Every so often, a food item will take hold of the national discourse with the kind of fury typically reserved for HBO prestige dramas and/or Taylor Swift albums. This summer’s obsession, of course, was the Popeyes chicken sandwich, and it was loved so fully and so well that now it is (temporarily) no more.
Popeyes tweeted today that it is OUT of its beloved and short-lived chicken sandwich:
Popeyes only just launched the sandwich on August 12 and was expected to delight us with it through September, but it seems the fast food chain was ill-prepared for the nation’s fried chicken thirst. Indeed, though the sandwich was widely celebrated for its superiority to Chick-fil-A’s much-touted/homophobic fried chicken sandwich, its popularity was ultimately its downfall.
It turns out that popularity also created some pretty horrific working conditions for Popeyes employees, who told Business Insider that keeping up with sandwich demand was hell. Employees said feeding insatiable sandwich-eaters required some of them to work 60-hour weeks and long shifts with no breaks. “I was working like a slave in the back prepping the buns with pickles and the spicy mayo,” one 18-year-old worker told the outlet, estimating he made about 600 sandwiches in one 11-hour shift.
“Everyone wanted to quit so bad because it was that bad,” he said. “We have never seen it get this insanely busy.”
Indeed, the demand was so high individual locations started running out of the sandwich before the national shortage hit, which reportedly made some hungry customers very angry. Business Insider reports:
“I had an instance where a customer was threatening to assault me when I was taking out trash,” a California employee said. “A customer sees me and shouts: ‘Do we have a problem or what! Why no sandwiches! You guys are the third Popeyes to say so! You better stop looking at me or else!’ I was looking at the line.”
And now the sandwich is gone, at least for the time being. Remember, always, that if you love something—a person, a city, a pet, a spicy chunk of fried chicken nestled in a soft bun—you probably love it too much.