Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Shrimp tails, bits of string, and rat feces are now part of this complete breakfast

Coat these babies in cinnamon and sugar dust; it’s breakfast time.
Coat these babies in cinnamon and sugar dust; it’s breakfast time.
Photo: Luis Acosta (Getty Images)

Jensen Karp opened a bag of Cinnamon Toast Crunch yesterday likely hoping to find, as we’ve all grown accustomed to expect, nothing but cereal. Instead, he discovered a special prize: Shrimp tails covered in delicious sugary dust.

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After posting a photo of Cinnamon Toast Crunch’s surprising bonus protein with a caption that wonders, quite reasonably, how shrimp tails got into his cereal, the company’s Twitter account apologized and asked Karp to report the issue so he could receive a replacement box. For whatever reason, Karp replied that he wasn’t very interested in the offer of extra, possibly shrimped-up cereal. The company promised to perform more research on the image then returned to tell Karp that its crack investigators had determined that the shrimp tails “[appear] to be an accumulation of the cinnamon sugar that sometimes can occur when ingredients aren’t thoroughly blended.”

“We assure you that there’s no possibility of cross contamination with shrimp,” the tweet concludes. Karp responded that, no, he was pretty sure he found shrimp tails in his cereal. Seth Rogen, who appeared earlier in this saga to congratulate Karp on his wonderful prize, chipped in here, too, with “Yo that’s shrimp CT Crunch!”

Probably not feeling great about the way the wind was blowing, the Cinnamon Toast account took it to the DMs, promising Karp vouchers and trying to get their precious shrimp tails back so the company could take another, even “closer look.” Surely, the social media team must have thought at this point, the situation couldn’t get any worse.

Then Karp posted another photo of the Cursed Crunch, this one showing what looks like baked-on rat shit. And then another picture that shows a bit of string found in the same box. Someone following the story suggested that mice or rats took up residence in the Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal ingredients, bringing along a few of their treasures. Karp followed this up with a final photo of the other bag in the family-sized box of cereal that “appears to include … dental floss.” He also lets us know that he definitely ate a bowl of this ad-hoc sewer stew before discovering its dark secrets.

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Cinnamon Toast Crunch’s Twitter account, which may now need to qualify its “The Greatest Cereal Of All Time” bio line, has gone dark since yesterday. Previously, its feed consisted of terrible online brand memes—some of which now read a bit differently when Karp’s shrimp tails, rat droppings, string, and floss are taken into account. Considering this precedent, it seems only natural that Cinnamon Toast Crunch reclaim its integrity by leaning right into this viral moment, posting lowercase tweets like, “tfw when you’re just trying to give some rats a nice home” or asking Sunny Delight, Little Debbie, and MoonPie for tips on how to deal with their sadness about making a big mistake.

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Contributor, The A.V. Club. Reid's a writer and editor who has appeared at GQ, Playboy, and Paste. He also co-created and writes for videogame sites Bullet Points Monthly and Digital Love Child.