(Photo: 75001512@N00/Flickr)
It’s all fun and games until someone loses a fry. (Photo: 75001512@N00/Flickr.) 

There’s nothing like a good trending prank to kick off your week. With all apologies to the affected fast-food franchise owners and their insurance claims adjustors, of course, the pairing of crappy burgers and implements of destruction in a reported string of incidents over the past few months is humorous if sinister.

Here’s the gag: Someone calls up a local fast-food joint, claiming to be from the nearest fire department, and tells whoever answers that authorities have received an urgent report of dangerous levels of toxic or explosive gas accumulating within the building. Then this supposed voice of authority orders the occupants to break all the windows in the establishment to avoid imminent death until first responders arrive. Pulled off at California and Oklahoma Burger Kings, as well as a Jack-in-the-Box and Wendy’s in Arizona, the prank is notoriously difficult to pin blame upon and as of yet, no perpetrators have been apprehended for the crime of rebellion against chili made of old repurposed burgers.

Now remember, it’s only funny if nobody gets hurt. And so far, nobody has, which is fortunate as the charges — threat of terrorism and criminal damage to property — are serious. Everyone has a “prank that went too far” story, and the potential for unforeseen consequences seems alarmingly high when it comes to convincing frightened people to break lots of glass. Still, it begs the question: Who are these offenders? Are they with Big Slow Food? Is this the beginning of a large-scale insurgency against purveyors of cheap, low-quality sustenance and everything it stands for? And perhaps most importantly: Where will they strike next?