At least this time no firearms were used (see "Man Demands Hot Sauce at Gunpoint" (Sept. 22, 2011)), but for whatever reason there seems to be something extra stupid about resorting to violence over a little plastic thing of hot-pretzel dip.
According to some reports the fight was triggered by the fact that the two women were not given the dip they requested, but that's just sloppy reporting. Police said that when the women returned to the "Auntie Anne's" pretzel shop in Troy, Michigan, to ask for the correct dip, employees noted that they had already eaten part of the original dip and refused to give them a second one unless they paid for it. Words were exchanged after this outrage, and according to the women an employee then threw dip at them. The dip-flinging may have been the last straw but I think it was the unfair refusal that ultimately caused the benches to clear.
In this clip posted on Auntie Anne's Facebook page—a page that has been "liked" by three-quarters of a million people—the company's president says that he was "disappointed" to hear about the incident and assures us that he is "working very closely with [his] team to gather all the facts surrounding this situation." (He also seems to be working pretty hard to keep a straight face.)
Well, that's reassuring, but I'm not sure you need to bring in C.S.I. to get a handle on what happened here, to be honest. Although I would like to get a copy of the dip-spatter expert's report if they do.
Dip spatter flight characteristics
Experiments with dip have shown that a drop of dip tends to form into a sphere in flight rather than the artistic teardrop shape. This is what one would expect of a fluid in freefall. The formation of the sphere is a result of surface tension.
This spherical shape of dip in flight is important for the calculation of the angle of impact (incidence) of dip spatter when it hits a surface. That angle will be used to determine the point from which the dip originated.
Determining angles of impact
A dip droplet in freefall has the shape of an oscillating sphere. Should the droplet strike a surface and a well-formed stain is produced, an analyst can determine the angle at which this droplet struck the surface. This is based on the relationship between the length of the major axis, minor axis, and the angle of impact. A well-formed dip stain is in the shape of an ellipse, and the width-length ratio of this ellipse is the sine of the impact angle.
These days they have software to do all this, so hopefully we can expect results pretty quickly.