Fortune cookie breach of promise

A class-action lawsuit you might want to join...

Like a lot of other people in the Milky Way Galaxy, I enjoy Chinese food and order takeout about once a week.

And every time I get a takeout order they include fortune cookies which I faithfully open and read because they seem to have just as much chance of being right as your average stockbroker, political pollster or the people who get paid to make preseason sports predictions.

But lately I’ve begun to have my doubts.

At this late stage of life I feel the fortune cookie industry has made me a lot of promises that haven’t been kept and it turn out I’m on pretty solid legal ground.

Just read this bit I got off the internet:

“Promissory estoppel is the legal principle that a promise is enforceable by law, even if made without formal consideration when a promisor has made a promise to a promisee who then relies on that promise to his subsequent detriment.”

Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, allow me to present my case.

Actual fortune cookies I have received

Once I started thinking about all the promises those cookie-making bastards have broken I started collecting fortunes as evidence for what I assume will be class-action lawsuit against the FCC – Fortune Cookie Cartel.

Now here are some of the fortunes I received over the past few months:

“Your current plans will work out within the year.”

The time limit on this one isn’t up yet, but if I don’t hear from the people at Publishers Clearing House before January 1, I’m calling my lawyer.

First, I’ll actually have to get a lawyer, but if the ads on TV are accurate, I won’t have any trouble finding someone who truly cares about me and not the billable hours they’ll rack up while listening to me whine.

“You will never have to worry about a regular income.”

Actually, the FCC got this one right. I receive a pension check from the Kansas City Star and every month the good people at Social Security make a deposit in my bank account, so all I have to do to collect is keep breathing.

And should I stop breathing, I guess I still won’t have to worry about a regular income, so let’s put this one down as a win for the fortune cookie guys.

“You have a way with words; you should write a book.”

Actually, I wrote two books, but neither one was a financial success which, now that I think about it, the fortune didn’t come right out and promise. (Those Cookie Cartel guys are slippery.)

“You deserve respect and someday you’ll get it.”

This was an actual fortune I received and made me wonder when Rodney Dangerfield started writing fortune cookies. Rodney died in 2004 so that bit of wisdom must have been in the cookie pipeline for at least 15 years before it reached my dining table and judging by the staleness of the cookie it came in, 15 years seems like a pretty good guess.

“You will soon be receiving a phone call with exciting news.”

Unless a robo-call about my college debt qualifies – and I didn’t actually attend college – I’m still waiting. Like a lot of you, I no longer answer calls from numbers I don’t recognize which may give the fortune cookie people an out: maybe one of those unanswered calls was the one I’ve been promised.

The other day I got a call from – and I’m not kidding – Algeria, which I didn’t answer, but I now regret that move. Even if it wasn’t the call that would make my fortune, it would have been wildly entertaining to hear an Algerian express concern about the college debt I racked up while attending Batna City College.

“Your courage will help others and soon will make a leader.”

Still waiting for my troops to assemble…and what’s up with all this “soon” crap?

That’s pretty damn vague and reminds me of the sleight of hand pulled by drug company commercials showing happy people living improved lives because of some new drug, while at the bottom of the screen in type that requires the use of the Hubble Telescope to be legible, are listed all the ways that drug’s side-effects might cause you to grow a second head.

“You will soon gain something you’ve always wanted.”

Nope, just checked the bathroom mirror and it’s still about six inches.

(OK, as soon as I thought of that joke I thought maybe I shouldn’t use it, but then I thought what the fuck, it’s the internet and it won’t even make the top 10 list of disturbing stuff you’ll encounter on any given day. So while you may disapprove of my using that joke, I’d at least like a little credit for feeling bad about it…but clearly not bad enough to not use it.)

My lucky numbers

A subset of the fortune cookie scam is the distribution of lucky numbers, which in my case include:

17, 27, 30, 33, 41, 44, 11, 18, 34, 39, 44, 48, 7, 10, 26, 29, 39, 44, 8, 18, 20, 24, 26 and 39.

As you might have noticed 44 and 39 came up three times and 26 came up twice, which makes me think they’re running out of lucky numbers to throw in my direction.

Which brings up a question: how come nobody’s lucky number is in five digits? Why can’t your lucky number be 12,932?

On the other hand, you might be hard pressed to use it as a uniform number unless you’re a professional ballplayer who has no shot of making the big league team out of spring training.

(OK, my apologies. That was an inside baseball joke and it wasn’t that hot a joke to start with, so how about I try something a little more secular in the next paragraph?)

Take 2:

Which brings up a question: if you suggest Chinese food for dinner, someone might say “I had Chinese for lunch” and want something else, so with 1.4 billion people living in China, do you think anyone there looks at dinner and says; “Chinese again?”

(Gotta say I’m not sure the second take was any better than the first, so how about I quit beating this deceased horse and we move on?)

A brief history of the fortune cookie

After doing a very brief amount of research on the internet – my specialty – it appears that fortune cookies may not be Chinese in origin and might have originated in Chinese restaurants on the West Coast (and I assume they mean the West Coast attached to this country) in the early 1900s. 

And according to a 2016 CNN article (which may no longer be accurate) most of the fortunes we read are written by Donald Lau, Chief Financial Officer of Wonton Food Company; the largest fortune cookie manufacturer in the world.

I’m basing my life on the ramblings of a CFO?

Up until now I assumed I was reading the musing of some wise man sitting on a Tibetan mountain top, scribbling his advice on tiny strips of paper. Then, once a month a guy leading a blind mule would make the trek up the mountain to collect those thoughts and distribute them to the outside world via orders of Egg Foo Yung, which makes me wonder if there is such a thing as Egg Foo Old and how you pronounce General Tso without sounding so white you’re practically clear.

So anyway…

We’re not reading the thoughts of somebody descended from Confucius and I think that’s a clear case of corporate misrepresentation as well as breach of promise and the only logical remedy is for the Wonton Food Company to be penalized one beeellion dollars which will be deposited in my bank account to be distributed as I see fit.

So if you feel that you have also been victimized by the Fortune Cookie Cartel, leave your names for inclusion in our class action lawsuit and if I’m any kind of legal expert, we’ll all get rich.

Soon.