Shoney's Commemorates 9-11 With Free Bowl Of Soup

To the fallen, the office workers, the families; to the firemen, the first responders, the workers; to the the hole in the ground, the empty space in the sky, to the the gray miasma—here’s a free bowl of soup. Thanks Shoney’s. I can’t tell whether that’s incredibly tacky or deeply poetic. Either way, it’s free soup.

(Photo: Note: The post originally credited Econolodge, but after speaking with the photographer more, we think it was actually Shoney’s, billed above on the same sign, dispensing the free soup. The picture was taken in Morgantown, West Virginia.


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  1. Giolon says:

    If they want to give me free soup because thousands of Americans were murdered on this day (yesterday), I’m not going to stop them.

    It’s free soup!

  2. Nick1693 says:

    But how much free soup is there?

  3. "I Like Potatoes" says:

    I understand the logic…soup=comfort, but it still sounds incredibly tacky. Wonder what kind of soup?

  4. Rolcol says:

    The Junior High school around us had a beautiful arrangement of flags just for 9-11. Unfortunately, they removed them before I could come back with a camera.

  5. cookmefud says:

    aww…free soup!

    it’s probably done in patriotic zeal, so I can’t really hit em on the tackiness aspect of it all.

  6. Triterion says:

    Should have been apple-pie.

  7. EBone says:

    Same reason I don’t believe 9/11 should ever become a national holiday – I don’t want Macy’s having a “Back to School 9/11” sale the way they do with Veterans Day sales.

  8. camille_javal says:

    didn’t wonkette post something similar yesterday? – []

  9. BrianDaBrain says:

    Free soup is free soup… not that I’d wager on it being very high quality soup, but that’s another discussion.

    For the record, that’s very far on the tacky side of the line. Deeply poetic my behind. How else are they gonna get people in there?? :)

  10. cubsd says:

    The only thing worse that this promotion is someone taking advantage of it.

  11. ARP says:

    + Watch video

    I think Olbermann is arrogant, but he’s right. 9/11 is a trademark, its a “brand” now- something that is managed and promoted, used offensively or defensively like any other brand.

  12. you complain about free soup?

  13. Febryle says:

    9/11 NEVER FORGET…the oyster crackers.

  14. jmsta says:

    I believe its Shoneys offering the free bowl of soup not Econolodge

  15. krom says:

    I think this is evidence that we’ve come to the point of “Meh, it’s 9-11 huh. We should do something.”

    I agree with the poetic bit, because free soup is just like the kinds of things that businesses in downtown NYC were offering to first responders, everything from free coffee to free massages.

  16. 3drage says:

    Free soup comes at a price!

  17. spittingangels says:

    Give it on up to Tawdryville!

  18. Jrsy says:

    Can I get a side of Freedom Fries with that?

  19. I vote for tacky. I think this kind of marketing, such as it is, turns more people off than it attracts.

  20. OhneHosen says:

    Free soup isn’t free
    It costs folks like you and me
    And if we don’t all chip in
    We’ll never pay that bill

    Ohhh, buck-oh-five
    Free soup costs a buck-oh…..fiiiive.

  21. unkle says:


    no one seems to remember the 1993 world trade center bombing

  22. QrazyQat says:

    The 1993 attack didn’t kill anywhere near the number of people, or for that matter anywhere near the number of people that the rightwing attack in Oklahoma City did. And of course there was some feeling of closure with those bombings since Clinton didn’t call off the search for the bombers, instead urging his people to capture, try, and convict them, which they did.

  23. numindast says:

    I feel compelled to call foul on this one. I just can’t accept that some manager would be so shallow as to put this up on their signboard. It’s gotta be Photoshopped.

    … omg, did I really just say that there can’t be people this shallow?

  24. AgentTuttle says:

    Nobody here seems to care what KIND of soup it is. Is it a dirty hippie vegetable soup, all American Beef ‘n’ Barley or some commie cream of mushroom. AND what the hell do we get for Pearl Harbor day!?

    Never forget,… that terrorism creates jobs.

  25. Carbonic says:

    I bet its on the west coat…..911 to them wasn’t as big a deal as those closer by the attacks

    • clocker says:

      @Carbonic: And Pearl Harbor affected those in L.A. more than New Yorkers, right?

    • My vote: deeply poetic. Soup = comfort food. Manager who offers free comfort food to memorialize national tragedy = not shallow. People who look at someone else’s memorial with disapproval = judgementally suspicious. What memorials did you have? Any? Doesn’t have to be federally mandated as a holiday to memorialize it personally or even with your business.

      @Carbonic: People who think 9-11 didn’t affect people if they were all the way over on the West Coast forget (or never even bothered to consider?) that people from all over the country were passengers on those planes, and that people all over the country had family members – sons and daughters and parents – who worked and died in the towers.

      Faith in humanity – you’re doing it wrong.

      • camille_javal says:

        @alphafemale: okay, so that explains the soup, but I don’t get how a medium order of fries at Burger King works into this – []

        • @camille_javal: You’d have to ask the owner (or owners) of those particular Burger King locations why they offered free fries to “honor fallen heros”. At least the locations are given, so we could ask if we wanted to. Maybe the owner has a son who is a firefighter and lurves fries?

          I was mostly bothered by assumption that the sketch of teh jesus welcoming the victims to him was somehow saying that jesus was the destroyer? I saw it only as someone hoping that all those who lost their lives found jesus waiting for them. (if they believe those jesusy sort of tales)

          When to doubt your fellow man:

          When they say:

          I have a puppy in my van, cute little kiddy, would you like to see it?
          I can send you a lot of money,but first you need to send me just a little money.
          We don’t need to use that condom, I’m clean and/or sterile.

          Not when they say:

          Remember When by having some free soup.

          What are the motives? We don’t know what they are. A lot of assumptions have been made, and this sign has now made the inter-rounds, with those assumptions never having been proven whatsoever.

          This free bowl of soup isn’t hurting me. It isn’t trying to hurt my family or steal from me. It costs me nothing, I run absolutely no risk if I choose to have “faith in humanity” in regards to the motives for offering free soup.

          In comparison, I run a great risk if I choose to have “faith in humanity” when it comes to situations like the ones I listed above. Big difference. Sure, sure, I know the arguments, – corporate greed, hook ’em with free soup and then our customers will buy dinner too, and we’ll use 9-11 as the perfect feel-good bait, even the “oh you can’t just go around trusting people” gestalt view of the thing, but still, as long as they aren’t poisoned, I think giving out free bowls of soup is an ok thing to do.

          Someone said “how else are they gonna get people in there”… we all know that nobody eats at Shoney’s because they want to, people eat at Shoney’s because they are staying in hotels next to Shoney’s and they don’t know where any other restaurant is. Nobody is pushed over the edge from rational thought into the decision to eat at Shoney’s just because they are offered free soup.

          If evidence comes forward that makes it seem more likely that the free soup offer is “shallow” or nothing more than a gimmick, then I’ll start booing Shoney’s plenty loud. But until then, I’m going to think the best and save my anger for the political sphere, where people use 9-11 for far more nefarious gain than a little extra business during the lunch rush.

          Let’s start a movement, free soup for all from every restaurant every 9-11 so that we may feel a little comfort, and remember to offer comfort to our fellow humans.

    • PDX909 says:


      What an asinine thing to say.

    • ameyer says:

      @Carbonic: That argument falls apart since all 4 planes were headed to San Francisco or LA.

    • Nofsdad says:

      Gonna have to do better than that, sonny. There ARE no Shoney’s on the west coast.

    • renegadebarista says:

      That has got to be one of the most uneducated things I have ever seen on this site. I live in the Western US and had friends in DC at the time of the attack. I knew people who responded to the Pentagon. I helped my son’s Godmother track down her Uncle who was a pilot for one of the airlines. My in-laws are air traffic and where on duty when the order to ground all airplanes came down, so it did have a profound impact on my life, and many people I know. Your comment was pointless, tasteless, and even at the risk of getting lectured about the comment code, you are an unbelievable ass.

  26. MyPetFly says:

    Hey people, it’s the thought that counts…

    I’m just not sure what they were thinking.

  27. Grrrrrrr, now with two buns made of bacon. says:

    Nothing says “commemorate a national tragedy” like a free bowl of soup. Now say…had it been a coffee and a danish, they might of had something. (No, I’m kidding..the whole idea is just plain stupid).

  28. Morticia says:

    I think a better gesture would have been to donate a sum of money to a memorial fund. And do so quietly, without fanfare.

  29. re: the added note above – Is it known what city this is in, and if this soup offer was corporate sponsored or was offered by local management? Shoney’s only goes as far west as New Mexico, so I assume it’s not on the West Coast

  30. ironchef says:

    You want freedom fries with that order?

  31. mac-phisto says:

    you think this is bad? hasn’t anyone seen these commercials? –>

    perhaps the manager’s desire to do something is a little misguided, but this “commemorative 9+11=20 dollar bill” crap? i won’t say what i’d like done with the assholes behind that.

    • @mac-phisto: Seen that a bunch, I love how they tell us “this will never be released for circulation” as if that is a good thing and somehow makes it valuable. Yeah, no shit it’s not going to be in circulation, because it’s not actual money or affiliated with the U.S. mint in any way…

      Again I blame the television networks who continue to sell air time to any scammer with the right amount of money.

    • nybiker says:

      @mac-phisto: I guess I haven’t been staying awake to watch the late, late, late movie. Of course, these days, I don’t watch anything in real time; so I FF through the commercials. But I don’t recall even seeing this zip through.

      And you are correct: that commercial is despicable.

      And @alphafemale: +1 to your comments.

    • Dansc29625 says:

      @mac-phisto: How can it be “struck” in .999 silver leaf? (probably copper inside)

      The last thing we need is for 9/11 to be “free soup day.”

  32. balthisar says:

    I’m gonna guess it’s not French onion they were offering…

    (Seriously, though, I have good friends in France; they’re just not from Paris. That’s the key.)

  33. coddat says:

    Hate to give benefit of the doubt, but could it be two separate thoughts. Like, In memory of 9/11. Free bowl of soup. Two thoughts, not related but since punctuation isn’t used it’s hard to separate them.

    • jonworld says:

      @coddat: Yes, you might be right. This is much how like Culvers always means to put stuff like “Double ButterBurger” and “Brownie Ice Cream” on their signs, but they just smush them together so it looks like “Double ButterBurger Brownie Ice Cream”…yuck.

  34. parrotuya says:

    How about free soup for the OKC bombing in 1995?

  35. ecwis says:

    If this is Sam Wilkinson’s picture, why does it have a Consumerist watermark on it?

  36. P_Smith says:

    A couple of pancakes with a bush of parsley sitting on top would be more appropriate.

  37. Chrome says:

    I thought that darn sign looked familiar. There can’t be many more Shoney’s in the parking lots of Econolodges.


  38. Bitmapped says:

    I’ve lived about 1/2-mile away from that particular Shoney’s for 5 years. I’ve never been to it and I don’t know of anybody else who ever goes there either.

    They seem to prey on naive out-of-towners visiting the West Virginia University campus. My guess would be they were just desperate for some additional business.

  39. rinse says:

    Hmm. Tastes like freedom!

  40. NPGeek says:

    The place I work at gave out free cookies in “Commemoration of 9/11”.
    Nothing honors lives lost like baked goods.

  41. magnoliasouth says:

    I think it was a kind gesture and not tacky in any way. Golden Corral gives vets free food on Veterans Day and how is that “shallow”?! I sure didn’t see anyone else offering something in memory of it.

  42. Cliff_Donner says:

    Perhaps riffing off of ironchef‘s post —

    At least it’s not “In memory of 9/11, free bowl of soup — with every $3.99 purchase of FREEDOM FRIES.”