Anonymous good luck charm


Elana Bishop

One of the many fortunes that I have collected while in Omaha at P.F. Changs

Elana Bishop, Staff Writer

At the end of the meal, most Chinese restaurants leave you with your bill and a fortune cookie for everyone at the table. I myself always keep my fortunes after I break open the cookie and store it in my wallet in hopes of good luck. One of my favorite fortunes is being, “When one door opens, another opens” which creates a limitless list of what it can apply to.

By coming upon a stash of fortunes, it made me wonder who was writing these little messages that many people take to heart. Me being one of them. Is it someone’s job? Where did all these words of affirmation come from? Are they all unique?

According to CNN, Donald Lau is the “unofficial CFW, or chief fortune writer [of Wonton Food Company.] Lau has been the sole hired fortune writer since the company acquired fortune cookie factories more than 30 years ago.” Wonton Foods has a database of thousands of different fortunes. For a more precise amount, The Week, approximates a “database of about 15,000…” As well as a distribution of approximately four and a half to five million cookies produced each day by its multiple factories. So, by the ratio of cookies produced to fortunes available, we are able to assume that the fortunes are reused. There are not even enough words to provide something new for the four million cookies produced each day.

According to CNN, “[As a]n element of Chinese tradition Wong said he hopes the fortune cookies emphasize… taking time during a meal to have meaningful discussion with friends and family.” Lau doesn’t view himself as a fortune teller; instead he sees himself as someone who writes messages to create conversation with your loved ones and to leave you feeling happy.

According to CNN, “ Due to writer’s block and the company’s expansion, Lau now writes two or three fortunes a month.” CNN also claims that the company has considered getting other writers but Wong says, “they have not been able to find anyone who has the same cleverness and humor as Lau.” By the company’s dedication to providing its customers with proper satisfaction in hopes of making them happy, I can accept the possibility of getting two of the same fortune since each one is written with genuine purpose.