Route 66 News

Waynesville candy shop’s promotion leads to controversy and publicity

Today, the Route 66 Candy Shoppe in Waynesville, Mo., will give free fudge to any customer who weighs 300 pounds to mark Fat Tuesday.

KSPR-TV in Springfield, Mo., (video is at the link) reported it as a stunt — and reported a bit of a controversy:

The owners say it’s a fun, light hearted way to market themselves but some say it’s offensive and wrong to make fun of what they call an obesity epidemic.

“We are not trying to make a statement or offend anybody. We are just inviting them to come in and have a good laugh,” said candy shop owner Charley Dill.

“It may be a joke to them but to other viewers they can’t help it, some will die because of obesity, no one should ever make fun of it,” said Deb Czuprynski.

The story has been picked up by CNN.com, giving the business nationwide publicity. The Route 66 Candy Shoppe’s Facebook page says its number of “likes” has more than doubled in the past week.

The owners — including one, Charley Dill, who acknowledges he looks like hefty comedy actor Dom DeLuise — have stayed out of arguments over their campaign, except to thank media outlets that have reported the story.

And the candy shop says it is considering other stunts, such as free candy to pregnant women on Labor Day.

In a lot of ways, this is much like crazy stunts other Route 66 businesses have pulled over the decades. Do you think the Big Texan Steak Ranch would be as prominent today without its “Free 72-Oz. Steak” offer?

Well played, Route 66 Candy Shoppe. Well played.

UPDATE 3/5/2014: Fat Tuesday is over, but the story still is bouncing all over the Internet. The number of “likes” the shop has on Facebook has quadrupled (to more than 1,800), and several customers said the business was “packed” all day Tuesday. And Dill has been profusely thanking Debra Czuprynski, the woman who thought the stunt was in bad taste.

(Route 66 Candy Shoppe co-owner Charley Dill with a chocolate cheesecake truffle)

4 thoughts on “Waynesville candy shop’s promotion leads to controversy and publicity

  1. Doc

    sometimes you just have to grin and bare it
    If this was the only thing in our society that mad a joke of being overweight or made fun of people that are overweight or degraded people that are over weight then I could see an issue
    If this is going to cause one person to live or die because of seeing this or making the offer the they are in worse shape than just being over weight
    We have a son that is severely over weight and we do try to get him to get it off
    Yet his doctor tells him after a full check every year he is as healthy as any 25/30 yo and other than a borderline blood pressure problem he is fine . He is 43 now
    So do not think this is bothering him one iota

  2. Jen

    I read about this elsewhere today, too—It made me chuckle, really (even as my eyes rolled a smidgen). It’s all in good fun—and the fudge is probably delicious. Hoping they enjoy the publicity and sales! ;)

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