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Oprah Free Chicken Coupon Chaos: The Backlash, The Rain Check, The Reckoning

As our nation's saga of poultry pandemonium continues, this just in: KFC locations to hand out chicken rain checks to poor disgruntled saps who were denied free grilled fowl despite their original Oprah-website-issued free chicken coupons. Confusion reigns in the Oprah free chicken coupon world. Chaos.

And biscuits.

Demand for chicken yesterday was so high (over 10 million coupons downloaded) that participating stores quickly ran out of the promised grilled bird. Riots and sit-ins took place. People reported technical glitches with the coupon-printing software. KFC store managers screamed.

Now, every coupon-carrying customer who shows up at a KFC will get a second coupon entitling them to yet another free meal plus free soft drink. To clarify: you can use BOTH coupons. Which means three pieces of chicken total.

Will history repeat itself?

Says Roger Eaton, KFC President:

"We are so sorry, but due to the overwhelming response to our FREE Kentucky Grilled Chicken meal coupon, we can no longer redeem the free coupon at this time. But we will honor our commitment to giving you a free Kentucky Grilled Chicken meal. Please visit a participating KFC restaurant for a rain check form. Complete the form, attach your original coupon, and give it to the KFC restaurant manager...we'll send you a rain check for your free Kentucky Grilled Chicken meal at a later date, plus a free Pepsi with our compliments."

A hotline has been established for the traumatized. Calling 1-800-CALL-KFC brings you to the following menu: "Press one if you are calling regarding the online coupon from the Oprah show and the rain check policy. Press two if you are calling regarding issues not related to the Oprah online coupon."

Those having difficulty dealing with the "Oprah KFC nightmare"--as the syndrome is being described in various blogs--may leave a message describing their experience or send an email. But they may not speak with a human. (At this time, the hotline is very apologetically outgoing info only.)

How quickly love turns to hate. Free-chicken-coupon backlash has been severe. "Oprah must have really un-thunk when she ran this campaign...Say NO to free chicken!" says one videoblogger.

And how quickly that hate turns to sadness. "Why don't they honor it in Hawaii?" asked an anonymous commenter on Oprah's site. "We are hungry too."

"I thought thank God now I can eat until payday," mourns another. "What a disappointment."

Having realized it is dangerous to promise free food during a recession and then fail to deliver, KFC and Oprah are trying to make amends. But already there is backlash to the reparations: "Try feeding your family a rain check," says yet another commenter, an unknown chicken-hungry soul. "It's not so easy."


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