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party poker

If Tonga wins, you win!

[McDonald’s (1984)]

McDonald’s had a contest giveaway associated with the 1984 Olympics that went horribly awry. You would get a game card with any purchase. You’d scratch off the ticket, and underneath that toxic scratch-off shit was an Olympic event that had a competitor from the US. So you would glue your eyes to the television with Krazy Glue®, and if the Americans won the gold, you’d get a Big Mac.® If they won the silver, you’d get Beeftallowproglob-infused Fries®. If they won the bronze, you’d get a sugary carbonated brown liquid enclosed in a royal wax-paper-encoated cylindrical goblet.

McDonald’s had this all planned out way ahead of time. This contest stuff is like steamrollers, you don’t stop the event if something goes a little wonky. Like, say, the Soviets boycotting the Olympics.

That was the year America just sort waltzed right through the whole thing with giant gold magnets secreted about every Olympic athlete. “Oh, another one? I couldn’t, I’m completely stuff – oh okay, I’ll take one more.”

And that’s exactly what was happening at McDonald’s as well. See, what I remember was that the workers just didn’t give a crap about the promotion. So they would hand you three or four cards for every purchase. And more if you asked. Then when you got your free Big Mac/Fries/Coke, you asked for more cards. You could even just ask for a game card cold off the street and they’d give you one.

One of my friends ate there every day just on the game cards. We traded with each other so we all got complete, absolutely healthy meals. I think they started to get wise toward the end of the campaign, but by then my friend had collected enough cards to eat there for at least a month. Lunch, dinner. Getting nauseous just thinking about it ... give me a minute here ...

Okay. This whole thing spurned a macro, of course. After having another free meal on McDonald’s dime, we wondered what was happening in the McDonald’s in other countries. Specifically, Tonga. We had no idea if there was a McDonald’s there, but we were pretty sure the “If Tonga Wins You Win” promotional contest was dropping like a stone over there if there were any.

Used it to designate a pretty much guaranteed failure/no show/whatever. “If Tonga Wins, You Win” meant you are not going to win. Sometimes it was followed by “If Mogabi wins, you really win.”

see also USA! USA! USA!

Jeff Stendec (August 17, 2004)

Tags: contest | exclamation | food | tonga