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Shhh: 10 Make-or-Break Trade Secrets

8. Mrs. Field's Chocolate Chip Cookies

Secret recipes often inspire urban legends: Coke, for example, has been said to contain bugs, while McDonald's once had to deal with a rumor that they used chopped worms in its burgers. One of the most persistent rumors, however surrounds Mrs. Fields' cookies: according to the tale, a customer asked for the company's recipe and was told that she would have to pay "two fifty" for it. She agreed, assuming that she would have to pay $2.50, only to find that she was actually billed $250. In revenge, she allegedly passed the recipe around in order to devalue it. Later, the company's owner, Debbie Fields, publicly denounced the rumor, stating that she has never sold her recipe and it remains secret. Today, the urban legend has shifted slightly, claiming that Neiman Marcus is the overcharging culprit.

(AP Photo/Tony Dejak)

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