A mother couldn't believe what she saw when she opened open her daughter's fried chicken meal at a local McDonald's.
I'm an eater of meat and flesh and all sorts of animals. I've only witnessed a few butcherings of these animals in person, and probably performed maybe two in my entire life, which is still a lot more than most people, but I'm not really "in touch" with where my food comes from.
As far as I'm concerned, it all begins and ends with supermarkets and restaurants. I know that animals are furred and feathered and scaled, but I'm not thinking about that when I'm chowing down on them. It's probably why I can't stand eating fish because, whenever an errant bone gets caught in my throat, it reminds me that I'm actually eating what was once a living breathing organism.
It's easiest to distance yourself from your food and where its sourced if you're constantly eating fast food. The mass-produced, pre-packaged, easy-to-prepare food is very far-removed from the animals they once were. We view the food items as entities completely separate from the "source material," but that doesn't mean that bits of nature can't shine through in our meals, as gross as that may be.
This mother and daughter learned that the hard way after buying a fried chicken meal.
McDonald's operates a little differently all over the world. Locations outside the U.S. serve up different menu items and offer different services like delivery, not through a special service like Uber Eats or anything like that: the restaurant just does it. I was surprised myself to see that pretty much every place in Egypt delivers, and getting a Mickey D's burger at any time of the day without having to leave my place was pretty cool.
So while McDonald's doesn't offer bone-in chicken wings stateside at most locations, they do in Beijing, China, and they also offer delivery.
So Zhou decided to get some food for her and her daughter. Her daughter's came with three chicken wings. They looked like ordinary pieces of meat at first, but she noticed there was something sticking out on one.
It gets worst: her daughter didn't notice that there were feathers in the fried chicken until after she started eating it. The two only saw the chicken feathers when she began coughing up some weird substance that turned out to be bird feathers.
Talk about SQUAWKWARD, amirite?
The feathers were hidden by the breading, and while she could find some comfort in the fact that her daughter was indeed eating actual chicken and not bits of it pieced together in a lab, she was understandably heated because her baby girl could have easily choked on the feathers, resulting in a serious medical emergency.
Thankfully, it didn't come to that, but Zhou had some choice words for the employees at that specific location.
After seeing what they accidentally served the woman, the store's manager offered to not only refund her, but also offered her ten times what it was worth: about 300 yuan, which amounts to $44.
Zhou didn't take the payout. Instead, she told management she was going to report the establishment to China's equivalent to the FDA so they could potentially look into the nasty goings-on in the kitchen over there.
McDonald's apologized on the Chinese social media site Weibo for the inconvenience, saying, "We express our sincere apologies for the product flaw which was not immediately detected by the restaurant and has caused inconvenience for the customer."
The apology might not be of much consolation to Zhou, who says her young daughter is traumatized by the event and preemptively spits up most of the food she eats now.
This isn't the first time feathers turned up in fast food. At a Popeye's in Mishakawa, Indiana, one customer was surprised to find his meal came with a side order of down.
He posted pictures to Yelp, which is probably not the kind of detailed review the restaurant was hoping for.
As gross as it is to eat a bird feather, and the choking hazard is a real one, there's technically nothing "wrong" with scarfing one down should it occur by accident. Our body would just digest it. There are actually some companies that take residual feathers from animals like chicken and turkeys and grind them up in animal feed and other helpful protein additives.
Probably not what you want coming in your three-piece meal, but hey, at least it won't do any actual harm to you. Aside from just skeeving you out I guess.