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10 Terrible Overreactions to Messed Up Fast Food Orders

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It’s happened to all of us. You ordered a Big Mac at the McDonald’s drive-thru, but when you got home and opened the bag, you discovered a Filet-O-Fish in its place. When this conundrum arises, most people choose between three options: toss the offending food, eat the offending food, or return to the esteemed establishment from whence the food came and kindly ask for a replacement.

Those are all perfectly acceptable responses. These 10 reactions are not.

1. Fire shots

In February, a Grand Rapids woman placed an order at a McDonald’s drive-thru. It was wrong, allegedly missing bacon. Understanding just how upsetting missing bacon can be, the workers apologized and promised that her next order would be on the house, so the woman returned at 3 a.m. for her free meal. It was also incorrect. Rather than ordering again and running the risk that it, too, would be wrong, Shaneka Torres pulled out a gun and shot through the closed car window and the drive-thru window. Luckily, no one was injured.

2. Call 911

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When her local Subway put the wrong kind of sauce on her sandwich and refused to make her a new one, Bevalente Hall was determined to right the wrong. She dialed 911 and reported the malicious use of marinara—pizza sauce was her preference—and demanded the presence of an officer immediately. The officer that arrived promptly arrested Hall for misuse of the 911 system, jailed her for three minutes, and released her on a $2000 bond.

You can hear the call here

3. Call 911 three times.

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In 2009, Latreasa Goodman walked into a McDonald’s in Fort Pierce, Florida, and ordered chicken nuggets. After she paid for said nuggets, Goodman was told that the restaurant had actually just run out. She asked for her money back, but employees denied her, trying to sell her a McDouble instead. Goodman called 911. The first dispatcher suggested that Goodman talk to a manager, but promised to send someone. After she called back a third time, an officer finally arrived and charged Goodman with misuse of 911. McDonald’s corporate offices said that a refund should have been issued and said they were sending her a gift card.

4. Throw the food ... then call 911.

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Breakfast enthusiasts Michael and Nova Smith ordered early-morning value meals at McDonald’s in Mesa, Arizona. When they received their bags, the Smiths noticed that something was terribly, terribly awry: Their hashbrowns were missing. Not just one of the hashbrowns. Both of the hashbrowns. Enraged at this injustice, Nova threw the meals at the cashiers while Michael dialed 911. “I was barely able to hold myself back,” Michael said. “If not for the 911 call operator holding me back, I probably would have went berserk.” Because employees were hit with food, the couple was charged with assault.

5. Get in a SWAT Team shootout.

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In 2011, a Taco Bell in San Antonio ended the promotion they were having on the Beefy Crunch Burrito, which raised the price from 99 cents to $1.49. Frequent customer Ricardo Jones discovered the price increase after ordering seven of the Beefy Crunch Burritos, and became so enraged at the higher bill that he shot at the drive-thru window cashier, then pulled out another handgun and an assault rifle and put them on the roof of his car. He didn’t use them at Taco Bell, though. Jones was found at a hotel two miles away where he engaged in a four-hour shootout with the SWAT team. He was finally forced out of his room with tear gas and arrested.

6. Ram the car in front of you in the drive-thru.

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Timothy Braddee, Jr., had such an Arby’s craving in 2010 that he couldn’t wait for the slowpoke in front of him in line. After placing his order, Braddee began flashing his high beams at the car in front of him, then rammed the vehicle with his SUV. The customer moved aside, then immediately contacted the manager. Braddee, now at the coveted food-dispensing window, was told that he couldn’t harass customers. He responded by pointing a loaded rifle at the manager, then driving away, presumably without the food that he so desperately wanted. Police later found Braddee passed out at his home with a blood alcohol level of .191.

7. Impersonate a cop.

In March, Austin Schoor got excessively angry when he received the wrong order at a Palm Beach, Florida, Burger King. His reaction was so extreme that managers threatened to call the police—which is when Schoor said, “Call the police. I’m an officer.” The manager called his bluff, which is when the real police got involved. Schoor amended his story, saying that he actually had been a member of the West Palm Beach Fire Rescue, not the police. Police called the West Palm Beach Fire Rescue, who said that Schoor had not worked for them in more than a year. He was arrested and released on $1000 bail.

8. Get hot under the collar over hot sauce.

Apparently no one told Jeremy Combs that getting hot sauce packets at Taco Bell is as easy as asking for them. When Combs noticed his drive-thru order was missing the spicy condiment, he pulled a 12-gauge shotgun on the cashier at the window. He didn’t fire, and was arrested at his aunt’s house two hours later, still intoxicated.

9. Refuse to leave the drive-thru.

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Last summer, Kimberly Womack pulled up to a McDonald’s with an infallible ruse to collect free breakfast. Though it was 6:30am, she requested two Big Macs. When the cashier responded that they didn’t make breakfast Big Macs, Womack demanded two free Egg McMuffins instead. The manager refused, but Womack stood her ground at the drive-thru for more than 10 minutes. Deputies eventually approached her car; she informed them that her rights were being violated. Upon her arrest, she was probably surprised to learn that “free Egg McMuffins” is not right up there with freedom of speech and freedom of the press.

10. Threaten to assume your ultimate form.

Melodi Dushane knows what it’s like to crave the wrong menu at the wrong hour. When she was refused chicken nuggets during breakfast hours at an East Toledo, Ohio, McDonald’s, Dushane got out of her car and hissed at the drive-thru attendant, then reached through the window and punched her in the face. She eventually shattered the window, but only after spewing forth all sorts of unlikely threats. Here’s the video. There’s some salty language. Goes great with fries.

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iStock // Ekaterina Minaeva
Man Buys Two Metric Tons of LEGO Bricks; Sorts Them Via Machine Learning
May 21, 2017
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iStock // Ekaterina Minaeva

Jacques Mattheij made a small, but awesome, mistake. He went on eBay one evening and bid on a bunch of bulk LEGO brick auctions, then went to sleep. Upon waking, he discovered that he was the high bidder on many, and was now the proud owner of two tons of LEGO bricks. (This is about 4400 pounds.) He wrote, "[L]esson 1: if you win almost all bids you are bidding too high."

Mattheij had noticed that bulk, unsorted bricks sell for something like €10/kilogram, whereas sets are roughly €40/kg and rare parts go for up to €100/kg. Much of the value of the bricks is in their sorting. If he could reduce the entropy of these bins of unsorted bricks, he could make a tidy profit. While many people do this work by hand, the problem is enormous—just the kind of challenge for a computer. Mattheij writes:

There are 38000+ shapes and there are 100+ possible shades of color (you can roughly tell how old someone is by asking them what lego colors they remember from their youth).

In the following months, Mattheij built a proof-of-concept sorting system using, of course, LEGO. He broke the problem down into a series of sub-problems (including "feeding LEGO reliably from a hopper is surprisingly hard," one of those facts of nature that will stymie even the best system design). After tinkering with the prototype at length, he expanded the system to a surprisingly complex system of conveyer belts (powered by a home treadmill), various pieces of cabinetry, and "copious quantities of crazy glue."

Here's a video showing the current system running at low speed:

The key part of the system was running the bricks past a camera paired with a computer running a neural net-based image classifier. That allows the computer (when sufficiently trained on brick images) to recognize bricks and thus categorize them by color, shape, or other parameters. Remember that as bricks pass by, they can be in any orientation, can be dirty, can even be stuck to other pieces. So having a flexible software system is key to recognizing—in a fraction of a second—what a given brick is, in order to sort it out. When a match is found, a jet of compressed air pops the piece off the conveyer belt and into a waiting bin.

After much experimentation, Mattheij rewrote the software (several times in fact) to accomplish a variety of basic tasks. At its core, the system takes images from a webcam and feeds them to a neural network to do the classification. Of course, the neural net needs to be "trained" by showing it lots of images, and telling it what those images represent. Mattheij's breakthrough was allowing the machine to effectively train itself, with guidance: Running pieces through allows the system to take its own photos, make a guess, and build on that guess. As long as Mattheij corrects the incorrect guesses, he ends up with a decent (and self-reinforcing) corpus of training data. As the machine continues running, it can rack up more training, allowing it to recognize a broad variety of pieces on the fly.

Here's another video, focusing on how the pieces move on conveyer belts (running at slow speed so puny humans can follow). You can also see the air jets in action:

In an email interview, Mattheij told Mental Floss that the system currently sorts LEGO bricks into more than 50 categories. It can also be run in a color-sorting mode to bin the parts across 12 color groups. (Thus at present you'd likely do a two-pass sort on the bricks: once for shape, then a separate pass for color.) He continues to refine the system, with a focus on making its recognition abilities faster. At some point down the line, he plans to make the software portion open source. You're on your own as far as building conveyer belts, bins, and so forth.

Check out Mattheij's writeup in two parts for more information. It starts with an overview of the story, followed up with a deep dive on the software. He's also tweeting about the project (among other things). And if you look around a bit, you'll find bulk LEGO brick auctions online—it's definitely a thing!

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Nick Briggs/Comic Relief
What Happened to Jamie and Aurelia From Love Actually?
May 26, 2017
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Nick Briggs/Comic Relief

Fans of the romantic-comedy Love Actually recently got a bonus reunion in the form of Red Nose Day Actually, a short charity special that gave audiences a peek at where their favorite characters ended up almost 15 years later.

One of the most improbable pairings from the original film was between Jamie (Colin Firth) and Aurelia (Lúcia Moniz), who fell in love despite almost no shared vocabulary. Jamie is English, and Aurelia is Portuguese, and they know just enough of each other’s native tongues for Jamie to propose and Aurelia to accept.

A decade and a half on, they have both improved their knowledge of each other’s languages—if not perfectly, in Jamie’s case. But apparently, their love is much stronger than his grasp on Portuguese grammar, because they’ve got three bilingual kids and another on the way. (And still enjoy having important romantic moments in the car.)

In 2015, Love Actually script editor Emma Freud revealed via Twitter what happened between Karen and Harry (Emma Thompson and Alan Rickman, who passed away last year). Most of the other couples get happy endings in the short—even if Hugh Grant's character hasn't gotten any better at dancing.

[h/t TV Guide]