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Neiman Marcus Cookie Hoax - $250 Cookie Recipe

Summary:
Email claims that a person tricked into paying $250 for the Neiman Marcus Cookie recipe is taking revenge against the company by distributing the recipe for free (Full commentary below.)



Status:
False

Example:(Submitted, May 2005)
Subject: FW: COOKIE RECIPE!

A GREAT STORY...And a delicious recipe!!!!!

THIS IS A TRUE STORY!
My daughter and I had just finished a salad at a Neiman-Marcus Cafe in Dallas, and we decided to have a small dessert. Because both of us are such cookie lovers, we decided to try the "Neiman-Marcus cookie." It was so excellent that I asked if they would give me the recipe, and the waitress said with a small frown, "I'm afraid not, but you can buy the recipe."

Well, I asked how much, and she responded, "Only two fifty-it's a great deal!" I agreed to that, and told her to just add it to my tab.

Thirty days later, I received my VISA statement, and the Neiman-Marcus charge was $285.00! I looked again, and I remembered I had only spent $9.95 for two salads and about $20.00 for a scarf. As I glanced at the bottom of the statement, it said, "Cookie Recipe-$250.00". That was outrageous!

I called Neiman's Accounting Department and told them the waitress said it was "two fifty", which clearly does not mean "two hundred and fifty dollars" by any reasonable interpretation of the phrase. Neiman-Marcus refused to budge. They would not refund my money because, according to them, "What the waitress told you is not our problem. You have already seen the recipe. We absolutely will not refund your money at this point."

I explained to the Accounting Department lady the criminal statutes which govern fraud in the state of Texas. I threatened to report them to the Better Business Bureau and the Texas Attorney General's office for engaging in fraud. I was basically told, "Do what you want. Don't bother thinking of how you can get even, and don't bother trying to get any of your money back."

I just said, "Okay, you folks got my $250, and now I'm going to have $250 worth of fun." I told her that I was going to see to it that every cookie lover in the United States with an e-mail account has a $250 cookie recipe from Neiman-Marcus...for free. She replied, "I wish you wouldn't do this." I said, "Well, perhaps you should have thought of that before you ripped off!" and slammed down the phone.

So here it is!

Please, please, please pass it on to everyone you can possibly think of. I paid $250 for this, and I don't want Neiman-Marcus to EVER make another penny from this recipe!

NEIMAN-MARCUS COOKIES (Recipe may be halved)

2 cups butter
24 oz.chocolate chips
4 cups flour
2 cups brown sugar
2 tsp. soda
1 tsp. salt
2 cups sugar
1 8 oz. Hershey Bar (grated)
5 cups blended oatmeal
4 eggs
2 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. vanilla
3 cups chopped nuts (your choice)

Measure oatmeal, and blend in a blender to a fine powder.
Cream the butter and both sugars.
Add eggs and vanilla, mix together with flour, oatmeal, salt, baking powder, and soda.
Add chocolate chips, Hershey Bar, and nuts.
Roll into balls, and place two inches apart on a cookie sheet.
Bake for 10 minutes at 375 degrees. Makes 112 cookies.

PLEASE READ THE RECIPE AND SEND IT TO EVERY PERSON YOU KNOW WHO HAS AN E-MAIL ADDRESS! THE COOKIES ARE REALLY TERRIFIC!! Even if the people on your e-mail list don't eat sweets, send it to them and ask them to pass it on. Let's make sure we get this lady's $250.00 worth. Enjoy the cookies, they are good




Commentary:

©iStockphoto.com/YinYang

Choc Chip Cookies
Claims that Neiman Marcus charged a customer $250 for a cookie recipe are untrue
This email forward declares itself to be a "great story". While it may well be a great story - a tale of an ordinary person striking a decisive blow against a large and greedy business entity is bound to be a popular one - it is a story of the fictitious variety. There is simply no truth at all in this tale. Neiman Marcus does not sell its cookie recipe for $250 or even $2.50. Neiman Marcus has rather elegantly debunked this hoax by openly publishing the recipe on its website, along with the following disclaimer:

An urban myth is a modern folk tale, its origins unknown, its believability enhanced simply by the frequency with which it is repeated. Our signature chocolate chip cookie is the subject of one such myth. If you haven't heard the story, we won't perpetuate it here. If you have, the recipe below should serve to refute it. Copy it, print it out, pass it along to friends and family. It's a terrific recipe. And it's absolutely free.
Very similar tales have been around for many a long year. During the 1920's there was a popular urban legend involving the unintended purchase of an exorbitantly priced Red Velvet Cake recipe from New York's Waldorf-Astoria Hotel. Another equally untrue version of the story targeted the Mrs Fields company during the 1980's. This version involved a chocolate-chip cookie recipe and was remarkably similar to the Neiman Marcus story, even down to the $250 price tag.

In fact, the Neiman Marcus cookie hoax is just a more current reworking of these older stories. The actual recipe included with the emails tends to vary somewhat. Other details and circumstances outlined in the email may also vary. Another common version of the hoax replaces Neiman Marcus with South African retailer Woolworths and switches dollars for rands. Whatever the details, this email should not be forwarded. By all means try the recipe. If the resulting cookies are good, you might even want to share it with your friends. But, if you do share the recipe, be sure to leave out the nonsense about Neiman Marcus charging $250 for it.

References:
NM Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe
Woolworths Two Hundred And Fifty Rand Cookie Recipe Hoax

Last updated: 15th July 2009
First published: May 2005

Write-up by Brett M. Christensen