When McDonald’s announced that three lucky Rick and Morty fans would receive their own 64-ounce bottle of Szechuan sauce, it was a joyous affair. When Robert Workman decided to sell his bottle, he wasn’t prepared for the backlash, including from Rick and Morty co-creator Justin Roiland.
Workman told Polygon that after he received the direct message from McDonald’s corporate Twitter account confirming he’d won, he discussed with family and friends what he should do with it. Bathe in it? Share it with friends? Or, Workman said, should he sell it? After much discussion, Workman decided the best thing to do would be to sell the sauce, partnering with a friend who had an eBay account, and donate some of those proceeds to various charities.
After Workman made the announcement on Twitter, he said he received backlash from different people, including Roiland, who reportedly called Workman “insane.”
“A lot of Rick and Morty fans weren't pleased,” Workman told Polygon. “One guy told me to hang myself because I had the morals of a cockroach. [It was] very stressful.”
Roiland tweeted about the auction on Aug. 6, drawing attention to the sale. Some of the responses called out Workman for trying to make a profit off of it and not keeping the sauce for himself, while others defended his decision. Throughout the entire auction, Workman promised that a portion of the proceeds would go to charities like AbleGamers and Extra Life. In a TwitLonger post published Aug. 5, Workman outlined how he planned to split the profit he made from the auction.
This isn’t going to be an auction where I take the money and run off to Mexico to open video game stores or whatever. Yes, some of it will be used to pay off bills and right the ship for myself, as it’s really been a long time coming. (And a few friends have noted that.) But this is also a prime opportunity to donate some money to charities like Extra Life and AbleGamers, and whoever else I can think of that’s worthy of donations. So depending where the final tally ends up, a small portion of these donations will be going to help out kids, handicapped gamers and others in need. That goes a much longer way than me guzzling 64 ounces worth of sauce — as entertaining as that might be.
Workman said it wasn’t until after the auction went public and people became aware of its existence that he got in touch with McDonald’s chef Mike Haracz. Haracz has been active in the conversation between Adult Swim, Roiland and McDonald’s since Rick and Morty’s surprise third season premiere on April Fool’s Day. After talking to Haracz, Workman said he found another charity to donate to.
“Thanks to this auction, I became friends with Haracz,” Workman said. “Great guy. He supported me all the way. And I'll donate a little bit to [the] Ronald McDonald House as well.”
Despite some of the negative experiences that Workman had to deal with during the auction period, it wasn’t all bad news. Workman said he was able to connect with musician Deadmau5 and many of his friends also supported his decision. By the time the auction ended, Workman managed to secure a bid of more than $15,000. At the time of the interview, Workman said he had “a feeling the high bidder” would back out, which is exactly what happened.
That’s not the end of Workman’s story, though. Recalling his conversation with Deadmau5, Workman reached out to the DJ to tell him the sauce had become available again. Deadmau5 jumped at the opportunity, according to Workman, and a deal was made. Workman wouldn’t tell Polygon how much Deadmau5 bought the sauce for, explaining that he didn’t think the DJ would appreciate that amount be disclosed, but Workman is happy.
He still plans to donate a large portion of the sale to the aforementioned charities, adding that he never planned to make any kind of major profit off of it. It was a tough decision to make, he said, but he’s proud of it and happy he can donate to charities because of it.
Unfortunately for the rest of us, McDonald’s isn’t planning to bring the sauce back to its restaurants anytime soon.