As Valentine’s Day, or perhaps more appropriately donned Single’s Awareness Day, draws near, Hooters seeks to lessen loneliness with some free wings and a little bit of retribution.
The famous wing chain is asking its customers to celebrate what for some is the most sulk-filled day of the year by bringing in a picture of their exes into the restaurant. One of the Hooters girls will then destroy the picture and serve up some wings.
Not only will customers get a much-needed act of closure, but also a coupon for 10 boneless chicken wings with the purchase of any 10 wings.
"Everyone’s gone through a breakup," said Nicole Ciglar, a Hooters waitress at the original location on Gulf to Bay Boulevard in Clearwater. "Whether you initiated the breakup or were broken up with, it doesn’t feel good. It can be difficult to even just get out of the house or see other people."
"But the most important thing to do is reconnect with your friends and family and find what makes you happy again."
"Shred Your Ex" is a popular event, Ciglar said. And last year the Clearwater location was packed.
"We had so many people come last year that our shredder jammed," Ciglar said. "So a bunch of the girls grabbed the pictures started ripping them up by hand. They even stomped on them for customers."
For customers who can’t bring themselves to dispose of the painfully sentimental memento, they can go online and digitally shred, dart, bury or burn the memory. Doing so will net them a coupon to bring in to the restaurant on the sappiest day of the year.
Ciglar said the experience is very cathartic and she’s considered participating before.
"Oh, there are a couple of exes that I would definitely shred or burn their pictures, but they’ll have to remain anonymous," Ciglar said. "But either way I would definitely come in for the wings. That’s how I roll."