Claim: Woman gains revenge after being charged $250 by Neiman Marcus for a cookie recipe.
My daughter & I had just finished a salad at Neiman-Marcus Cafe in Dallas & decided to have a small dessert. Because our family 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 they said with a small frown, "I'm afraid not." Well, I said, would you let me buy the recipe? With a cute smile, she said, "Yes." I asked how much, and she responded, "Two fifty." I said with approval, just add it to my tab.
Thirty days later, I received my VISA statement from Neiman-Marcus and it 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." Boy, was I upset!! I called Neiman's Accounting Dept. and told them the waitress said it was "two fifty," and I did not realize she meant $250.00 for a cookie recipe. I asked them to take back the recipe and reduce my bill and they said they were sorry, but because all the recipes were this expensive so not just everyone could duplicate any of our bakery recipes....the bill would stand. I waited, thinking of how I could get even or even try and get any of my money back.
I just said, "Okay, you folks got my $250.00 and now I'm going to have $250.00 worth of fun." I told her that I was going to see to it that every cookie lover will have a $250.00 cookie recipe from Neiman-Marcus for nothing. She replied, "I wish you wouldn't do this." I said, "I'm sorry but this is the only way I feel I could get even," and I will.
So, here it is, and please pass it to someone else or run a few copies.... I paid for it; now you can have it for free. (Recipe may be halved):
2 cups butter
4 cups flour
2 tsp. soda
2 cups sugar
5 cups blended oatmeal**
24 oz. chocolate chips
2 cups brown sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 8 oz. Hershey Bar (grated)
2 tsp. baking powder
3 cups chopped nuts (your choice)
2 tsp. vanilla
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
** measure oatmeal and blend in a blender to a fine powder.
[Collected via e-mail, June 2009]
A little background:
Woolworths (South Africa), if you don't know already, is a very expensive clothing and supermarket outlet (they sell a typical R50
The waitress said with a small frown, 'I'm afraid not, but you can buy the recipe.'
I asked how much, and she responded; 'Only two fifty - it's a great deal'
I agreed to that, and told her to add it to my bill.
Thirty days later, I got my Visa statement, and the Woolworths charge was R485. I looked at it again, and I remembered I had only spent R49.95 for two sandwiches and about R120 for a scarf. At the bottom of the statement, it said, 'Cookie Recipe - R250.00'. That was outrageous!
I called Woolworths Accounting Department and told them the waitress had said it was 'two fifty', which clearly does not mean 'two hundred and fifty Rands' by any reasonable interpretation of the phrase. Woolworths 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.
I explained to the Accounting Department lady the criminal statutes which govern fraud in the state of Gauteng. I threatened to report them to the Better Business Bureau and The Attorney General's office. 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 said, OK, you've got my R250, and now I'm going to have R250 worth of fun. I told her that I was going to see to it that every cookie lover in the world with an
So here it is! Please pass it on to everyone you can possibly think of. I paid R250 for this, and I don't want Woolworths to EVER make another cent from this recipe!
WOOLIES COOKIES (Recipe may be halved as this makes heaps)
2 (500 ml) cups butter
680 g chocolate chips
4 (1000 ml) cups flour
2 (500 ml) cups brown sugar
2 tsp. (10 ml) Bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp. (5 ml) salt
2 (500 ml) cups sugar
500 g Grated Cadbury chocolate
5 (1250 ml) cups blended oatmeal
2 tsp. (10 ml) baking powder
2 tsp. (10 ml) vanilla
3 cups (375 ml) chopped nuts (optional)
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 bicarbonate of soda. Add chocolate chips, grated Chocolate and nuts. Roll into balls, and place two inches apart on a cookie sheet. Bake for
The above quantities make 112 cookies. Enjoy!
PLEASE KEEP THE RECIPE AND SEND IT TO EVERY PERSON YOU KNOW WHO HAS AN
This is not a joke-it's a true story.
Though its present incarnation casts the Neiman Marcus chain of department stores as the bad guy, this legend has been around for at least
The 1960s saw this tale mutate into a villainization of New York's famed Waldorf-Astoria hotel over a dessert known as "Red Velvet Cake." A woman who'd dined at the hotel later wrote to ask for the recipe. The recipe
($350 was a shocking figure for those times. Just to give an idea of the relative worth of things back then, the grocery budget at my house was $50 a week for a family of four. Faced with a $35 dentist bill, my mother would for the next two weeks stand over me as I brushed my teeth at bedtime, making sure I wasn't half doing the job and thus sentencing the family to the poor house.)
By the late 1970s, this legend had shifted to
Two decades after it spiked in popularity through forwarded e-mails, the Neiman-Marcus cookie story evolved and spread on a new medium: Facebook. In early January 2016, tens of thousands of Facebook users re-shared the well-worn tale anew; while much changed between its appearance in 1996 and re-appearance in 2016, the "two-fifty" aspect of the tale remained intact. Precisely why the decades-old tale was received so readily by a social media audience was unclear, but the legend's reinvigorated popularity might have been partly generational.
As the latest in a long line of victims, Neiman Marcus has fielded numerous inquiries about the following tale (which I've excerpted from the rather lengthy canonical version):
Thirty days later, I received my VISA statement from Neiman-Marcus and it 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." Boy, was I upset!! I called Neiman's Accounting Dept. and told them the waitress said it was "two fifty," and I did not realize she meant $250.00 for a cookie recipe.
Especially in the particular case of Neiman Marcus, the legend is even more improbable than usual in that:
- There was no such thing as a "Neiman-Marcus" cookie when this tale began circulating about that company. They developed a chocolate chip cookie in response to the rumor.
- There is no "Neiman Marcus Cafe" at any of the chain's three Dallas-area stores. Instead, the restaurants are named Zodiac, Zodiac at North Park, and The Woods.
- Neiman Marcus does not sell recipes from its restaurants. The department store gives them away for free to anyone who asks and openly
publishedtheir chocolate chip cookie recipe on their web site).
As to why this legend has taken on a life of its own despite persistent and detailed
Barbara "just desserts" Mikkelson
Last updated: 6 January 2016
Originally published: 3 November 1999
Brunvand, Jan Harold. Curses! Broiled Again! New York: W. W. Norton, 1989. ISBN 0-393-30711-5 (pp. 219-226). de Vos, Gail. Tales, Rumors and Gossip. Englewood: Libraries Unlimited, 1996. ISBN 1-56308-190-3 (pp. 19-20, 38). FOAFTale News. "More Cookie Bills and Recipes." December 1995 (p. 10). FOAFTale News. "And That Cookie in the Globe . . ." June 1996 (pp. 9-10).
Also told in:
Barreca, Regina. Sweet Revenge: The Wicked Delights of Getting Even. New York: Harmony Books, 1995. ISBN 0-517-59757-8 (p. 163-165). The Big Book of Urban Legends. New York: Paradox Press, 1994. ISBN 1-56389-165-4 (p. 180).