Maryland Blogger Alliance

Alliance FAQs

Latest MBA Posts

October 08, 2007

Think, what have you done?

Chinese fortune cookies so often contain fortunes that are insipid or totally inscrutable. That's one of the risks of eating at a Chinese restaurant. (Another being the risk of unintentionally ingesting parts of that cat you saw climbing out of the dumpster on your way into the restaurant.)

I realize that writing fortunes in fortune cookies is a hard life. So it's completely understandable that if you write fortunes for a living, you're an irascible individual with a grudge against humanity. And that you derive great pleasure from making people uncomfortable.

Even so, I don't recommend that you be too edgy. I mean, writing a fortune that says "While you're reading this, your wife's in bed with your best friend" is in extremely poor taste.

I'm not saying anyone ever wrote such a fortune, although last year's experience in Brooklyn makes me wonder.

What I'm saying is that if you think it's amusing to write "Your problem just got bigger. Think, what have you done?" or "Your luck is just not there. Attend to practical matters today," or, even better, to write "Today is a disastrous day. If you can't beat 'em, join 'em," you at least have an obligation to put your name and phone number on the back of the fortune so we can show you just how disastrous your day is going to be.

Now, I know the writers aren't really responsible for the marketing plan here. Blame the boss:

Bernard Chow, marketing coordinator at Wonton Food, says he had not set out to insult anybody when he asked his team of freelance writers to come up with some new messages.

“We wanted our fortune cookies to be a little bit more value-added,” Mr. Chow said. “We wanted to get some different perspective, to write something that is more contemporary.”
Value-added, eh? Gotta love that.

I've got two value-added fortunes for Mr. Chow's staff: "While you wait for your $150 check to arrive, thousands burn you in effigy." My other one isn't printable.