February 15, 2005

Popcorn Disaster Update

I spoke to the Orville Reddenbacher people about the Kettle Korn disaster. They were very nice and are "considering" replacing my microwave.

They are sending me a pre-paid mailer so I can send them the box, the popcorn meteor and pictures of the microwave and then they'll decide if they want to replace it or not. But I'm not so sure I want to send them the actual meteor.

Should I?

The comment board is NOW CLOSED.

(And on a food company sidenote, I have notified the Terra Chip people of our dramatic findings. Still waiting to hear back.)

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Posted by Steven | Archive

I say send it to them. I once found an actual cement pebble in a can of beans I opened. Luckily I noticed it before actually biting into it and cracking a tooth. Anyhow, I contacted the company and they sent me a big padded envelope to send them back the pebble and the top of the can with the codes stamped on it. I ended up getting a load of coupons from them in the end.

So I say definately send it to them. Can't hurt.

Posted by: melissa at February 15, 2005 09:03 AM

You have pictures to remember it by; I say go ahead. (A popcorn-ball meteor! The worst kind!)

Posted by: Rachel at February 15, 2005 09:25 AM

I'm suprised you still have the meteor. Where are you storing it? Does is serve a previously unfulfilled purpose in your life? How big is it? Have you given it a name yet?

Send it.

Posted by: T at February 15, 2005 09:35 AM

Hmmm...depends on how seriously you want to pursue.

I had a bad experience with a piece of sharp metal in some packaged food. The company was acting kind of suspicious and I just wanted them to pay my medical bills. Not the suing-type, but consulted an attorney and he said not to send them anything - not the package, metal or anything else...just copies of it all, because once the "evidence" was in their hands, it would all be harder to prove.

Fortunately, no one (besides your poor microwave) was hurt in your situation, but you KNOW this has to have happened before. At minimum, they could replace your microwave. Totally pisses me off when a gigantically profitable company won't do the right, inexpensive thing by a loyal customer. Not like you are asking for thousands; this seems like a pretty simple fix. In exchange, though, they may ask you to remove your story and any references from your site.

Good luck!

Posted by: From experience at February 15, 2005 09:37 AM

Get as much free crap from companies as you can and save the letters.

While I was an undergrad reading the Iliad, I wrote to Colgate-Palmolive and asked if their dish soap was named for Ajax of Locris or Ajax of Salamis. They wrote back and said they scoured their archives and could not find the answer. They also blessed me with a coupon for a free bottle of their largest size Ajax dish soap.

Please post the letter you get with your free stuff.

Posted by: LazyMF at February 15, 2005 09:47 AM

Interesting dilema you have there steve...If you return the meteor, you have no proof of it actually existing other than some "suspect" photograghs. If you keep it, the company will probably not replace the "defective" microwave that started this whole mess in the first place. Maybe you could sell both the meteor and microwave on EBay and get something nice for yourself (or your wife..wait..no..nevermind). Whatever you decide to do, you'll always have the fresh smell of nuclear popcorn embedded in your kitchen to remind you

Posted by: tim at February 15, 2005 09:52 AM

Hold the meteor hostage, and ask for TWO microwaves. If they want their precious meteor so badly, let them prove it.

Posted by: jesse at February 15, 2005 10:00 AM

My step-mother always writes letters when she has a bad experience somewhere or with something. Once we got some bacon that wasn't very good, it tasted like it needed salt! Salt of all things, on bacon! So she wrote a letter and they gave her coupons for free bacon, several pounds at that. Another time we went to Chili's (we were on the road) and they didn't have any of their trademark "Babyback Ribs" (barbeque sauuuuuce), my little sister is a rib fiend. Well she wrote in and got $50 in gift certificates. It pays to bitch my friends!

Posted by: Scott at February 15, 2005 10:03 AM

The answer is simple: Cut the microwave and meteor in two.

Posted by: steven at February 15, 2005 10:07 AM

Don't send them the meteor until they give you your money back; you paid for it, it may be worth something ;-)

Posted by: Joseph Lindsay at February 15, 2005 10:07 AM

I say don't. Just send them the pictures. If they have the evidence, they could refuse to give you a new microwave.

Posted by: Melina :D at February 15, 2005 10:09 AM

Well, other than sending them the meteor, what are you going to do with it? Encase it in clear epoxy to make a coffee table?

Posted by: richard at February 15, 2005 10:12 AM

Well, I was thinking of holding it hostage until I got the new microwave. But a coffee table sounds nice.

Posted by: Steve at February 15, 2005 10:16 AM

Send them the meteor corn. You've really got nothing more to lose here, right? The microwave is already dead, and you were denied the popcorn. Let them do an autopsy on the thing. If they can prevent another sweet buttery tragedy from taking the lives of more innocent home appliances... well let's just say I think the good lord will look kindly on your deed.

Posted by: Drew at February 15, 2005 10:20 AM

take lots of high res photos and cut off a small portion of the meteor. send the small sample and the photos.

tell them they are welcome to visit if they want to see the real deal (suggest to them that you're storing the original with your lawyer.)

Posted by: optimus at February 15, 2005 10:26 AM

I agree with steven (although the way he phrased it is a bit too King Solomon-esque for my taste). Send them half the meteor. They have their proof, you have yours. And if you wrap it in today's newspaper, you'll even seem like a scary kidnapper, which should get their attention.

As a bonus, you'll get to see what's on the inside.

Posted by: Kevin at February 15, 2005 10:41 AM

I think this might be a made-up story. I don't believe a microwave could turn a bag of popcorn into charcoal in only 2 minutes and 45 seconds. In the unlikely event that that happened, it would more likely mean something is wrong with the microwave, not the popcorn. But Steve does not mention the microwave doing this to any other food item, so apparently nothing is wrong with the microwave.

I call bullshit.

Posted by: david at February 15, 2005 10:57 AM

I once found a large piece of plastic bag inside a "Wonderbar". Basically, this Wonderbar was a plastic bag covered in chocolate.

I sent it to them without them asking.

They sent back a $50 certificate for anything from them or their parent company and a letter.

They said they had a lab test it for hygene, and it was sterile. It turned out to be the top off a 50lb sack of molasses (sp?). They cut the bags (a plastic sack inside a paper sack) and pour the mollases into a machine. Apparently the top of the plastic bag fell into the mixer. They changed their process so it wouldn't happen again (so they said).

Posted by: Frac at February 15, 2005 11:07 AM

David, the story is real. Why would I even bother to make it up? Do you think if you simply overcooked a bag of popcorn it would explode brown liquid all over the microwave? Whatever it is they put in there to make it Kettle Korn congealed over time and formed a tight little brick of kernels that could not pop freely. It very quickly turned into a smoldering rectangle of carbon.

Posted by: Steve at February 15, 2005 11:08 AM

Slice thy popcorn meteor in segments, saving some for yourself and future generations (would make a great campfire story), some for "The Man", and some for your local university/college's physics department. Like I said in my earlier email to you, donate it to science!
Perhaps you need to go a little further with this experience, Steve - indeed, your 'popteor' may deserve it's own separate space on the web, where other victims of spleand's wrath can post their narratives and photos.

Posted by: Marissa at February 15, 2005 11:15 AM

Um, 'spleand's' is supposed to be 'splenda's' - oops.

Posted by: Marissa at February 15, 2005 11:16 AM

I like the idea of cutting it in half... Considering I'm a scientician with an analytical mind and all, I'd like to see what's inside. Is it a gooey mass harboring intelligent life? Or just an inanimate carbon rod? I need to know dammit! Besides, it looks like you'd need a hacksaw to get inside... what's the texture? Soft, crunchy, or firm like fake boobies? THE WORLD NEEDS TO KNOW!

Posted by: Gigantor at February 15, 2005 11:16 AM

King Solomon and "Optimus" have the right idea. Send them pictures and a small portion of the meteor, suggest in your letter that "legal counsel has advised" you to keep the remainder, and see what they do. If you sent them the entire meteor, the threat of litigation goes kaput since you no longer hold the evidence. Then they'd send you a bunch of coupons to shut you up - if you want more than that, give them the impression you're serious.

Posted by: dorie99 at February 15, 2005 11:18 AM


Maybe break it in half?

Posted by: Sarah at February 15, 2005 11:21 AM

Yeah, DEFINITELY tell them that they should come to see/examine your destroyed microwave and the mutant brick. Getting lawyers involved, however imaginary, is great leverage.

Posted by: pop-a-licious at February 15, 2005 11:28 AM

I also agree that you should send in just a portion of the popcorn-meteor, along with pictures of the whole thing. I had to do the same thing recently with a box of diapers that gave my baby a hellacious rash. They at least sent me coupons for new diapers. (Great, a whole BOX of diaper rash.)

I also think that david might well be an employee of Orville Reddenbacher, sent to The Sneeze in an attempt to sow the seeds of doubt among the Sneeze-loving populace and make you look like a fraud should any actual lawsuit arise.

Posted by: nosleep3 at February 15, 2005 11:34 AM

I don't want any lawsuits. But their product did ruin my microwave. I think a replacement is fair.

Posted by: Steve at February 15, 2005 11:38 AM

I should clarify that I know nothing whatsoever about microwaves or popcorn, so nobody should take my opinion even remotely seriously -- especially not the folks at Orville Reddenbacher. However, in case anybody cares: the story still seems implausible to me.

Posted by: david at February 15, 2005 11:49 AM

I vote for sending it. When I was 12, I found a pillbug in my nestle alpine white chocolate bar. I sent the bar (I only got about 2 bites in before i saw the bug - which would have been consumed had it been a milk or dark chocolate bar) and a note (which included the fact that i wouldn't have noticed it in a milk/dark bar) and nestle promptly sent me $20 worth of free candy vouchers.

Consumer product manufacturers have a whole stash of hush swag to give out, so you might as well take advantage.

Posted by: jennifer r. at February 15, 2005 12:22 PM

once my friends mom was eating a candy bar and there was a a giant fly in it, it was really gross, so she wrote the company to give them a heads up about the fly situation, and all they did was send her a coupon for a free candy bar, which was really lame because the last thing she wanted to do was eat another one of those candy bars.

As for your microwave situation, is your first one broken or just dirty from the devil kettel korn? if its not broken and they do end up replacing it, then you will have two microwaves and you can put the old one in the garage near your work bench (assuming you have a work bench) then when your buddy's come over you could be like "would you like some pop-corn? or perhaps a hot pocket or mini pizza bagles?" basically whatever you would want to make in the microwave. It could be cool, think about it. Or you could sell your old one on ebay, its your choice

Posted by: Mallory at February 15, 2005 12:24 PM

Yes, send them half. As for the half you keep...


Posted by: Eric at February 15, 2005 12:38 PM

Steve, I think this is a prime choice for an upcoming "Steve Don't Eat It."

If you did eat some of it and something bad happened to you, it's not your fault, right? Orville Reddenbacher said it's popcorn, therefore they should be held responsible for any consequences that come from eating it.

Even so, keep your wife nearby while you taste it...with maybe 911 saved on the speed dial...just in case....

Posted by: HeatherB at February 15, 2005 12:40 PM

I don't see how you can send it. Won't it break apart in the mail? I'm sure you don't want to use Earth unfriendly packing peanuts, so you'll have to use popcorn. And just how are you going to pop that? In a pan? What is this, the 1800s? Plus, if you put non burnt popcorn in the envelope they won't know how to differentiate that kind from the burnt stuff and they might say, well some of it was edible, so why are you complaining? They are 10 steps ahead of you.

Posted by: Jodi at February 15, 2005 01:37 PM

My step mom once found a mouse in a bottle of 7-Up. Must have gotten in there during the bottling process because the bottle showed no tampering and - other than the dead mouse flavor - tasted pretty good.

Posted by: Gary at February 15, 2005 01:38 PM

I have to agree with "From Experience" because they could keep it and then not give you a new microwave... but then again they may really need the physical evidence to be able to give you a microwave... I don't know... this is a tough one Steve

Posted by: Austin at February 15, 2005 01:42 PM

Sure, send it to them. But take really good, well detailed pics of it, just in case. You know how these Corporate types can get...by the way, popcorn made on top of the stove tastes better, try making it with peanut oil, it is the best! GOOD LUCK!

Posted by: LL Locke at February 15, 2005 01:48 PM


As a new parent, I came accross your site recently to give me hope in the world. I have since been hooked on the goings on in your life.

I do however, feel you have made a mistake in publicising the whole meteor situation. All this has done is made you a target of the shadow figures controlling the snack food underworld. I fear for you and your family.

As a result, I offer my advice on this somewhat dramatic situation. In order to avoid certain death at the hands of the henchmen of Eville Reddenbacher, you must immediately place the meteor in escrow with a neutral but trusted third party. I would suggest contacting the Swiss Government as they are well known for their neutrality and have lots of very secret underground vaults, probably guarded by heavily armed minions of the netherworld. Failing that, maybe a neighbourly little old lady could hide the meteor under her bed for a while?

From there, you should contact the FBI or Secret Service and have them arrange to transport you, via a helicopter guarded byblack-ops trained military to a public meeting place where you and Eville can discuss the settlement of this matter, ensuring you remain unharmed and receive your microwave.

Only then should you request that your trusted third party (netherworld minion or little old lady) release the meteor to the Snack Food giant.

Finally.... witness protection. Its your only hope, mate.

Good luck, we're all praying for your survival.

Posted by: Ben at February 15, 2005 02:01 PM

One word. Blackmail. Is that racist?

Posted by: bryan at February 15, 2005 02:14 PM

You should make another popcorn meteor, if possible, then you could keep one and send the company the other

Posted by: Dan at February 15, 2005 02:21 PM

I told steve to contact redenbacher for a new microwave for the hopes of microwave replacement reimbursment.

I had some friends once who put in a pop tart, as they have done thousands of times before. Instead of a hot tasty pastry treat they got a kitchen fire. The toaster was shooting 2 foot flames out of the slots. Scorched the cabinets, snoked up the whole house with the smell of Cajun Rasberry and pastry dough.

Turns out this batch was a little too sugary or something, as well as "too curved" getting it too close to the heating elements. The compnay paid for a new toaster and for any damages to the kitchen and a crapload of coupons.

I say unless you are battleing Superman, send the meteor. AFTER, of course, taking a shitload of pictures and possibly a core sample or doing a slicing off a hunk for posperity. They probabaly need/want the whole thigns though.

No one got hurt, there's nothing worth suing over (microwaves are $100) so sending it to them is harmelss. If they fuck with ya, go to your local tv news and say how killer popcorn attacked you at home. The media being desperate for anything with "Killer" in it will eat that up, call the compnay ins some "on your side" type segment and wreak your $100 of retribution in entertainment and local grocery aisle fame.

Oh the power.

Posted by: jen at February 15, 2005 02:21 PM

I'm with you, Jen. And if they steal my meteor, think of all the fun ranting I get to do on The Sneeze. :)

Posted by: Steve at February 15, 2005 02:23 PM

I think I know why your kitchen smelled two days later...

Posted by: buk at February 15, 2005 02:31 PM

yeah, I second the motion to send off the meteor, because either way you can't lose - new microwave or fantastic conspiracy fodder.

Posted by: Dusty at February 15, 2005 02:31 PM

Keep it, and threaten with a fake lawyer. If they insist, cut 'em off a piece to send for proof, like a kidnapper might send a little finger or something.

If your microwave is just grimy and smelly, but still works, boil a bowl of vinegar in it and let it cool completely. Should help remove the smell; Good Housekeeping says so.

Posted by: butterstar at February 15, 2005 02:40 PM


I think that using it for STEVE DONT EAT IT would be glorious, but it would likely make you throw up for about 4 days.....

or you could go to your local jeweler and tell him it's a very rare, large, uncut diamond....

you could make trillions and be famous....

or the Coffee table works too.....

TAKE PICS!!! Lots of PICS!!!!,

and if you do persue them, let us know step by step how it goes ;)

Posted by: Jesus at February 15, 2005 02:46 PM

When I initially read about the disaster, I thought the charred popcorn block would be a good candidate for "Steve, Don't Eat It!" Throw caution to the wind, eat the popcorn block. If you get sick, you can litigate and maybe meet Orville himself in a courtroom.

We should get voting to see what's next in the "Steve, Don't Eat It!" series.

Posted by: Jakeums at February 15, 2005 02:58 PM

I agree with Jake, Steve.

Eat it.

Sue them.

"Why make trillions, when we can Millions?"

"A trillion is More than a Million, Numbnuts..."

Yeah....Eat it...Get Sick....Sue them.....Make trillions and bring the devil kettle korn industry to its knees!

Posted by: Jesus at February 15, 2005 03:24 PM

Send it in! Send it in!

After you try eating a little bit of it.

Posted by: Knitter at February 15, 2005 03:48 PM




Posted by: meteor's bastard step-son at February 15, 2005 04:11 PM

Honest Advice. Break off a chunk of said meteor, how are evil popcorn people gonna know how large said brick of burnt corn is? Send them the majority of it while keeping the small part for yourself. If they call bulls**t on you contact a lawyer and produce the small sample you kept for yourself. Have it anylized (if affordable) and take them to small claims court. They will likely fold and buy you a new microwave rather than have their image sullied buy a man who has eaten 14 year old Urkel-o's .

Posted by: Jason at February 15, 2005 04:17 PM

yes, yes,

glorious that would be.

I still think claiming it as a rare outcropping of fabulously expensive and beautiful diamonds, and sell them to a jeweler for millions ;)

Posted by: Jesus at February 15, 2005 04:27 PM





Posted by: meteor's bastard step-son at February 15, 2005 04:30 PM

Jesus Christ, Settle down....
(there's irony in there)

But come on.

It's a lump of carbonized Popcorn....

Careful, I will use you as a writing utensil, spawn of Steve's Microwave's evil creation!

Posted by: Jesus at February 15, 2005 04:41 PM

I think you should take a sample and take it to an ambitious chemistry student at your local university.

Maybe they can help you figure out what it really is and then you can extort a new microwave out of Orville and the crew.

Posted by: James at February 15, 2005 04:47 PM

Hey, it's that scientician again... Steve, if you want, I can try to see if I can get a chem prof/student that I know at my school to run it through HPLC (High Performance Liquid Chromatography) in our organic chemistry lab... that might tell you what it is... Any word on the texture? Have you tried probing it?

Posted by: Gigantor at February 15, 2005 04:57 PM


I think he wants it in one piece!

evidence purposes...

Posted by: Jesus at February 15, 2005 05:07 PM


Yeah, you're probably right... but I really want to know what's inside... it might make for killer Steve, Don't Eat It! Or maybe a fun guest science experiment at cockeyed.com (which seems to be down right now.) Comon Steve! Poke it! I betcha won't do it... :p

Posted by: Gigantor at February 15, 2005 05:20 PM

He could take a core sample with a corer...
that would leave the hideous yet somewhat beautiful meteor in one peace....

Posted by: Jesus at February 15, 2005 06:23 PM

Fun fact- Traditional Japanese tea tastes like burned popcorn seeds. Sell the brick to Japan, they'll put it up in a shrine near the Love Temple in Kyoto and have old men drink water sanctified by the Brick to increase verility, probably.

It'll spawn a line of horrible monster movies, bizzare animated series, and horrible pornography involving tentacles and possibly robots, I'm not sure.

Posted by: Samwise at February 15, 2005 06:58 PM

I say send it in. They're paying for postage so at least they can't screw you out of even more. You might also want to send them a link to your site so they know how many other people know about it, and will avoid buying their products unless you get a new microwave.

10-12 years ago I was working in a bookstore and the manager put a potato in the microwave. It caught fire and spewed the foulest odor into the vents, which carried the smell throughout the store. The potato looked like a big piece of charcoal. I put it on a paper towel and carried it through the store, showing staff & customers why the whole place smelled so bad. People were crowding around me to get a glimpse of. So, you may decided NOT to send it to them and just take the meteor on tour.

Posted by: Liz at February 15, 2005 07:14 PM

"Throw caution to the wind, eat the popcorn block. If you get sick, you can litigate and maybe meet Orville himself in a courtroom."

I think after eating it, you'd be meeting Orville himself someplace *other* than a courtroom.

Posted by: Rob at February 15, 2005 07:25 PM

You've got pictures, so I'd say you can send it. Do they know about this website? If you simply send them a link, and make sure they see the comments, and if you tell them how many unique visitors you get a day, it'll take them about 1/2 a second to realize that if they don't do the right thing, there's well more than $100 in bad publicity for them just waiting to come out of your keyboard.

Gary's note about the mouse in the 7-Up reminded me of a similar incident I had about 12 years ago. I used to brew beer (no time now) and we had a party in which much of it was consumed, and the next morning, when pouring out the dregs, I discovered a dead and possibly mummified mouse at the bottom of one. I'd cleaned all the bottles before filling them, and even though they were dark bottles, I think I would have noticed the mouse when filling. But it was hard to imagine it got in the bottle overnight after the party, because it sure as hell didn't look fresh. No harm done, and no one got sick as far as we knew.

Still, thinking about it still makes me shiver.

Posted by: Snabby at February 15, 2005 08:01 PM

Maybe you should try this incident again. First make sure you have your new microwave at hand. And try it again just before you replace your old one to see if it does the same thing. If it does the next logical (though not wise) step would be to try it with your new microwave to see if it's the microwave's fault(in which case they would have no reason to reimburse you, this is why you need the new microwave at hand).

Posted by: raffy at February 15, 2005 08:13 PM

I recommend sending it in, but with a little something extra. Find some small doll's clothing or something and dress it up (if it's pliable you could mush it into human form), and include a little note asking them to make sure that they are "nice to little Jeffy, he's never been out of the house before." You could even glue on a little face or something.

Posted by: Acorn Harvester at February 15, 2005 08:44 PM

It's not even the kind of meteor containing the green carcinogenic-to-an-alien-race rocks! Send it to them.

Posted by: Guy Diddles at February 15, 2005 08:46 PM

This hearkens back to a particularly strange childhood memory of mine, way back when in the 80's. I'm pretty sure Starship were singing a tune on the radio, so it was either circa 1986-7 or just a figment of my imagination. I say figment, yes indeed, in that multiple alleged figments will soon be revealed in the story about to unfold. So anyways, it was the 80's and being a latch key kid, the removal of the day's family dinner meal from whereever it was being kept in order to combat decomposition, in this case the freezer, was the nadir of my day. Every day of the work week. Although this day was to be a little different.
And to top it off, by now Starship had given way to Berlin and the familiar sound of mom's wheels grinding to a halt in the driveway outside brought me to the giddy realization that I had totally blown off my one major task, which it was public knowledge that I expended more work units avoiding rather than performing.
And when I say avoid, I mean to not do. As this day it was also not done, and I carefreely resumed my studies of the low countries as part of my 4th grade geography regime.
Said studies were interrupted by the chow boss (mom) calling me into the kitchen, all the while pointing at the kitchen table atop which were, in no particular order, a tupperware container of frozen spaghetti (although previously cooked) accompanied by a similar container in which there was...
(yep you guessed it) - frozen strawberries.
We were not the dessert taking kind back then. Any two or more food items placed within earshot each other were obviously colluding for our simultaneous, concurrent consumption of them, and as the cook was very gently pointing out, not a viable combination of foodstuffs. But thanks for trying, kiddo.
My confusion was compounded only by the fact that I had gone to severe lengths to not open that freezer nor remove anything from it that day. The containers were starting to shed some rime ice, which to my trained remove-stuff-from-freezer eyes indicated a stay in room temperature for at least a period of not less than an hour. How could it be? I professed my innocense at this pitifully disguised attempt at malnourishment on a family level, but that put me in another quandry: I'd have to fess up to once again disregarding the one chore I was pulling in some serious bank for. (In those days a dollar would get you 4 yo-yos). But spaghetti and strawberries? I chose the latter. It was row your boat time.
I blamed everything on the Russians, the Libyans, the Iranians, and at one time the neighbor's dog was implicated only to be replaced by a much more plausible time travelling scenario.
Now, in no way should the subsequent discovery of a very large black neighborhood stray dog (I know what you were thinking, but it was not the neighbor's though!) lounging on my parent's bed impact the storyline here. Much in the same way nothing I have said today really pertains to your plight.

I say return it and demand they incorporate the delicious goodness of spaghetti/strawberry flavor into popcorn form. Oh, and get as much free stuff as you can.

Posted by: UncleBlue at February 15, 2005 09:03 PM

I bet you could raise enough money and then some if you ebayed the meteor.

/didn't read the comments yet

Posted by: George at February 15, 2005 10:24 PM

My vote lies with making ANOTHER carbon block and using that one for Don't Eat it, Steve. I mean, your microwave's already trashed, right? Plus, you'll have the second block to send in to the company. Maybe they'll send you coupons for Splenda packets....

Yes, Bryan, you're a racist bastard.

Posted by: Colin's hot sister at February 15, 2005 11:03 PM

'Just read all the comments and now I'm too afraid to eat ever again.

I also find it slightly amusing that david (or anyone for that matter) would think Steve of the Sneeze would lie about something so silly. The man eats potted meat and documents the growth of tree brains. Why would he lie about burning popcorn??

Posted by: Val at February 15, 2005 11:13 PM

ooh! i often find strands of hair in my noodles, and once i almost bit into a bug while chewing on a bun. bah!
i say send it in, and keep a little portion of the meteor for yourself. =D for remembrance, even if not as evidence. HAHAHA!

Posted by: mies* at February 16, 2005 05:04 AM

That's a tough call Steve. You could go to a hobby shop and buy one of those display cases made for football helmet, and disply it with a little halogen light beaming at it. (The meteor, that is.) Of course, then you would have to bite the microwave thing. Tough call. Would be kind of cool to start a Steve's World of the Bizarre. Could be your first exhibit.

Posted by: Strode at February 16, 2005 05:15 AM

Yeah, definitely keep a bit of the meteor and send the rest. Can you even cut/break it or has it deformed into un unbreakable rock-like popcorn meteor?

Posted by: Yair at February 16, 2005 05:16 AM

I agree with Jen. If the photos aren't enough for Orville, taking it to a trouble shooter on your local news might be really effective in this situation. Especially since you're really only looking to replace the microwave.

Still irritating that you're making a reasonable and inexpensive request and they aren't jumping at the chance to resolve this simply and quickly.

The company I dealt with wasn't willing to resolve it simply, either, which is why I sued them. I typically don't believe in suing, but I couldn't afford the mounting medical bills. My lawyer wanted to sue for LOTS of money, but I insisted on a smaller amount to cover the current expenses and "worse-case-scenario" future medical expenses.

I am just glad that this didn't start a fire! Company's need to just take responsibility for when they mess up.

Posted by: From experience at February 16, 2005 06:48 AM

I say that you should use a blow torch to superimpose the image of the Virgin Mary on the carbon brick, then claim that it's a miracle and list it on e-bay. This should be good for at least $10,000 following current trends. I mean this has to be worth way more than the 14 year old grilled cheese with the image of Mary burned into it right?

So don't send it to Orville, make some fat cash instead!

Posted by: Tricia at February 16, 2005 08:02 AM

Send half of it, if you really are that attached to a charred block of focilized popcorn. If you aren't that enamoured with it, send it.

Posted by: Pmacca01 at February 16, 2005 08:04 AM

I agree fully with Acorn Harvester. The crazier the company thinks you are, the more likely they will pay to make it go away...quickly. As I'm sure UncleBlue has had experience with in the past.

Posted by: Dicker at February 16, 2005 08:19 AM

I think you should attempt in recreating the meteor of unpopped corn and if you manage to create a second charred ball, send the new one in. Otherwise, keep the pretty jewel as a token of remeberence of that terrific experience. Either way, you'll end up with a beautiful, black ball of carbonized popping corn, and quite a great conversation piece when you have freinds over. Imagine telling the story of how you almost died when your popcorn Somehow combusted, inside The Microwave OF DOOM. (i think thats a very fitting name for this death chamber you call a microwave.)

Posted by: OEE at February 16, 2005 08:28 AM

I say, create an exact replica of said meteor made of papier-mâché. Then put the two side by side and switch them around a bunch of times, a la "three card monty." Then choose the one you think is the original and send that to them. Neither of you will be the wiser and your dilemma will be solved. Either that, or just crap in the envelope and send them that. It's a tough call.

Posted by: chocky at February 16, 2005 08:39 AM

It could just as easily be a problem with your microwave as with the popcorn.......but yeah, send it to them.

Posted by: gabrielle at February 16, 2005 08:50 AM

Steve, I should have chimed in sooner for people who doubt your story is true.

My girlfriend and I wanted to nuke some popcorn the other week to go with, I believe, the inane movie Peter Pan (don't ask). My girlfriend was faithfully listening for the pops to slow down and got distracted somehow, perhaps by something shiny. In less than 3 minutes flames were shooting out of my dinky little microwave and thick disgusting smoke was billowing everywhere. There's was some sticky goo on the inside of the microwave, but not nearly as much as you described. Our lump of charcoal however looks exactly like yours. Since I don't have a zine or blog I simply tossed the lump. If you get tons of free popcorn, would you send me some too?

Posted by: Otto at February 16, 2005 08:50 AM

By the way, we did try several of the cleaning methods we found online - like microwaving lemons and water and baking soda and vinegar and whatever -- but it still smells terrible.

The problem is the sticky brown smoky sludge made its way into the innards of the microwave where it can't be cleaned. (It's even oozing out of the back of the microwave -- SEXY!) So whenever you turn it on, it still smells like smoke and makes the food taste like smoke - no matter how much it has been cleaned.

It's all pretty nasty.

Posted by: Steve at February 16, 2005 09:15 AM

Sell the meteor on E-Bay... it's much more interesting than a Jesus Brick.
You'll make enough to build an igloo out of microwaves, and have eskimo sex with your wife.
Focus on the sex with your wife part, Steve... the picture doesn't show J. Lo's vagina, really... just some Lo labia.
... your wife can probably help clarify...

Posted by: Pirate Jack at February 16, 2005 09:23 AM

Definitely send them the meteor. I would challenge them to cook up one of their own bags of popcorn and see if they take the bait.

Posted by: OOSH OOSH! at February 16, 2005 11:40 AM

Tough call. I think I must agree with those others before me: lop off a piece of the meteor to send, and memorialize what's left in a kitchen shrine honoring your microwave's great sacrifice in the battle against poorly-packaged sugared popcorn.

Or maybe you could just eat it. That would be quite the experience. However, you might want to procure some opinions from a professional before ingesting such a thing.

Posted by: Blig at February 16, 2005 12:18 PM

Microwave of Doom!
Microwave of Doom!

Steve, have you tried letting it air out in the sun for awhile?...Sunshine can cure a whole lotta things...Considering all the methods you have already tried, it that doesn't work, sounds like the poor old thing is toast...sorry, couldn't resist....

Posted by: LL Locke at February 16, 2005 12:26 PM

Just eat it. You know you want to. Don't fight it Steve. Don't fight it.

Posted by: Jen at February 16, 2005 12:40 PM

I think you should save it and then down the road you can use it to tell your children you got it in your stocking from Santa. Maybe they will be better behaved.

Really it comes between either having obedient children or a new microwave that you will have to replace eventually anyway.

Posted by: the entire state of washington at February 16, 2005 12:47 PM

Send it to them (after taking high-res pics). You could help prevent serious fires.

If they're willing to buy you a new microwave, my guess is that this has happened before. Maybe you ought to contact Consumer Reports, Geraldo Rivera, or NASA.

Posted by: Mac at February 16, 2005 12:49 PM

So when you say the 'wave is "ruined," is it ruined because it won't work at all, or because it's just all sticky inside? If it still works, then you hafta try to make some more meteors. Now that I think of it, you could make hundreds of them, and then build something out of them! Conceptual artists will be pissing their pants with envy. "Take that, Christo, you worthless ass!"

Posted by: Jay Nickola at February 16, 2005 01:00 PM

I don't think litigation or threatening it is necessary. That's just nonsense. Send them the damned charcoal briquette, get your new microwave, and some coupons, and remember it as a fun story to tell your friends.

Posted by: Justin at February 16, 2005 02:09 PM

Send the meteor... sprinkled generously with Anthrax.

Posted by: Ricky Smith at February 16, 2005 02:16 PM

I don't recommend eating it. Eating char can't be good.

Posted by: Sam at February 16, 2005 02:40 PM

(Irony once again)

But yeah.. If the darned 'wave still works, set it up in your backyard or garage, heaven forbid, and make multiple meteors of popcorn.

You could make millions that way, selling the rights to artists to do "Meteor Popcorn Paintings".

It would be glorious, and you could split the royalties with all faithful readers of The Sneeze.

(electronic cheque works fine for me,
Just send it to my offshore bank.)

Posted by: Jesus at February 16, 2005 02:43 PM

I say send them half - if at all possible. Then you still have half for yourself and they've got what they wanted.
And everyone lives happily ever after.

Posted by: Jen at February 16, 2005 03:44 PM

I think you should eat it.... theres no way around it someones going to eat it eventually (dont ask about my logic on that one) sence is yours you should be the one to eat it and hey it would make a great story

Posted by: someone at February 16, 2005 03:52 PM

Steve, I've got it! Send half to them, keep half and sell half on Ebay and if you have any left over, you could use it as a bulky writing utensil to work on math equations.
As for the burnt microwave... clean it with a scewdriver and a large hammer. There's a few cool things inside a 'wave. Can you say, "Large magnet fun"?

By the way, Orville is DEAD. He too is becoming a block of carbon as we speak.

Posted by: Ingleburt Humpyoursister at February 16, 2005 03:55 PM

The one thing you have negelcted to realize is that you now are in possession of a comedy holy grail. You have a useless, yet functional microwave in which you can now blow up EVERYTHING that you've ever dreamed of (and you know you have) putting in a microwave. Just run an extension cord into the backyard with it, and go to town. Some of the highest entertainment value will come from a bar of soap (which gets huge), a dozen eggs (kinda like smelly fireworks), and you'll never see a bigger smile from your son then when you put in a whole package of Peeps and they puff up to 10 times their original size just before catching fire. Just my 2 cents for what could be a great future article.

Posted by: Captain Rancor at February 16, 2005 04:09 PM


Have you tried a geiger counter on your meteor yet?


On the other hand, this could be the result of genetically modified corn.

Posted by: pop-a-licious at February 16, 2005 04:12 PM

I say you feature the meteor on the next edition of "Steve, Don't Eat It!" You can't tell me that thought hasn't crossed your mind yet. This way, when you become violtenly ill from the product you can send those pictures to the Oriville people too, how can they deny you the bounty of a new microwave? They can't, that's how.

Posted by: MissEgyptology at February 16, 2005 04:25 PM

Maybe you should ask the meteor how it feels about this situation.

Posted by: Colin's hot sister at February 16, 2005 04:49 PM

recently i cracked open an egg & found an abomination hidden inside... i e-mailed a picture to the company & they are sending me a bunch of coupons for free eggs. mmm, like i can eat them now. here's a link to a pic, if you want to hate eggs too...

Posted by: anne... at February 16, 2005 05:16 PM


Is that the Eraserhead fetus?

That's sick.

Posted by: Val at February 16, 2005 05:23 PM

Send it off...it may wind up in the Smithsonian some day.

Posted by: David Adams at February 16, 2005 05:42 PM

Yes, Orville is indeed dead, and as usual Steve, you've gotten much more mileage out of the inane than i ever thought possible.

But what i REALLY wanted to mention was how funny I found the fact that the sneeze "sidebar" contains the words "J. Lo's vagina" and "Steve don't eat it" in such very close proximity. Maybe you could write a post containing both, and at the end you could write how it was all just a dream sequence? Or perhaps put in a call to Mr. J. Lo (Julio? Enrique?) and have him write it on a freelance basis.

Posted by: felix at February 16, 2005 05:49 PM

Ask the Meteor....
Probe the Meteor...

Eat the Meteor.....

Probe the 'Wave....
....make things get really big and catch fire....
it will be glorious.

When that gets boring, take the giant freakin' magnet, go to a whiteboard (dry erase), and THROW IT!

the mag will likely crack, and you will have whiteboard shards!

Posted by: Jesus at February 16, 2005 05:52 PM

Having worked for a trade association for food manufacturing in the past, claims are very common and you probably have a good case for some kind of compensation (no telling what though). You should go through with it just so that they can determine what went wrong and hopefully prevent it from happening again to someone with a less-developed sense of humor.

Posted by: Moira at February 16, 2005 06:05 PM

well where's the fun in that?

no sense of humor?

Posted by: Jesus at February 16, 2005 06:17 PM

I mean seriously,

if major corps take out any possibilities, only the beautiful people such as movie stars will be able to be famous.....

possibly a pornstar...

Posted by: Jesus at February 16, 2005 06:23 PM

Am I the only one that read your story and immediately thought of the movie "Time Bandits"?

"Don't touch it! It's evil!"
[parents touch it and explode]

... I am the only one? Oh, well then, never mind.

Posted by: Matt at February 16, 2005 06:31 PM


imagine that eraserhead fetus staring up at you from a frying pan, when all you expected to see was dinner. i'm still recovering!


Posted by: anne... at February 16, 2005 07:50 PM

I bit into a ding-dong once expecting to be greeted by the sweet cream filling and instead nearly chipped a tooth on a 1 inch thick round plastic disc. I still have no idea why it was there or where it came from.

Posted by: Charlotte at February 16, 2005 08:34 PM

...dammit... I read the entire thread. that's 10 minutes and change of my life I will never get back!!


Posted by: The Macross at February 16, 2005 11:05 PM

Hello?!! Ebay that sucka!

Posted by: Dan at February 17, 2005 06:02 AM

Send it back to them, but put some creative toppings on it like the "Build a Hot Dog" activity. I bet they'll like it so much they'll send you a new microwave along with a complimentary jar of Dolores brand Pickled Pork Lips!

Posted by: Darren at February 17, 2005 07:53 AM

Wow, 115 (and counting) comments on burned popcorn. I should get into this blogging stuff, popcorn gets burned by my 11 year old all the time. Just think of the fame I'm losing out on!!

Posted by: hcmom at February 17, 2005 12:00 PM

That egg thing was just really really gross...how on earth did that happen?

I know that sometimes when removing tumors from a uterus, doctors sometimes find hair, teeth, fat, etc. inside of it, because the thing obviously thought it was time to start creating another person.

Perhaps this chicken thought the same?

Posted by: remy at February 17, 2005 01:33 PM

You should keep some of the meteor, just in case you send everything back and then they say "What meteor? Do you have any evidence of the meteor?"

Don't forget - popcorn purveyors are unscrupulous.

Posted by: Heath at February 17, 2005 02:18 PM

Keep it, or auction it on EBAY perferable... i'd kill for that thing.

Posted by: Zach (Puck) Lewis at February 17, 2005 03:02 PM

Isn't Mother's Day coming up? I can't think of a nicer gift to accompany a homemade macaroni card....

Posted by: Colin's hot sister at February 17, 2005 03:56 PM

Mother's Day isn't for a while, but i am sure she'd love a gigantic meteor....

Posted by: Jesus at February 17, 2005 06:28 PM

why not just send them a sample of said meteor?

the only conceivable reason they'd want the meteor is to determine the anomolous agent of electromagnetic disturbance.

they certainly shouldn't need the whole thing--especially if the meteor appears to have a homogenous composition. in any case, a random sample should do the trick.

if on the other hand they simply wish to destroy the evidence (and perhaps you, too), then there is no need to honor such a request.

updates please

Posted by: gulteman voodetung at February 18, 2005 07:06 AM

You could knock off a piece of the meteor and keep that for your own "records," then send the rest to the company. That way, you both get a piece of the action.

Posted by: Korean Celt at February 18, 2005 09:47 AM

Why don't you send in the meteor, but enclose a note saying that you'd like it back? If the company is nice enough to send you a new microwave, they'll probably be nice enough to give you back your charred popcorn memorabilia.

Posted by: Drew at February 18, 2005 09:48 AM

Now that I think of it, don't eat it! I think the charcoal brick is a visitor for the tree brain. I can't tell you if they are talking yet.

The visitor may be waiting for you to put it near the tree brain for a little "vulcan mind-meld" It may even need you to act as an intermediary.

I say you put them near each other and see what happens.

It may also be possible that your transpor-um, I mean, microwave incinerated the visitor and you need to beam him back to reverse the process. I say, if you see no activity in a day or so of being near the brain, try and send your visitor back from where it came. Put it in the microwave for another solid 3 minutes.

Posted by: Jakeums at February 18, 2005 03:46 PM

I agree with the send it in folks. But I wouldn't threaten a lawsuit or lawyer. That escalates things quickly on their end and they will probably be even less likely to be nice about the entire thing. I'd just keep a portion of the carbon hunk and mail the rest in with an explanation. I'd also send in pictures of the microwave and just ask for re-imbursement for a new microwave.

And this definitely is plausible. My brother once stuck a bag of regular old buttered popcorn in the microwave and it turned into a charcoal hunk in about 2 minutes. It took about a month of airing out and some serious scrubbing but the stench finally went away.

Posted by: Grove Diesel at February 18, 2005 05:06 PM

I had a thorn in my Boysenberry yogurt once. Lucky me, I didn't have to pass it. I detected it before anything bad happened. So, they gave me some coupons for free cereal. I got like $20 worth of cereal from the bastards.

I'm betting that the materials used in the cooking "container" were faulty, and caught fire. Most of these microwave popcorn contraptions have some sort of foil in them that concentrates the microwaves. You know, that part on the bottom of the bag that gets hotter than satan's anus?

Posted by: Dave at February 19, 2005 12:58 AM

A microwave only costs $100 and no one was injured. If you stop being nice and imply that you're going to go to the expense and trouble to contact a lawyer over it, then they'll just wait to get sued. They know you won't do it and no attorney would ever take the case unless they can find millions of people with smelly microwaves. Even if you did manage to sue, Big Popcorn would only stand to lose $100.

My company's products occasionally cause substantial problems. If people are nice, we check into it and pay them for legitimate losses. If they start off talking lawsuit, we wait, fight it out forever and they end up with much much less. After all, our lawyers get paid no matter what, so why not use them?

Keep the meteor and have fun with it. Analyze it, sing to it, spongepaint your bathroom with it, or send it to readers in far off places for photo sessions in an official capacity as The Sneeze's goodwill ambassador to the world.

$100 is a small price to pay for the entertainment value you can get out of the meteor, not to mention the bonus microwave of death. Shit, I'm ready to go out and buy a crappy microwave and some Peeps just to see them explode!

Posted by: Reed at February 19, 2005 11:00 AM

I'd say send part of it.

What I find unbelievable though, is that they expect you to have kept all this crap from the popcorn so that you'd be able to send it in.

That's probably how they get around doing anything for anybody... by saying that there's no proof - pictures could have been doctored.

Posted by: jafer at February 20, 2005 07:00 AM

man, after reading all the posts about the food mishaps, i've taken a liking to finding more crazy finds in food. No luck googling them so far...I think you should do an article and crazy things found in food not meant to be there...the flies and chunks of metal are a good start.

As for the great meteor debate, keeping a piece for prosperity sounds like the best solution. Unless the question was that you are somewhat attatched the the large piece of charcoal. You simply have to ask yourself: Do I really want a free microwave in excange for my 'other' son?

p.s - charcoal isn't that bad for you to eat, it whitens your teeth. A co-worker would often eat any burnt beyond recognition bagels for that effect.

Posted by: strange obsessions at February 20, 2005 11:20 AM

I thought eating char was linked to cancer. But then again, isn't everything?

Posted by: George at February 20, 2005 11:32 AM

My sis used to give charcoal biscuits to her dogs to reduce emissions. Seemed to work well, until they replanted the orchard and found hundreds of charcoal bikkies buried there.

Uses for a nearly ex microwave:
grape racing.....
label 4 large grapes with a marker, remove stalks to leave a hole at the base.
Place in the centre of a microwave turntable, power up, and take bets on which on jets to the edge,(or explodes), first

Posted by: mik at February 20, 2005 06:04 PM

I say you make good use of your nasty microwave and have some fun by nuking spoons and forks, maybe a few mice.

Posted by: Toob at February 20, 2005 07:10 PM

i once had the same thing happen to my microwave with Orville Reddenbacher popcorn. the paid for my new microwave.

Posted by: jessica at February 20, 2005 09:53 PM

I say keep the meteor and have some fun with it. Lawyers already make enough money and scientists can't even agree over global warming! Maybe your microwave wasn't up to the job, maybe the thing was only half baked when the microwave failed. I say lets see how far it can go!! I don't think there is a Guinness record for the 'number of microwaves broken by a single foodstuff' so lets see just how stubborn this lump is. And we want pictures!!



Strange Obsessions wrote: p.s - charcoal isn't that bad for you to eat, it whitens your teeth. A co-worker would often eat any burnt beyond recognition bagels for that effect.

Actually, it just appears to make your teeth whiter by making the rest of your mouth and surrounding areas, darker.

Posted by: Chaos at February 21, 2005 04:48 AM

Jeez, Steve . . . some of your readers are almost as funny as you are. It's scary. One thing is for sure: you MUST keep at least part of the brick now, for it has become a Sneeze Icon, and deserves, as one poster suggested, to be placed in a glass display case (and possibly authenticated). Reed's advice is very sensible -- play nice with the Orville folks and see what happens. I also favor the idea suggested by some that you make them aware of this site and the interest this has generated. Might make them more willing to do the right thing in the interest of good PR.

I would send them only a small piece of the brick, especially if it stinks (then you can tell them, "This is what my microwave smells like now"). A small sample should be all they need, to do lab tests, analyzing, whatever. You deserve to keep the rest of your souvenir. Don't eat it, enshrine it. Whatever you do, DON'T SELL IT! It's already paid off more in entertainment value than whatever you could get monetarily.

Posted by: Big Dog at February 21, 2005 11:29 AM

Well, I think you shouldsend it.
You have the oics and everything,

Posted by: Tom at February 22, 2005 01:44 PM

i have had a phobia about maggots for as long as i remember...imagine my delight when i bit into a granola bar that was laced with them...no holes in the package and no maggots in the other bars (i opened each on as i through them into the fire)
after a 3 recovery period in which i showered 12 times and puked 4 times (no joke) i wrote a letter to the company and got ..... you guessed it $25 in free granola bars!!!! yippie skippie like i would ever eat those again

Posted by: shylo at February 25, 2005 06:37 AM

*3 day recovery

Posted by: shylo at February 25, 2005 06:38 AM

Man, do a Steve, Don't Eat It!
It would be the 2nd best one yet.....right after Natto

Posted by: therat at February 26, 2005 02:59 PM

i agree with therat partly because i know him

Posted by: bitchet at February 26, 2005 05:57 PM

Sup Wil, I know u hate me for this haha

Posted by: bitchet at February 26, 2005 06:01 PM

Any news on the microwave?

Posted by: Dann at March 1, 2005 09:21 AM

couldn't get an email to you, it kept bouncing. Too bad. It was funny. Your website is funny. Not ha-ha funny, just funny. I like giraffes.
And screwdrivers;they fix stuff.

Posted by: jesse at March 1, 2005 11:57 PM


Holy freakin' crap man! I think this might be an epidemic. I have had two bags of kettle corn freak out in our microwave. Orville Reddinbacher (sp?) brand, crappy, sending sparks flying, melting the bag - popcorn. I have had two bags almost light on fire because they were pumping out sparks like there was a piece of metal or something in the bag. However, I have yet to get the brown crap on the side of the microwave.

Posted by: pkillur at March 4, 2005 03:45 PM
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