MELBOURNE, Australia — “This will ruin Australia,” declared a tv information presenter.
It “Threatens to Tear Nation Apart,” learn a headline on a well-liked information web site.
The furor spilled onto social media too on Wednesday, as residents decried an “outrageous” suggestion that will upend many years of custom, and which at its core was declared “BEYOND ridiculous.”
The existential risk? A ironmongery store’s suggestion that individuals put onions beneath a sausage as a substitute of on high.
Bunnings Warehouse, a nationwide chain of almost 300 shops, could not have anticipated it, however the effort to dispense culinary recommendation as if it had been dwelling restore led to a national meltdown.
The dialogue received so fevered that Prime Minister Scott Morrison discovered himself fielding a reporter’s query on Wednesday about whether or not Bunnings’s steerage was “un-Australian.”
He delicately weighed into the fray.
“Whether the onions are on top or underneath, I’ll always be buying sausages on bread,” Mr. Morrison stated.
For the uninitiated, a splash of context: Australian neighborhood teams typically arrange fund-raiser barbecues exterior Bunnings places, at which they promote open-faced sausage sandwiches, sometimes composed of a sausage, fried onions and tomato sauce (identified to Americans as ketchup) on a slice of white bread.
The chain, it appears, was anxious that individuals consuming the sausages would enter their shops and drop onions on the ground, main different prospects to slide, fall and maybe sue.
“Onions can be slippery when they fall out of a sausage sandwich,” Bunnings wrote in a flier distributed to neighborhood teams that included directions for setting up a sandwich. “To make sure that onions don’t end up on the ground and pose a slipping risk, please apply a small amount of onion to the bread under the sausage when serving.”
Australians, who take delight of their “sausage sizzles,” immediately responded with outrage. For many, the guidance was nothing short of an attack on their personal freedom. Yet again.
In a country that prides itself on outback ingenuity and self-reliance, the onion slippage scheme seemed to just confirm (for some, at least) that they are living in a nanny state, where the government legislates too much of their lives: from requiring helmets when bicycling to dictating the times they are allowed to have a drink.
The irony of a store that encourages customers to “do it yourself,” regulating the minutiae of sausage and onion construction, was not lost on its customers.
“I think its ridiculous,” Liam Magee, a co-owner of Massive Wieners, a hot dog restaurant in Melbourne, said of Bunnings’s onion policy.
Mr. Magee said his restaurant placed onions beneath a sausage upon request only — usually from customers with beards who wanted to minimize mess. “We call it an underdog,” he said. But, he added, “if you don’t see the onion, it’s going to reduce prebite satisfaction.”
Others pointed out that the supposed safety measures might actually increase the risk of spillage; the greasy onion might make the bread soggy, possibly even splitting it open.
Worse still, the controversy led citizens to learn that their compatriots in Western Australia don’t put their sausages on white bread, but on rolls, akin to American hot dogs.
Bunnings did its best to respond seriously to the barrage.
“Safety is always our No. 1 priority,” Debbie Poole, a spokeswoman for Bunnings Warehouse, said in a statement. “Regardless of how you like your onion and snag,” she said (using an Australia term for sausage), “we are confident this new serving suggestion will not impact the delicious taste or great feeling you get when supporting your local community group.”
The company denied that the guidance was really a marketing ploy intended to go viral.
“This is not about marketing,” Ms. Poole said. “This recommendation has been made in the best interest of customer safety.”
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