If you register to take part in the Langley Good Times Cruise-In car show, the entry form asks for some basic info on your vehicle – make, model, and year.
But when organizers were looking through their most recent pile of registrations, they noticed something strange, said Cruise-In society president Riccardo Sestito.
People were trying to buy burgers.
“They think they’re buying an In-N-Out ticket,” Sestito said.
More than 60 registration forms as of Wednesday didn’t contain make and model info on a car – they just said “For In-N-Out Burger.”
Every year, one feature of the annual volunteer-run charity car show is a visit to Canada from In-N-Out Burger, a U.S. chain that has no outlets in Canada.
If you want to eat at the burger chain most of the year, the closest option is in the town of Keizer, Ore., south of Portland.
But for one day, the burger chain sends a truck and workers north of the border. It began participating in the Cruise-In in 2008, and was there every year through 2019, after which the pandemic briefly interrupted its cross-border visits. The burger chain returned again for the 2022 edition of the show, which takes place annually in downtown Aldergrove and attracts more than 1,000 cars and tens of thousands of visitors.
Sestito said people seem to have gotten the impression that they can register in advance for the popular burger meals, and have mistaken the car registration form for a burger ticket form.
The surge of interest seems to have been driven by a couple of local online articles that focused heavily on In-N-Out burger’s participation in the car show.
“It shows how far people are willing to go when the truck is coming to Cruise-In,” he said.
However, the efforts to get In-N-Out tickets by this method are fruitless. Tickets for meals from the In-N-Out truck are sold on the day of Cruise-In only, on site. Proceeds from the burger sales go towards local charities, as do all the Cruise-In revenues.
Cruise-In volunteers are now busy refunding everyone who tried to buy burger meals through the car registration portal.
They’re also talking to their IT people about the fact that there seem to be bots trying to buy multiple registrations – apparently in an attempt to grab tickets for resale.
“That’s never happened to us in all these years,” Sestito said.
In-N-Out’s participation in Cruise-In enabled it to win a trademark hearing in Canada last year. The burger chain remains the owner of the trademark on the phrase “double-double” in this country thanks to its yearly visits to Aldergrove.
Tim Hortons, which is heavily associated with the phrase for its coffees, had challenged In-N-Out’s right to retain the trademark, calling its sales in Canada “token,” but the Canadian Intellectual Property Office disagreed.
“In addition to using its cookout trucks in certain locations in the United States, the owner [In-N-Out Burger] has also used its cookout trucks to sell food products in Canada for many years,” wrote Timothy Stevenson, a member of the Trademarks Opposition Board, in a Nov. 1 ruling, citing the Cruise-In events, and the more than 4,000 burgers sold there across 2017, 2018, and 2019.
Drivers of classic and custom cars and hot rods can register online at the Cruise-In’s website – but they still can’t get burgers any earlier than Saturday, Sept. 9, when the next Cruise-In takes place.
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