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A Not-So-Sweet Fortune Cookie

Packaged and shipped out of Union City, iLLfortunes won't give you any well wishes

You finish your meal at a restaurant. The check comes, accompanied with a fortune cookie. You crack it open, expecting the expected — some trite proverb or canned note about new opportunities, success, new love, blah blah, lucky numbers.

Instead, you open it to: “You’re an embarrassment to your family,” “You will throw up on yourself tonight” or “Welcome to Failureville. Population: You.”

The joke’s on you, which is exactly what David Fenton, founder of iLLfortune, wants.

“I like to push the envelope and shock people,” Fenton, 44, said. “The goal is for people to have fun and prank one another.”

A self-proclaimed prankster with a background in stand-up comedy, acting and magazine publishing, Fenton launched iLLfortune in October. Though the company is based in San Rafael, the not-so-sweet cookies are warehoused in Union City, where they’re packaged and shipped by Silicon Valley Direct.

The idea was born from Fenton’s dissatisfaction with traditional fortune cookies.

“I’ve always thought that fortune cookies were very predictable, very boring,” he said.

What resulted from that boredom are hilariously offensive “fortune cookies for the brave.”

illFortunes are intended for everyday use, not just for special occasions or restaurants, Fenton said. In fact, you won’t find iLLfortunes in any restaurants, though they are in several bars and gift shops, according to Fenton.

Instead, Fenton is targeting customers directly through the company’s website, www.illfortune.net., which also includes reaction videos and a “victims” page.

“They’re great ice breakers,” Fenton said of his cookies. “Leave it on the coffee table and unassuming guests will crack 'em open and be shocked.”

A box of 20 cookies costs $15. Buy two boxes and get one free, or buy four boxes and get two free. The company also offers bulk orders up to 1,400 cookies for $350.

To buy cookies, or for more information, visit www.illfortune.net.

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