- Katey Psencik American-Statesman Staff
If you haven’t stolen a Whataburger table tent with your lucky number (or your birthday or anniversary or jersey number) on it, are you really a Texan?
I mean, probably not, but have you ever stopped to think about the fact that literally thousands of people are stealing these numbers. And also, it is stealing. Which is illegal.
The Wall Street Journal wrote about Whataburger lovers’ fascination with stealing the tiny table tents, and how many tents the stores go through each year (that’s 1.2 million tents a year across its 815 restaurants). The stores don’t track how many tents get carried off, but some stores “particularly near high schools and colleges” go through them so quickly, they have to order new ones every month.
Denton County police warned the public back in March that hey, stealing Whataburger tents is actually not very cool. And it isn’t. But according to the WSJ’s report, the company doesn’t mind all that much. After all, if you proudly display the small plastic tents, that’s just good marketing for an already-beloved Texas brand.
“If those things are disappearing and making their way onto somebody’s shelf or dashboard or wherever it may be, that is advertising that Whataburger would love to pay for. We would never want to stop that,” Rich Sheffler, Whataburger’s vice president of Marketing and Innovation, told the WSJ.
And people do love those little tents. They’ve inspired tattoos, and die-hards get obsessed with collecting the entire set: No. 1 through No. 96. They even sell ‘em on EBay.
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