Nuggnuts (In which I disagree with Pam Spaulding)

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by Jeff Fecke | March 4, 2009 • The redoubtable Pam Spaulding today highlights a woman whose conduct is, she says, mind-boggling. A woman in Ft. Pierce, Florida called 911 because McDonald’s was out of McNuggets.

Jeff Fecke is a freelance writer who lives in Eagan, Minnesota.In addition to his own blog, Blog of the Moderate Left, he also contributes to Alas, a Blog, Minnesota Campaign Report, and AlterNet. Fecke has appeared as a guest on the “Today” show, the Alan Colmes radio show, and the Mark Heaney Show. Fecke is divorced, and the father of one really terrific daughter. His debut novel, The Valkyrie’s Tale, is now available.

Well that is mind-boggling, isn’t it? I mean, calling 911 because McDonald’s is out of McNuggets is crazy. What are the police supposed to do about it? Good for the cops for running the miscreant in, says I.

At least I would, if I hadn’t read the article:

Told McDonald’s was out of Chicken McNuggets after paying for a 10-piece meal, a local woman called 911.

Three times.

“This is an emergency, If I would have known they didn’t have McNuggets, I wouldn’t have given my money, and now she wants to give me a McDouble, but I don’t want one,” Latreasa L. Goodman told police. “This is an emergency.”

The McNugget meltdown happened last week at a McDonald’s in the 600 block of North U.S. 1 and ended with Goodman, 27, getting a notice to appear in court on a misuse of 911 charge, according to a recently released police report.

Goodman told investigators she tried to get a refund for the 10-piece McNuggets, but the cashier told her all sales are final.

“I called 911 because I couldn’t get a refund, and I wanted my McNuggets,” Goodman told police.

Now, that’s a different story entirely. Rather than a woman ordering McNuggets, being told they’re out, and calling the police in anger, we have a woman who ordered McNuggets, paid for McNuggets, was told that she would get no McNuggets, and when she asked for her money back, was told that she wouldn’t get that, either.

There’s a term for that: theft by swindle. And while calling 911 three times on a three dollar theft is probably overkill (the second and third times were to check on the cops), there seems to be little question here that McDonald’s was, in fact, engaged in a criminal act, and when one is confronted with a situation where one is being actively robbed, one usually calls the police.

I’m sorry, but I can’t work up any outrage at this woman. It seems to me she was wronged twice — once by McDonald’s, and once by the cops, who could have exercised the discretion to simply educate her about 911, rather than charging her with a crime. If 911 is so overtaxed that the reporting of crimes is hurting it, that’s a problem of funding, not a problem of people calling.

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