retail news in context, analysis with attitude

by Kevin Coupe

The Washington Post has a great little story about a Chinese noodle shop in the northern Chinese province of Shaanxi, which had an unusual way of getting customers to come back again and again.

The owner put opium in the noodles.

People only found out when a 26-year-old year man named Liu Juyou, was detained in a routine traffic stop, drug tested, and told that "he tested positive for opiates. He claimed he had never used any drug like that in his life, but police weren’t convinced. On Sept. 3, they threw him into detention, where he stayed for 15 days.

"Liu swore it had something to do with the noodles — they had been too good. So, reported the Independent, he asked his family to test out his theory. Would they eat the noodle shop’s noodles? They did, took a drug test — and tested positive for opium.

"The police then started looking into the noodle shop’s owner, who confessed he had been adding parts of a poppy plant to his noodles so customers would keeping coming back. The owner, only called 'Zhang' in reports, conceded he bought 4.4 pounds of poppy buds for a little less than $100. He then mashed it into a fine powder, which he poured into his noodle mix."

Which is, in its own way, sort of funny. (I can only imagine that when they asked the chef, he shrugged and said, "Well, the menu only says 'no MSG'…")

Except for the story's kicker. According to the Post, "Despite the apparent evidence to substantiate Liu’s story, the police reportedly wouldn’t budge on their charges against him, saying it was a top priority to punish drug users."

It's an Eye-Opener.
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