The Neiman Marcus Cookie Recipe fiasco that was circulated mostly on the Internet was a replay of the generalized American expensive-recipe story which had its earliest known roots in the 1940s, or even earlier. The original story described (in first person) how a woman and her daughter enjoy lunch in a café of the Neiman Marcus store in Dallas, and for dessert they order chocolate-chip Neiman Marcus Cookie Recipe, the recipe of which, the waitress informs them, is “only two-fifty.” When she later discovers that that amount was $250 and not $2.50 on her monthly credit card bill, the same mother demands a refund. When refused, she promises to give away to recipe for free to as many people as possible using the email to circulate it world-wide. The recipe, however, is nearly identical to the one circulated earlier for another store (Marshall Fields – a Chicago based store) to Neiman Marcus.
The ingredients of the cookie as stated by the woman in her email included butter, flour, sugar, oatmeal, Hershey Bar, eggs, vanilla, chopped nuts, soda and some salt. To prepare the batch, the ingredients were mixed, rolled into balls and placed two inches apart on a cookie sheet, baked for 10 – 15 minutes at a heat of 375 – and viola! Delicious Neiman Marcus Cookie Recipe !
The company in a very good natured-way denies the story on its website (www.naimanmarcus.com), and provides a free cookie recipe and compares that with the recipe being circulated.
The Neiman Marcus Cookie Recipe has enjoyed a ton of popularity on the Internet. Although some people would recognize its logical flaws: why the company would not have anticipated that it could not get away with charging an unreasonable fee for a recipe? Would they not have realized that the recipe could be shared? Further, wouldn’t the company have the foresight to realized that the exploitation would antagonize customers and damage the business’s public image?
The Neiman Marcus Cookie Recipe email has been debunked as an “urban legend” and an e-mail hoax. But it did gather a lot of attention, in most part due to the application of the Internet as a medium of distribution. Ordinary citizens wrote angry letters to the Neiman Marcus department store chain and as many sympathetic emails were sent to the stores managers demanding a rfund. The hype was to infect the receiver with a motivation to send them along and although, like in other spam emails, there is no real computer virus behind the email, the email is itself the virus and the receiver is the intended host.
The Neiman Marcus Cookie Recipe hoax was one of the first to employ the Internet as a medium of distribution. It was nothing more than an extended rumor, but because of its wide-spread distribution, many feel for it and believed it as real. Others also purchased its associated ingredients and attempted to prepare the cookies itself.
The Neiman Marcus Cookie Recipe proved just how vulnerable the Internet population really is. When a story comes up which appears to have some elements of truth, they believe it to be real, and pass on the message without doing enough homework on the matter. Next time a Neiman Marcus Cookie Recipe hype comes up – do some research!