Maybe I should try changing restaurants

We decided to splurge on Chinese take-out tonight, and of course we got a fortune cookie. I opened mine up, and this is what it said:

If money really changes everything, then maybe you should try changing the money.

Say what? I’ve seen cryptic fortunes before, but this one was particularly puzzling. And stupid. I scratched my head over it a bit, thinking, “but does money really change everything?” and “how do I change the money? You mean like getting a roll of quarters?” Then I wondered what this has to do with me, or any customer for vegetable fried rice.

Then I flipped it over.

Jesus. FTX, the bankrupt cryptocurrency outfit, was promoting itself by marketing fucking fortune cookies? No wonder they crashed and burned.

The cookie wasn’t very good, either. Stale. I wonder how long China Panda will be serving bad financial advice with their cookies?


  1. brettvk says

    I’m getting old and this stuff shouldn’t keep surprising me, but I’m horrified that someone finally decided to put ads in fortune cookies.

  2. billseymour says

    “Belief in the status quo? …”

    Well, unlike the supernatural, the status quo does, in fact, exist; so that’s kind of like asking whether I believe in grass.  (That doesn’t mean that I think that the status quo is a good thing.)

  3. says

    I’ve been getting ads in fortune cookies for the last two years. Several from FTX, but also several from some job placement/temp agency website I had never heard of (which also had fortunes tied into the business, along the lines of “you should seek a major change in your lifestyle” and “you will find higher wages if you seek them”). They first started showing up at my local Chinese place, which has been having some problems (it’s a family business and given the changes to the food and who is manning the register I think maybe one of the chefs died), but then they started showing up at the other, more-of-a-hassle-to-get-to-but-more-reliable-quality pan-Asian place the next town over. And then sometime within the last couple of months they appear to have gone back to normal ones (I don’t eat out often enough to be sure when) — possibly the business which was sourcing them ran out of desperate tech firms to front.

  4. StevoR says

    If you take “money”” here as referring to those with (excessive amounts of) money ie the richest, say, 1% then that fortune cookie sounds like a metaphorical call to Revolution to me..

    Pity about the crypto scam flogging twist to it.

  5. Pierce R. Butler says

    Will that administrator in the Bahamas who ended up controlling all extant FTX assets recall all the cookies (or the “fortunes”)?

  6. nomaduk says

    You nay have seen cryptic fortunes before, but you haven’t seen crypto fortunes before, amiright?

  7. larpar says

    Coincidently, I had Chinese takeout today. First time in several years. I threw out the fortune cookies without looking at the message. Unfortunately, tomorrow is trash pick-up day and I already took it out to the curb.

  8. bcw bcw says

    On of the best fortune cookies I got “Hold fast to dreams, For if dreams die, Life is a broken-winged bird, That cannot fly.”
    Which is poem by Langston Hughes. I have this image of a English Lit PhD writing fortune cookie scripts to pay his way.

  9. bsr0 says

    I’ve never seen an ad in one (just a matter of time, I’m sure).

    One of my pet peeves is that most of them these days aren’t actual fortunes. Instead of “You will choke on an eggroll and die next week.” (something potentially of interest) it’s “Be good, and you’ll attain happiness.” Boooooring!

    …and technically NOT a fortune!

    I do like the cookies, so I always eat them. Unless they’re stale.

  10. hemidactylus says

    The weirdest fortune cookie I ever got made some odd analogy to a circuit board. I’m not really into Chinese food. A friend from work had turned me on to a local hole in the wall that has good really cheap chicken rice soup with huge portions. I haven’t been there since way before the pandemic. He went recently and brought back for me a bag of the curly fried side things you can put in soup or just eat plain. I don’t know what they are called but they are the bomb. I love those things. The place also does hibachi, so not strictly Chinese fare.

  11. hemidactylus says

    I know my way around a Thai menu and was starting to learn the menu of a local Vietnamese place with an awesome ginger dressing side salad before they folded. I don’t think strictly Thai, Malaysian, or Vietnamese places do fortune cookies do they? I also enjoy a Japanese flat grill place with nutty chefs who put on quite the show. And I’ve had plenty of home cooked Korean dishes back in the day (girlfriend). For some reason Chinese food just doesn’t grab me like pad woon sen or nori wrapped rice with ginger and sinus blazing wasabi. Or overly fermented kimchi. Or miso soup! If at a Chinese buffet I often make the stupid joke to myself that if I eat General Tso’s chicken, what’s he going to eat? It’s not bad though.

  12. kaleberg says

    Mad Magazine predicted this back in the 1960s. I’m amazed it took this long for ads to show up fortune cookies. I saw an ad on an airline barf bag over ten years ago, and there was a Viagra ad over a urinal I used maybe 20 years ago.

  13. Akira MacKenzie says

    We used to get those exact same “fortunes” from the Chinese place me and my friends order from when meet at the local game store to play Frostgrave or paint minis. Of course, when we read our fortunes out loud, we childishly tack on “in bed” to the end it it. It’s been our ritual for close to 30 years.

  14. Silentbob says

    The Mandarin: A true story about fortune cookies. They look Chinese. They sound… Chinese. But they’re actually an American invention. Which is why they’re hollow, full of lies, and leave a bad taste in the mouth.

    Don’t be offended Americans; the Mandarin turned out to be a lying liar named Trevor. ;-)

  15. John Morales says

    Well, they’re included in the price of the meal, so no point wasting them.

    Wafers, basically. ;)

  16. Dunc says

    Jesus. FTX, the bankrupt cryptocurrency outfit, was promoting itself by marketing fucking fortune cookies? No wonder they crashed and burned.

    This may actually be the least stupid thing FTX did. Which is not to say it’s not stupid.

    Pierce R. Butler, @#6: AFAIK, the Securities Commission of The Bahamas only took control of the assets of FTX Digital Markets Ltd., which is only one of the 130-odd corporate entities involved in SBF’s ludicrously tangled empire, and I’m pretty sure it’s not the one that most people meant when they talked about “FTX” – I think that would be either FTX Trading Ltd (incorporated in Antigua and Barbuda) or West Realm Shires Inc, which was the US consumer-focussed bit generally referred to as FTX US. I think…

  17. says

    @21 rietpluim

    “3, 11, 19, 29, 30, 52”
    What do the numbers mean?

    They’re supposed to be “lucky numbers” that you use to play the lottery.

  18. birgerjohansson says

    Re: the question.
    – The restaurant at the end of the Universe? I hear you can meet interesting people there, like managers “spending a year dead for tax reasons”.

  19. leerudolph says

    Kaleberg@14: “there was a Viagra ad over a urinal I used maybe 20 years ago.” You should go back to see if it’s still up.

  20. flex says

    @hemidactylus, #14, and @StevoR, #25,

    I suspect hemidactylus is referring to fried wonton strips, which are wonton (occasionally egg-roll) wrappers cut into strips about 4mm wide and quickly deep-fat fried. Easy to make, and I suspect it uses up damaged wontons at the restaurant.

    As a very off-topic aside, I’ve recently been experimenting with quickly deep-frying thin strips of flour tortillas, and I think I’m beginning to prefer them to potato chips. I cut them 1mm wide and put them into fry oil until they turn brown (<30 sec). I take them out and salt them. They come out as delicate, salty, crunchy, treats. Delicious.

  21. birgerjohansson says

    Fun idea: link into the Eschaton ‘s paratime abilities, and offer your customers cookies revealing their expected time of death.

  22. rietpluim says

    @John Morales @drksky

    Thanks. When it comes to Lotto numbers I guess any advice is as good as any other.

  23. snarkrates says

    leerudolph@28 ISWYDT–but if it is still up shouldn’t it go see a doctor…or a building inspector at least.

  24. Dunc says

    @rietpluim, #32: Quite possibly not… While any given set of numbers has the same likelihood of coming up as any other, in order to maximise your potential win, you want to minimise the chance of picking the same numbers as anybody else. If they’ve printed a unique set of numbers on each fortune slip then fair enough, but if not, there are probably quite a large number of people who have the same numbers, so using them would quite possibly mean a shared payout in the unlikely event that those numbers should come up.

  25. expatlurker says

    All I get in my fortune cookies is notices that the warrantee for my non-existant car is running out.

  26. Chaos Engineer says

    Remember that if multiple people pick the same winning lotto numbers, then the pool is divided between them.
    I’ve always assumed that the fortune company cookies keep the winning numbers for themselves, and put the losing numbers in the cookies so that people will play those instead.

  27. jenorafeuer says

    Also, not all Lotto numbers are even eligible… the big one up here it Lotto 6/49, and as the name implies, you have to pick 6 numbers from 1-49… so the ’52’ number in that picture is a non-starter.

  28. says

    @11 hemidactylus, those curly fried side things are likely fried chow mein noodles (there are also soft ones).

    And, more crypto Jenga news:
    I just want to see some of these schemes fall on and crush to death their fraudulent owners “I’m looking at you Husk Melon and tRUMP”. But, there seems to be no accountability in our crumbling society.

    My opinion of most people in our society continues to drop with each of these new freaky schemes they fall for. One of the most fearful ones is Herschel Walker who obviously had too many hits to his head as a ‘footbrawl star’. I am certain the Repugnantcants ran him for office knowing his ‘name recognition’ would siphon votes from the decent caring Warnock.Oh, we are soooo screwed.

  29. woodsong says

    The fortune I found most amusing was “He who walks a mile only moves two feet”. My husband’s most memorable was “You will be feeling hungry soon. Order a takeout now!”

    Other than that one, I’ve never seen anything I’d call an ad in a fortune cookie.

  30. keinsignal says

    I’ve gotten these before – I assume the restaurant gets them for free, and I can understand not wanting to look a gift horse in the mouth… While crypto’s a bane on the planet I don’t necessarily expect small, immigrant-owned businesses to dig into the details here. I just hope they themselves weren’t suckered into putting any of their money into the scam.

    The weirdest fortune cookies I ever got were literally pornographic ones from a now-defunct place in downtown St Paul. I’m not sure what was going on there. Maybe they had a side business going I wasn’t aware of? Nearly choked on the damn cookie.

  31. Jazzlet says

    flex @30
    You can fry pasta, the thinner shapes work best, as shermaj suggested low mein work well.

  32. rietpluim says

    Heh, it seems the Lotto numbers have changed this thread into a discussion about probability calculation. Something good can come out of everything, can’t it?