I was driving past Arby’s a couple of weeks ago and noticed the marquee sign out front.
NOW SERVING BURGERS
“You’re kidding me,” I said to myself. Sure, Arby’s has branched into salads and they make the occasional chicken sandwich these days, but selling burgers like the rest of the competition? That just smacked of selling out. I remembered the days when Arby’s stood for “America’s Roast Beef, Yes Sir”. It had to be a joke.
However, I got home and took a look at the Arby’s website. Sure enough, they were now offering a “burger”, but it was unlike any burger I’d heard of and – frankly – I thought it fell outside the traditional definition of the word. The Roastburger (yes, Roastburger) came in three varieties, but they all sounded like they had taken the recipe from Burger King and substituted “roast beef” any time it called for “Whopper patty”. It had to be a joke.
The Roastburger runs a bit more than the traditional roast beef sandwich. I was curious, but not curious enough to blow a lot of money or Weight Watchers points on something that sounded more interesting than delicious. However, there was an on-line fan club I could join. Arby’s would “occasionally” send me e-mails (read: every day and twice on Sunday), but they would also send me a coupon good for one free Roastburger. I signed up and waited for my coupon to arrive… and waited… and waited. My attention span on-line is not very long. I gave up and figured it had just been a joke.
To my surprise, the coupon showed up in my inbox a few days later. The coupon expired April first, so I didn’t have any time to lose. It was cold and windy and pouring rain. I jumped in the truck and drove over to the local Arby’s on the north side of Belvidere on my lunch hour. The menu showed the Roastburger prominently displayed. I waited in line and showed the woman up front my coupon.
“I’m sorry,” she said. “We don’t take this coupon.” As I turned to leave, she asked after me, “Would you like to order a new Roastburger?” I just laughed and marveled at the entire Roastburger conspiracy that had reeled me in. I have to hand it to Arby’s; they had me going and I really thought they were going to give me some new sandwich. I chuckled all the way home. I can appreciate a good April Fool’s joke; even when it was on me.