410,176 disks.
In 2002, Sparky Haufle launched AOLCollecting.com, both to show off his collection of AOL CDs as well as facilitating trades between other collectors. The following year, The AOL CD-ROM Museum was established, housing pictures of multiple people’s collections as well as separate exhibits highlighting the different types of disks issued. Well into 2005, collectors continued to share photos of their collections on forums.
The country is actually to close eight prisons because of a lack of criminals, the Dutch justice ministry has announced.
In a decade, the number of people imprisoned every year in The Netherlands fell from 50,650 in 2005 to 37,790 in 2015. And the rate of incarceration stands at 57 prisoners per 100,000 residents, compared with 458 in the United States.
The decrease is expected to continue, the ministry said, with Deputy justice minister Nebahat Albayrak saying that natural redundancy and other measures should counter any forced lay-offs.
The Criminal Justice Alliance, which represents more than 60 organisations, called for the government to urgently limit “the unnecessary use of prison, ensuring it is reserved for serious, persistent and violent offenders for whom no alternative sanction is appropriate”.
There are now only 38 prisons still in operation in The Netherlands, with 27 closed since 2014.
Six were sold for about 20.7 million euros ($23 million), while others have been rented out, often as centres for asylum seekers, bringing in a total of around 18 million euros