People really, really, really like Nutella.
“They are like animals," a shopper in France told The Guardian. "One woman had her hair pulled. An elderly lady took a box on her head. Another had a bloody hand." Now, try to imagine the reason for such a scene. Did you guess "Nutella sale?" Because you'd be right. When France's Intermarché supermarket chain offered a 70% discount on 950 gram jars of Nutella, they probably did not guess the results would be a swathe customer chaos and even brawling across the country, so, whoops?
Whatever it is about Nutella that whips up such intense fervor, it had one store's staffer describe the scene like this: “People were piling in, they knocked everything over and broke stuff. It was an orgy." They nearly called the police. Other stores, meanwhile, did bring in law enforcement, even as they cranked out what would normally be three months worth of Nutella sales in a single day.
With the 950g jars of Nutella normally costing 4.50 Euros ($5.59), the discount to 1.41 Euros ($1.75) was admittedly a very good deal. But was the deal worth it? Not according to Intermarché, who said in a statement it regretted both the promotion and its consequences, and apologized for the "disagreeable events customers suffered."
Nutella's parent company, Ferrero, has just purchased Nestle's U.S. confectionery business, so hopefully they're taking this all into account. Yes, that acquisition opens the possibility of Nutella-integration into all sorts of snacks. But what they must heed from this particular incident is that to do so at too high a discount would also open another possibility: The possibility of unleashing a darkness that lurks in the heart of, apparently, all too many Nutella-loving human souls.