Who’s Solly Now? Threatening Fortune Cookies Land Restaurant Owner in Hot Water
For years, Chairman Wow’s was the most popular Chinese restaurant in Chrislip. Then another one opened.
Chairman Wow’s and Ed’s Food Yum coexisted for a while, with each restaurant catering to its own clientele. Little by little, though, Ed’s pulled ahead, and before long, it became the place to go in town for Oriental cuisine.
Li-Tsu Chen, owner of Chairman Wow’s, was not happy about the turn of events, but by all accounts he took his new second-place status in stride. Life went on as before at his restaurant. Then, about a month ago, his customers began noticing a change in the fortunes in their post-dinner fortune cookies. Rather than the usual “A trip is in your future” or “A new romance is just around the corner,” they began to see predictions such as “Your wife is screwing around on you” and “Tomorrow you will find blood in your stool.”
One customer called the Better Business Bureau, who referred him to the Fortune Cookie Regulatory Commission. The FCRC operates under the auspices of the Food and Drug Administration, and routinely monitors Chinese restaurants to make sure the fortunes in their cookies are prepared by a team of qualified clairvoyants, and not just by some guy.
During questioning, Li-Tsu Chen (whose name was Barry Galloway until he opened his restaurant) admitted to writing the derogatory fortunes himself.
“I was mad about the decline in business,” he said. “This was just my way of getting revenge.”
Asked why he chose to get revenge by giving threatening fortunes to the customers who were patronizing his own business, he answered, “I guess I didn’t think things through very well.”
The FCRC sentenced Chen to either a $20,000 fine or three hours of community service. He opted for the fine. “Nobody in this community ever serviced me,” he said bitterly.