Press Releases

News of the Weird

Saturday September 21, 2002

Burger King pulls ad  

making fun of students 

COEUR d’ALENE, Idaho — Community colleges had it their way. Burger King has decided to pull a television commercial that poked fun at students in two-year schools. 

In the ad, two students are shown chatting with a talking menu, which decides they probably don’t have a lot of money and likely never will because they attend a junior college. 

A Burger King spokeswoman confirmed Thursday that the spot is being pulled because of complaints from numerous junior colleges and community college officials. 

Michael Burke, president of North Idaho College, said he recognized when he saw the ad Wednesday that it was supposed to be funny, but it didn’t work for him. 

“It implies that community college students don’t receive a quality education,” he said. “Our students leave here and are very successful at university work. Those who leave our professional-technical program enter the work force making an excellent salary. It certainly doesn’t reflect reality.” 

He shot off an e-mail to Norma Kent, vice president of communications for the American Association of Community Colleges, who wrote back that she registered the complaint with Burger King in Miami. 

“They are pulling the disgusting ‘junior college’ spot. Will take a couple days to get it out of the pipeline, and then it goes into the trash heap of ad history where it belongs,” Kent wrote. 

Burger King spokeswoman Michelle Miguelez said the students didn’t know they were being filmed, then were asked if they’d be willing to be in an ad and were shown the film. 

“They found the ad to be funny,” Miguelez said. “They were not offended in the least.” 

From Fredbird to jailbird 

ST. LOUIS — Donny Chilton, who worked in 2000 as a backup to the feathered St. Louis Cardinals’ mascot known as Fredbird, was found guilty Wednesday of first-degree burglary and misdemeanor stealing. Circuit Judge Robert Dierker Jr. revoked Chilton’s bond and ordered him jailed pending sentencing Oct. 11. 

Chilton, 21, and two others entered Busch Stadium in the early hours of May 9, 2000, got into a storage area near the Cardinals’ clubhouse and took a player’s set of golf clubs, one yellow baseball used in batting practice and a batting helmet. Court records do not identify the player whose clubs were taken. 

A team employee spotted the three leaving the ballpark, followed them across the street and questioned them — and they dropped the loot, authorities said. 

Cardinals officials plucked Chilton after they matched his employee identification photo with a videotape image from a surveillance camera, assistant circuit attorney Amy Fite said. Authorities were unable to identify the two others. 

Jurors recommended Chilton get a five-year prison term — the minimum — on the felony burglary charge and a fine for stealing. 

A spokesman for the Cardinals did not return a phone call seeking comment. 


FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (AP) — Alice Morrison was looking for a better way to seal her pickles. What she heard made her want to seal her ears. 

The 71-year-old Sunday school teacher was unhappy with the canning lids on her sweet pickle jars. So she reached for her box of Kerr mason lids and called the consumer help number printed on the side. 

Instead of advice for her lids, she was greeted by a recorded, raspy voice that she was about to hear “sexy introductions from callers” and that for $1.99 a minute she could “join the fun.” 

“I assure you, I wasn’t looking for any hotline,” Morrison said. 

It isn’t the first time people seeking information about canning have discovered themselves hooked up to a phone sex line. 

Officials with the company that makes the lids have fielded plenty of confused and sometimes angry calls from across the country, said Judy Harrold, manager of consumer affairs for Alltrista Consumer Products Co. 

Harrold said that about a year and a half ago, Alltrista decided to consolidate two canning companies, Ball and Kerr, under one helpline. Kerr’s old 800 number was returned to the phone company, she said, and the phone company assigned it to a phone sex company. 

“We attempted all we could to get that number back,” Harrold said. “But once it was released, there was nothing we could do.” 

Kerr’s new packaging is printed with the consolidated 800 number. Morrison wasn’t sure she would try the other number. 

“I might just put everything in the refrigerator and eat it now rather than messing with another number,” she said. 


SEATTLE (AP) — It didn’t take long for Barb Trenchi to spot her car after she reported it stolen: It was speeding toward her, with police in hot pursuit. 

“I guess it missed me by about 4 inches,” she told The Herald of Everett. 

Trenchi reported the stolen car Thursday morning and then took the bus to her job in downtown Seattle. 

After getting off the bus, she was crossing the street when she spotted a car barreling toward her, followed by police cars, their lights flashing. 

Trenchi said she barely stepped out of the way of the speeding car when she noticed the Vanderbilt sticker in the window and recognized it as her own. 

Police said the car ran a red light, swerved onto a sidewalk, hitting a woman, and then crashed into cars in a parking lot. 

The injured 67-year-old woman was taken to Harborview Medical Center with a broken leg and other injuries. 

Police arrested the driver and two other young men in the car. 

Trenchi said the heavily damaged car was being held by police for their investigation.