A Knife, a Walmart Birthday Cake and a Frenzy of Overreaction

Hi Readers — Over at CommonGood.org, I’ve got an essay about the family that found a paring knife at the bottom of the birthday cake they bought for their 2-year-old at Walmart. The teary-eyed father lamented, “We’re not going to get that second birthday back ever.”

Ohmigod–he’s right! How is anyone expected to recover from a blow like that? The family will NEVER get back a non-paring-knife-marred-cake-cutting-moment when their kid is two again! Naturally, that kind of thing is so unfair, so deeply disruptive to the natural order of things, that the dad said he may sue.

If you’re wondering what, for its part, Walmart did…I bet you can guess. Reminds me of what Applebee’s did after a waitress accidentally served a kid a cocktail instead of apple juice.  The m.o.? Wild overreaction, the touchstone of our age.

Once you look for it, overreaction is everywhere — in the Zero Tolerance stories of schools acting as if toy (and pastry) guns are real. In the post-Sandy Hook safety precautions, that act as if a mass-shooting is not only inevitable but imminent. In the recalls of safe products after a tiny flaw, or even non-flaw, has been flagged as a possible, 1-in-a-million danger. And in the  exhortations made on TV shows after any odd and unusual fate befalls a child, as if we now all must be on guard against that same fate all the time.  Overreaction leads us to fear more, ban more, and act as if we are under constant siege.

Even from things like knives accidentally baked into the bottom of cakes. – L.

Happy Overreaction Day, to You! Happy Overreaction Day. to You!


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72 Responses to A Knife, a Walmart Birthday Cake and a Frenzy of Overreaction

  1. Naturalmom March 15, 2013 at 8:12 am #

    It’s not even baked in! The knife was obviously on the cake board when the cake was placed on top of it. It’s a simple mistake. My family would be doubled over in laughter if we had this happen to us! We would send a photo to the Cake Wrecks site, and I would have a new paring knife. :)

  2. Paul March 15, 2013 at 8:16 am #

    Meanwhile the locked up Mom that ordered the knife in the case is REALLY pissed. Escape plan foiled!!

  3. Joel Dockery March 15, 2013 at 8:20 am #

    I think they should just have a TSA agent frisk every cake before it leaves.

  4. erica March 15, 2013 at 8:22 am #

    I would be like>>>>”OOH BONUS!!! FREE KNIFE! SCORE!”

  5. maggie March 15, 2013 at 8:32 am #

    Love it, Paul!
    I just don’t get the need to sue. Why? No one was hurt. And really. They’re never going to get “that 2nd birthday back”? Where did it go? I doubt the birthday boy even realized what was going on. I’m all for men expressing their emotions, but tears? If this is traumatic, what happens when that man accidentally CUTS himself with a paring knife? Slicing carrots one minute, PTSD the next!

  6. K March 15, 2013 at 8:57 am #

    Paul – I’d love to “like” your comment. That is hilarious!

    Is this overreaction, or – if a lawsuit is coming – part of the American tradition of “your mistake is my opportunity for unearned wealth”?

  7. Michelle March 15, 2013 at 9:15 am #

    Wow, calling the media and suing? If this happened to me, I’d wonder if I should ask for my money back. And then I probably wouldn’t, because geez, that means driving all the way back there and possibly arguing with some manager…

    I probably wouldn’t eat the cake, though. I’m easily grossed out. My husband would probably laugh at me as he served it to our kids.

  8. Kelly March 15, 2013 at 9:23 am #

    I’d probably call Walmart and let them know what happened but more to be nice to them since there’s so many crazy people in the world who overreact like this.

    I liked the article that cake wrecks did on it that showed all the other things people found in the cakes like baked in scissors. All of those people just laughed about it.


  9. tdr March 15, 2013 at 9:47 am #

    That cake looks way tastier than I would expect a walmart cake to taste.

    I hate to think of what that dad is going to go through when his kid reaches puberty.

  10. Warren March 15, 2013 at 10:03 am #

    We saw this story when it first came out. And it became a topic of discussion, because our group is buying a cake like this on a regular basis.

    The general agreement is as follows,

    1. Wasn’t baked in, and not even a hazard because it was lying flat. Felt sorry for the employee who probably looked forever for their knife.
    2. As a responsible parent would have just removed it, and not mentioned it to anyone.
    3. If the child’s party was ruined, it would have been because of the overreaction of the child’s parent. This being the case the only lawsuit that should be allowed, is for the child to sue the parents for spoiling the party, in an effort to make a profit off of WalMart.

    If a parent cannot handle a simple situation like this without it becoming any sort of issue. Then that parent does not deserve to be a parent, and needs to seek help now, before they do more harm to their child.

  11. Emily March 15, 2013 at 10:14 am #

    Like I said on the original website, it’s better that it was a large, highly-visible paring knife, than a tiny thumbtack (or something) that could easily be missed, and possibly swallowed. Also, if the birthday boy is only two years old, and his guests are around the same age, I doubt any of the kids are going to remember the incident. I have a good memory, but everything before the age of three or four for me, is pretty fuzzy. For example, when I was one year old, there was a tornado that ravaged through our city, and destroyed our house, so my parents and I moved in with some friends of theirs for a few months. I have absolutely no memory of these people, or their house, but if they saw me now, they might possibly remember me. So, even though the parents (espeically the dad) might remember the paring knife incident, and declare their son’s birthday “ruined” because of it, the son is probably just going to remember seeing his friends, playing some games, wearing a party hat, and having cake and ice cream–if he even remembers the day at all.

  12. Bacopa March 15, 2013 at 10:49 am #

    “Deeply disruptive to the natural order of things.” Hyperbole of the decade! Seriously, it’s perfectly natural for kitchens to have knives in them and it’s perfectly natural for minor mistakes to happen. The kid would not even have been upset if the parents had not made an issue of this. He’s two. He’s not even going to notice.

    Seems like these parents are more interested in getting upset and ruining things than having a good birthday party.

  13. sandy March 15, 2013 at 10:52 am #

    People left because there was a knife in the cake!? Were they worried that the host was going to attack someone? Or that the host was going to over react and they would have to explain the scene to their 2 year old? I would have asked if I could bring the knife home.
    What tool are the employees going to use now that paring knives have been banned? What about all the other utensils or other hazards that could have been baked into the cake? Will they be banned as well? You never know what some numbskull minimum wage teen will forget….

  14. Puzzled March 15, 2013 at 10:55 am #

    Just another example of the problem of expecting perfection from life, at all times.

  15. Sarah in WA March 15, 2013 at 10:58 am #

    What I don’t understand is why do people act like something like this has never happened before? Obviously, from Kelly’s cakewrecks link above (hilarious, by the way), this has happened many times before. It’s an honest mistake. We once found a pair of scissors in an appliance box delivered from Home Depot and we were like, “Score! Free scissors!”

    People use knives to cut cakes, right? (Please don’t tell me everyone uses dental floss these days!) Why is it so crazy that a knife would be near a cake? Are there any stats on people dying from this type of situation? My guess is no.

    I remember several years ago someone freaked out because she found a fried chicken head in her fried chicken. She was quoted as saying something like, “I want to know how it got there.” Um, how do think it got there?? A chicken head is part of a chicken! Someone just didn’t sort the pieces correctly. Again, it’s a mistake, and a harmless one. And yet it makes the news. 😛

  16. Captain America March 15, 2013 at 11:04 am #

    Don’t kill me for saying this, but it just reminds me of Karl Marx’s theory of the alienation of the working class: obviously the skinny-paid Wal-Mart worker had skinny-bits of concern for her/his work and left the knife out.

  17. Chas March 15, 2013 at 11:14 am #

    So the prisoner in the jail got the kid’s intended cake, right?

  18. Conuly March 15, 2013 at 11:21 am #

    How fortunate this family must be if this, THIS, is the worst thing ever to happen to them.

  19. Backroadsem March 15, 2013 at 11:31 am #

    I recall seeing this article the other day.

    My thoughts:

    1. How nice! A free knife!

    2. This is a toddler. A good chunk of his reactions are mirroring his parents. If you freak out, he probably will. Can he comprehend the “danger” of a knife in the cake? I doubht it.

    3. I bet the parents killed the party. If I were attending a toddlers’ party and the hosts flipped out over something like this, I’d leave, too.

  20. pentamom March 15, 2013 at 11:38 am #

    Well, people left out of fear of stainless steel poisoning, obviously. I mean, everyone knows that stainless steel is poisonous and when food is heated in contact with it, it will…


  21. Emily March 15, 2013 at 12:02 pm #

    @Pentamom–I don’t think the knife was actually baked into the cake; it was just accidentally left on the cake board when the cake was placed on top of it. So, it wouldn’t have been heated, and therefore, it wouldn’t poison anyone.

  22. Julie March 15, 2013 at 12:08 pm #

    If this is the sort of incident that ruins a birthday party, where an adult remarks, “We’ll never get that day back,” all I have to say is I hope EVERY party, every time goes equally as well. I wouldn’t want to be around those people when something actually goes wrong. (Can you imagine if a kid fell and broke a bone? Eeek!)

    –May it always be sunny and warm during your outdoor party so improv isn’t necessary when you suddenly find yourself shoving 20 people into your undersized living room and revamping the outdoor games for indoor use

    –May your child always be self-controlled and amiable so that interminable temper tantrums in the middle of his own birthday party never rear their ugly heads

    –May you find every speck of cake and frosting during clean-up so that the ant invasion never happens

    –May there never be any puking, spilling, and or other child-created yucks.

    Because remember, this is a one-time shot at THIS YEAR’S party. It cannot go awry in any way.

  23. pentamom March 15, 2013 at 12:46 pm #

    Emily, true. But that would have been the worst possible case, and it’s STILL completely innocuous.

  24. Andy March 15, 2013 at 12:47 pm #

    Ok, found a knife in the cake. take it back to Walmart, show it to the bakery manager, get a replacement cake, demand a free cake next year, go home and get on with your life.
    The two tear old isn’t going to remember the knife and won’t be tramatised by it unless the parents constantly tell him that Walmart ruined his birthday by trying to kill him. (Which they will probably will.)

  25. Andy March 15, 2013 at 12:52 pm #

    Oh, and I second that Paul’s remark was the best.

  26. Steve March 15, 2013 at 12:56 pm #

    The article said: “But the dad, sounding weepy, added, “We’re not going to get that second birthday back ever.”

    These days it’s not uncommon to have 12 and 13 year old boys in middle school getting upset and crying like small children. I’m amazed when I hear these stories.

    Our society has now created emotionally unstable people at every age. We seem to want to preserve a person’s right to be offended and whine at any moment for any reason. Everything is always someone else’s fault.

    Being offended by anything at all is a personal choice, and few people understand that it’s a choice.

  27. Havva March 15, 2013 at 1:08 pm #

    Read the comments here and over at common good. Am I the only one who’s first instinct (after a raised eyebrow) is to wash the knife off and give it back to the bakery next time I’m shopping there?

    I do understand the ‘cool free knife’ reaction. That just wasn’t in my top 5 reactions.

    Somewhere further down my reaction chain was to track all the way back to the original story for a better close up. I looked closely at the browned layer of the cake. The knife has some of that part of the cake over it and some under it. But clearly wasn’t baked in. And the section of cake above the handle is the perfect size and shape to remove, and put back over top of that knife. I suppose it could have really happened at the bakery, with shifts in transit and luck of the cut etc explaining the rest. But, considering the melodrama, the perfectly horrifying whole blade no handle way it came out. I’d put good odds on scam.

  28. mollie March 15, 2013 at 1:30 pm #

    Anyone who finds anything inedible in food processed by a large corporation is more likely to have dollar signs in their eyes rather than tears, and I’d guess that’s what happened in this case: dad sees knife, mind goes through the gymnastics of surprise to confusion and quickly, deftly lands on “profitable lawsuit,” and dad decides that the best course of action to support a claim of “emotional trauma” is to act, well, traumatized.

    Don’t be shocked at his tears! They are only the icing on the, um, cake of his ridiculous claim of harm done by Walmart.

  29. TaraK March 15, 2013 at 1:36 pm #

    Oh boy I was laughing this morning! My daughter’s kindergarten class is studying the letter W. Today was “Wild West” day. They dressed up in cowboy costumes and were allowed to bring toy guns to school. And one of their learning stations allowed them to gallop down the hall riding stick ponies with those guns shooting “bad guys”.

    And this afternoon? I’m going to a Civil War play put on by my third grader. Part of his costume is a rifle. They had specific instructions “no Star Wars or Nerf guns please, only realistic ones if you have them”.

    Yeah, not a public school. :)

  30. Captain America March 15, 2013 at 2:43 pm #

    @chas: Great remark. Wish I’d made it. All the best to you, wrapped in red, white and blue. . . heck, I’ll settle for a Pabst.

  31. CrazyCatLady March 15, 2013 at 2:54 pm #

    We still joke about my son’s 4th birthday because he had Noro Virus and thew up on one of the guests.

    My daughter was already sick, we had a jumpy house and we told all the parents before hand to give them the choice to stay home. We did everything outside, and had lots of hand sanitizer. It was only my family that got sick.

    But it is still funny that the friend handed him the gift and my son threw up on his feet. Classic thank you!

  32. mmm March 15, 2013 at 3:57 pm #

    That’s the last time I trick-or-treat at Walmart.

  33. pentamom March 15, 2013 at 4:15 pm #

    Poor CrazyCatLady, you’ll never get that day back.


  34. Heath March 15, 2013 at 4:24 pm #

    If I understand the way time and aging work, correctly, then I don’t think ANY of us will ever get that 2nd birthday back.

  35. Heath March 15, 2013 at 4:27 pm #

    And I’m sure a Wal-Mart employee, somewhere, is saying, “Oh yeah? Well, I’ll probably never get that knife back, either!”

  36. Emily March 15, 2013 at 4:47 pm #

    @Julie–There’s an easy way around the “weather” thing–just make up a donkey game, a bean-bag toss, and musical chairs or similar, which can be played either inside or outside. If you’re doing a scavenger hunt, don’t do a treasure hunt with clues, just make it “find XYZ items,” and then hide them around the house instead of outside. Then, since the end of the party, after cake and gifts, is normally “free play” time while you wait for the parents to come and collect their kids, you could plan for outdoor play if the weather is nice, and put on a DVD with some age-appropriate cartoons if it isn’t. A full-length movie wouldn’t work so well, because some kids might either not have the attention span for it, or alternatively, want to stay and watch the whole thing even after their parents are ready to leave, but Spongebob, Arthur, or something where each episode is only about 15 minutes, would be perfect. If the kids are really antsy and want to move around, then you could just put on music and let the kids dance. I’m not a parent, but I have some experience working with kids, and I learned some things from volunteering in the day camps at the YMCA, about what to do when a planned day of outdoor activities gets rained out. This happened at least a few times that I can remember, because summer in Canada is like that–it can be 30 C in the morning, and then pouring rain by lunch time.

    As for spilling, puking, and tantrums, well, if the kids are still at that age, couldn’t you just plan the party for your child’s most “amiable” time of day, and serve stomach-friendly foods in child-friendly portions (for example, PBJ’s cut out with cookie cutters instead of pizza), and beverages in sippy cups?

  37. Havva March 15, 2013 at 4:54 pm #

    @ Steve I agree that few people understand that being offended/emotional is a choice. To what extent people seem to believe it can be controlled, that control is viewed as something unhealthy that will build up and cause a person to snap. It is like people don’t understand the difference between maintaining self control to enable a positive resolution, and trying to bury their problems until it can’t be hidden anymore. And lots of people certainly do talk about feeling that they can’t bring something up while harboring an ever grown grudge about it.

    I was labeled as “high strung” all of my youth. Most people who know me now wouldn’t believe it. If anything I seem icy, placid, which is an asset when negotiating controversial topics at work. When I had morning sickness and got cranky my friends laughed and said “oh wow, she is human after all.” They thought I was finally letting my guard down. They were shocked when we told them I was hiding morning sickness.

    That “high strung” label as a child, implied to me that my emotions were to be expected, at least for me. The adults were clearly annoyed, but seemed to just be waiting for me to outgrow a normal phase. Sometimes I was even encouraged to “get it all out.” Or to “redirect into hitting a pillow”… I just couldn’t do that because I had been long since and completely been trained away from hitting when angry. So I kept right on being my ‘normal.’

    Then in college I realized the “If something seems wrong, that was the WORST time to panic.” That times like that were when you need to keep your wits about you the most. I had a lot to learn, but the more I succeeded the better things got.

    Now I look at my daughter and she is as high strung as I was. Of course being 2 and inexperienced, wild emotions are to be expected. She doesn’t follow what is ‘supposed to happen’ she can’t be distracted, she doesn’t forget. Her mind is a lot like mine. So I decided that we couldn’t let her walk down that road. Seeing me in her, is a little frightening. Sometimes I worry I am taking out a revulsion toward my past self on her.

    But when she tells me to use the count down to comfort her, and falls quiet at 8, and looks up with a smile and an “I did it” or an “I all better.” I know that she is receiving the gift of freedom from emotional turmoil.

  38. Rachel March 15, 2013 at 5:38 pm #

    I’m with everyone whose first reaction was “Score! Free knife!”

    My friends and family would have found it hilarious. We would chalk it up as a win for most memorable second birthday party ever.

    I might have posted the picture to my facebook page with the caption, “Hey, Walmart bakers, I found your knife.” But, still only for my own amusement.

  39. Emily March 15, 2013 at 6:09 pm #

    Hey, does anyone else here remember the days when people used to bake coins into cakes/cupcakes, for guests to find and keep? I remember birthday parties where that happened, circa late 80’s/early 90’s, and I don’t remember anyone ever getting sick from “dirty” money (maybe it was washed beforehand), or choking on a coin either. I actually thought it was kind of fun, because I didn’t get much allowance as a child, so finding money in a slice of birthday cake, or a cupcake, was a nice bonus for me. It’s so funny that we’ve come full circle, from people deliberately baking foreign objects into birthday cakes, to this.

  40. Crystal March 15, 2013 at 8:32 pm #

    This reminds me of one of my favorite stories about my grandma. She was very famous in our area for her deep-fried veggies at the local Scandinavian Festival. Once, during a super-busy period, she was astonished when a customer brought back a deep-fried squash, her equally-yellow paring knife sticking straight out of it. He wasn’t mad at all, just amused, but she was mortified!

    And even more so when the festival committee awarded her that year’s “Top Cook” (a pretty big deal there)…and gave her a plaque with the battered-covered paring knife glued right on it. It still holds a place of honor on my grandpa’s wall, even though my grandma has been in heaven for years. :-)

  41. FredTownWard March 15, 2013 at 8:39 pm #

    I guess I’m just too old to live because MY reaction would have been, “Hey look everybody! Wal-Mart threw in a FREE paring knife! Sing out if you find any more free utensils! Maybe we’ll find a complete set!”

  42. asmm2 March 15, 2013 at 8:42 pm #

    If this happened to me… “Free knife!! SCORE!”

  43. asmm2 March 15, 2013 at 8:43 pm #

    Just read some comments and laughed to see others who also thought the free knife was a bargain. :)

  44. CrazyCatLady March 15, 2013 at 8:48 pm #

    Wow. I just went to the original article, and for all of you who thought you might get a free knife in the future, Walmart says it will be banning the use of paring knives in their bakeries across the country. Sounds like now the best thing you will get is a frosting spreader.

    Overreaction, much?

  45. Julie March 15, 2013 at 8:50 pm #

    @Emily: Oh sure, *I* could. And have. More than once. But I also understand that a knife that isn’t baked into a cake and which didn’t harm anyone is little more than a very slight hiccup. I’ve dealt with much worse and still didn’t consider the day ruined.

  46. JJ March 15, 2013 at 9:10 pm #

    THIS is the thing Walmart did that they feel bad about?

  47. hineata March 15, 2013 at 10:17 pm #

    @Havva – so true about the panic business. I get a little annoyed sometimes at the hospital when the doctors look at you like you’re meant to be panicky when your child gets an IV line in – like that will help anything. Particularly when she needs them on a regular basis. Or when I wasn’t in tears when another one broke their arm – or when I did my own ankle. What, really, is helped by an over-the-top emotional reaction? Everything works better when the patient is calm.

    Personally, I would love to give this ridiculous father something to cry about…!

    Reminds me of a friend in Virginia who was working in a bookshop to supplement her teacher salary over the break. Some silly woman came in and, on finding the book she had ordered was late, complained that ‘this was the worst day of her life!’ Over a book?! Some of us have too good of a life….

  48. hineata March 15, 2013 at 10:24 pm #

    While we were living in Malaysia, I happened to open my drink at McDonalds, and there was a cockroach in the cup. I still remember the panic on the faces of the workers, and their surprise when I simply suggested that they check the paper cup dispensers. The thinking is that

    1/All whites are American, and

    2/All Americans over-react to life.

    Unfair generalisations, of course…..but this father gets you wondering. Time to stop giving twits like this press, and to push stories of sensible Americans getting on with their lives.

    You Americans here all come across as very sensible individuals. Maybe Lenore could collect your positive, commonsense experiences and publish another book. The proceeds of which could be used for the FRK legal fund, to fund the fight against loonybin gun suspensions etc.

  49. Library Diva March 15, 2013 at 10:37 pm #

    What a whiny drama king. On my seventh birthday, I fell off my own rope ladder and broke my arm. We had to cut the evening part of my brithday short. My best friend couldn’t sleep over, and I had to go to the ER instead. I had to miss the astronomy class I was taking at the science museum — the GOOD

  50. Library Diva March 15, 2013 at 10:38 pm #

    Srry, hit the wrong button — meant to say, the good one, where we got to go to the planetarium show, to get the damn thing set in a permanent cast. Now that’s a ruined week, one you’ll never get back. What a big deal over nothing. No one was even remotely hurt.

  51. Emily March 15, 2013 at 10:54 pm #

    @Hineata–Wow, you handled the cockroach in your McDonald’s drink really well. I wouldn’t consider vermin in my Diet Coke to be “life,” though, and I also wouldn’t consider being upset about it to be an “overreaction.” If that happened to me, I’d probably either stop ordering fountain drinks, or bring my own cup in the future, and in the meantime, I’d ask for a replacement drink, in a cockroach-free cup. Was the cockroach alive or dead when you found it?

  52. Meagan March 16, 2013 at 12:41 am #

    You are totally misreading this situation. This dad is clearly über-free range, and was having the actual 2 year lid cut the cake. He/she was probably using one of those mini electric chainsaws you use to carve a turkey, and as such, Walmart’s gross oversite could have presented a serious hazard! They should be sued! Now I don’t feel safe giving my toddler a small chain saw for his second birthday. Talk about a blow to independence!

  53. socalledauthor March 16, 2013 at 12:49 am #

    Havva– I work with alternative high school kids and pretty much all of them believe that they MUST react instantly and let all their emotions all. If they did anything but that, it would be “unhealthy”– even thinking about alternate responses to their emotion is not “being true to themselves.” They believe that everything they say and do is okay, and anyone who doesn’t like it is in the wrong or “fake” or I don’t even know. They don’t understand that they are the cause of most of their own problems with school and interpersonal relations. They are just being “real.” It’s sad, honestly, because they are so unhappy, so much by every perceived slight and won’t even consider that slowing down to consider if the slight is worth their energy and attention.

    Throw in a corporate culture of “squeaky wheel gets the grease” (even for unreasonable complaints) and people are further rewarded for their thinking.

    @Emily– I’m sorry, but I can’t see that a one-off occasion of a single cockroach in the cup is worth changing life for. That’s kind of the whole premise of FRK, isn’t it, that rare occasions and accidents are not worth changing your whole life/ routine about? I’d do the same as hineata– ask for a new drink and cup and reassure the workers that, hey, we’re not perfect and in the high pressure fastfastfast world of McD’s, there’s a lot of room for overlooked things like checking a cup just in case some wayward item got in there. Stopping ordering from the fountain drinks or bringing your own cup is, to me, overreaction. Habitual nasty in the drink cups, then I might change my routine… by checking the cup each time.

  54. Jenny Islander March 16, 2013 at 1:22 am #

    In a climate where cockroaches can live outdoors 24/7/365, a cockroach getting into the store is a one-off. I clearly remember waiting in a drive-thru line in Kailua-Kona and seeing cockroaches the size of cigar butts crawling through the hedge bordering the drive-thru lane, mere steps from the drive-thru window. Horrific? Yes! Avoidable? No. All it takes is for the cockroach to be on the outer wall of the building as the window worker turns away from the open window for a moment to make change and the driver outside isn’t looking just there and . . .

    Now, up here, where cockroaches can only survive outside a building during the short summer, it’s possible to obliterate the little monsters from entire neighborhoods. If I found a cockroach in my to-go cup here, I would alert the restaurant manager and call the Health Department immediately.

  55. Jenny Islander March 16, 2013 at 1:28 am #

    Back to the story: There is no danger involved in that situation unless a plastic-handled knife was actually baked into a cake. It looks to me as though the worker had done some trimming to get the cake into a nice square shape, got distracted by something, and forgot that he/she had laid the knife down just there. Or this was a hoax like those two dopes who put broken-up razor blades into storebought donuts recently and ate them.

    But I still wouldn’t eat this cake because IMO frosting should not resemble caulking foam coated in spray paint. Yechhh!

  56. hineata March 16, 2013 at 2:38 am #

    @Emily – the cockroach was definitely dead, LOL! In Malaysia, like Hawaii I guess, and most tropical regions, the things are unavoidable. I didn’t bother asking for another drink because right then I was a bit put off the whole idea of drinking there :-)

    At least it was only a little one……

  57. Caleb Shaw March 16, 2013 at 5:49 am #

    Considering you are dealing with serious social issues, the fact this site is filled with merriment and a joyous attitude is like a breath of fresh air. Besides lurking here, I lurk at others places, and I tell you, those other places can hold a grim bunch of sour pusses.

    Without a sense of humor we will have a far harder time.

    This site is truly a breath of fresh air.

    The issue of the knife in the cake, (sounds like a prison escape,) reminds me of a time half a lifetime ago, when, at age thirty, I was reduced to taking a job at a fast-food resteraunt and working with California teenagers.

    I walked in the door deeply depressed about the shame of working a minimum wage job, and proceeded to have a blast. If that place had made cakes, a lot more than knives would have been mixed in with the dough.

    One time, during a rush, the counter-people were getting very short-tempered with the behind-the-counter cooks, and one cook, tired of being barked at, stuck a wet dish-rag in a burger box and handed it to the counter-person who was demanding a burger RIGHT NOW.

    That was thirty years ago. I wonder what would happen these days, if a customer opened a burger box and saw a wet dish rag?

    Fifty years ago I was just a boy from the suburbs, and loved to get out into the country where people were free and I could do things like ride in a horse drawn sled in the winter, and in the back of a pick up in the summer.

    Now the roads are so salted no horse could pull a sleigh, so they don’t have to make sleighing illegal. However going haying in the back of a pickup has been made illegal, even in “Live Free Or Die” New Hampshire.

    It would make me downright grumpy, were it not for the humor on sites like this.

    As it is, I only am half-way grumpy, when I write stuff like this:


  58. Captain America March 16, 2013 at 9:22 am #

    I read this a second time.

    Count me in with the “FREE KNIFE!—SCORE!!!” crowd. I’d take’m all day long if they gave them to me.

  59. Emily March 16, 2013 at 9:26 am #

    @Socalledauthor–By “overreacting,” I thought Hineata meant “throwing a tantrum at the McDonald’s workers,” rather than simply requesting another drink, and/or maybe buying drinks in sealed cans or bottles rather than from the fountain. In any case, I’m surprised that that McDonald’s still pours drinks for its customers, because at every McDonald’s I can think of now, the drinks are self-serve. Actually, I don’t eat at McDonald’s, because I’m vegan, but when McDonald’s did their “dollar drink days” last summer, where they offered any size fountain drink for a dollar, I availed myself of it whenever possible. I miss those massive, bucket-sized Diet Cokes–they were tough on the bladder, but easy on the wallet.

  60. pentamom March 16, 2013 at 10:35 am #

    Emily, I think it varies with the McDonald’s, as far as whether the drinks are self-serve or dispensed by the staff. I’ve seen both here in the east/central U.S.

    Maybe hineata’s “worst day of her life” lady had a bunch of other stuff going on that day, and that was just the icing on, er, knife in, the cake? But then again, maybe not. Some people are drama-monarchs.

  61. Donna March 16, 2013 at 3:33 pm #

    Emily, massive amounts of bugs in the tropics are a fact of life. My house is always filled with various bugs and the lizards that eat them. The ants and termite swarm are particularly annoying. The roaches I like better. They scurry away rather than harass you. I wouldn’t be thrilled with a bug in my drink … or want another drink … but it wouldn’t make or break my day.

    @socalledauthor – What you said is totally true about all my clients. They can’t understand that they are their worst enemies and that most of the trouble they get in is a result of their own inability to control their reactions to things. This is particularly noticeable in Samoa where every single slight, no matter how small, is handled with fists, rocks, bottles and the occasional coconut.

  62. Emily March 16, 2013 at 5:28 pm #

    @Pentamom and Donna–I lived in Australia for two years, which isn’t the tropics, but it’s a very warm climate, and it can be scorching hot in the summer (one day it was 42 C there), and the sharehouse I lived/mentored in (which was the graduate-student annex of International House) would often have problems with cockroaches when it was hot. However, I never had a problem with cockroaches when I ate out, even at “fast-food” type places like Subway. As for “complaining” about a cockroach in a drink, I wouldn’t have raised a huge stink either–I would have requested a replacement, in a sealed container if that was an option (it is at Subway), and I might possibly stick to sealed drinks only after that, but I wouldn’t throw a tantrum or threaten to sue the restaurant, or anything crazy like that.

  63. Beth March 16, 2013 at 8:37 pm #

    I’m still not clear on why the guests immediately started to leave because of the knife. What were they afraid of?

  64. pentamom March 16, 2013 at 8:56 pm #

    Maybe they couldn’t stand to see a grown man cry over a knife in a cake.

  65. Donna March 17, 2013 at 12:13 am #

    Anyone else notice that the knife appears to be perfectly straight and dead center in the cake? While I believe that something like this could happen, this seems faked. Surely I real accident would end up at least slightly askew.

  66. oncefallendotcom March 17, 2013 at 10:55 am #

    That’s not a knife. THAT’S a knife!


    Sixty something comments and not one Crocodile Dundee reference till now? Someone had to say it.

  67. catspaw73 March 17, 2013 at 4:27 pm #

    @Emily, there is a reason health inspectors take the backs off coffee machines, cockroachs love it back there in the warmth and dark. This is also the reason backs are supposed to be taken off for cleaning regularly :-)

  68. Jenna K. March 17, 2013 at 8:49 pm #

    It just makes me mad that the situation was rectified, Walmart took care of everything and took responsibility, nobody was actually hurt, and the greedy man is going to sue anyway. It’s so stupid and childish of him.

    And thanks, oncefallendotcom, I got a laugh out of your Crocodile Dundee reference. Great movie.

  69. pentamom March 17, 2013 at 9:01 pm #

    oncefallen, now I feel embarrassed. That’s a favorite line around this house, and I didn’t even think of it!

  70. Jennifer March 19, 2013 at 2:35 am #

    Be grateful – I’ve found giant cockroaches baked into the bottom of baked goods.

  71. Amy U March 21, 2013 at 11:02 pm #

    Dude. Free knife.


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