Recession weapons: Can't afford guns? Use Cheetos!

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It's been a pretty amazing week for snack foods. In addition to delivering nacho cheese and big, crunchy flavor, Frito Lay's Cheetos and Doritos brands have also been offering a hearty helping of domestic warfare and illicit sex.

No, this trend isn't part of a new prize promotion, although it is worth asking what, exactly, the company has been putting into its snacks. In Shelbyville, Tenn., for example, one of Frito Lay's products apparently inspired a couple to go face-to-face in a battle royale. Their weapon of choice? Cheetos.

Yes, Cheetos. The little orange squiggles of corn, oil, and fake cheese are, apparently, a major incitement to violence. According to Cpl. Kevin Roddy of the Bedford County Sheriff's department, 40-year-old James Earl Taylor and 44-year-old Mary S. Childers were involved in "a verbal altercation" that escalated until the two were hurling puffy cheese crunchies at each other.Roddy went on to note that "there was evidence of the assault [but there were] no physical marks on either party and the primary aggressor was unable to be determined." It is unclear what the "evidence of the assault" consisted of, but one assumes orange fingers would be a big tip-off.

Roddy charged both Taylor and Childers with domestic assault, and both were released on $2,500 bail. They will appear in Bedford County court on July 15. Hopefully, security personnel will be checking for snack foods at the door.

As if the Cheetos assault incident wasn't enough, an Oklahoma-based employee of Frito Lay ran afoul of the law when he allegedly purchased the affections of a prostitute in return for a case of Doritos.

The snack-loving woman, Lahoma Sue Smith, was parked in an area known for prostitution, and alerted police to her presence when she began "trying to catch a date" by flashing her headlights. Her customer, who hasn't been named, apparently didn't have any money. However, Smith was willing to exchange her favors for the chips, which were valued at $30.

When officers approached Smith's car, she and her passenger were partially undressed. The police charged Smith with prostitution and driving on a suspended license, to which she pleaded not guilty. She was fined $1,142, and there is no word on whether she was allowed to keep the Doritos.

Apart from the fact that Frito Lay may have just found three of its most compelling future spokespeople, there is a larger question about the increasingly powerful position that snack foods have taken in America's economy. From weapons of domestic violence to the coin of the realm, it seems like, for scofflaws at least, Frito Lay might be all that and a bag of chips!

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