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An oral history of the Arby’s tweet

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March Madness’s No. 1 All-Time Free Roast Beef Classic Sandwich with Any Purchase Team

There’s never been a day quite like Wednesday, Feb. 3. Mere hours after Indiana’s third overtime defeat of the season, this one a 75-71 home loss to Illinois that dropped the Hoosiers to 9-8 on the season and 4-6 in the Big Ten, the official IU Athletics Twitter account strung together an unspeakable amalgamation of words that many historians believe has never been uttered before: “Hungry? (fork and knife emoji) Have a sandwich on us.”

Wait, this is too good to be true, many an IU fan thought.

What’s the catch? Why are you doing this?

They continued reading the fine print. “SCORED 70,” read the ad copy.

Was this really true?

Indeed it was. Indiana scored 71 points in its loss to Illinois, allowing fans to reach the promised land of free room-temperature roast beef in a potentially soggy bun.

All that fans had to do was text “IU70” to 41411 to claim their prize from Arby’s, surely warranted after a game in which IU’s starting point guard fouled out without scoring and a reserve added zero points in 15 minutes.

The advertisement was presumably so popular and so well-received that we can only assume that the Arby’s locations in Bloomington, Ellettsville and Martinsville ran out of roast beef, because the tweet was soon deleted. The only reasonable assumption is that the ad was such a hit, that it created regional demand and supply-chain issues across the Midwest, which is why Arby’s national office surely reached out to IU Athletics and said, “Please, take that tweet down. Your fans just love our Roast Beef Classic Sandwich too much and we can’t satisfy their unending appetite. Please take that tweet down before your fans eat our kitchens dry.”

There’s no other reason that IU Athletics would’ve deleted the tweet, right?

CQ reached out to the Arby’s Press Center for comment and we have not received a response at the time of publication.

CQ did not reach out to IU Athletics and did not receive a response.

As we sit in the wake of the wreckage of 71 points and a deleted sponsored tweet, we attempted to recreate the day’s events, searching the globe for everyday Twitter users and IU basketball shitposters who can help us digest, analyze and commemorate the Arby’s tweet.

The responses below are real. However, CQ can neither confirm nor is responsible for, the veracity of any of the statements below.

Many Twitter users were in the midst of incredibly important business when they saw the Arby’s tweet.

@drewhamm5: “When I saw that the Indiana Athletics account had tweeted out that since the Hoosiers men’s basketball team scored 70+ points, in a loss natch, meant that people could get a free Arby’s sandwich I stopped doing my day job, I run social media for the Department of Transportation, and sprinted to Secretary Pete’s office to tell him the news.”

Wow, incredible! One source within the Department of Transportation is suggesting the department is looking into a bullet train from TD Garden in Boston to the Indiana Memorial Union in Bloomington. I can’t imagine why, but that sure sounds like an efficient use of tax dollars.

@CardChronicle: “When I saw the Arby’s tweet, I was sitting in the exact same spot, in basically the exact same position on my basement couch as I was four Wednesdays prior when I watched the storming the U.S. Capitol. The link feels appropriate, given that these are likely to be the two seminal moments of 2021.”

@btownmoose: “There I was, taking hot laps around the Nürburgring Nordschleife in Gran Turismo 4 (2003), like any well-adjusted man in his 30’s does on a Wednesday.

“After another futile attempt to slay the 14-mile ‘Green Hell’—and another digital Mercedes into the ditch—I looked over at my Twitter desktop display, and saw the diminutive lunch option staring me right in my unwashed face.”

@VT_ben: “I was ‘surfing the web’ when I saw this special offer for a free roast beef sammie on the official IU twitter account. Then I remembered how Indiana indeed scored 70 points in last night’s game (even if it took until OT to get to that point), and realized it would be valid today! I hadn’t seen this good of an offer since we got free Qdoba after getting to 100 points against Northwest Tennessee A&M once during the Crean era.”

@patrickjfelts: “I was actually getting ready for an interview when I saw the tweet. I thought it was mostly just hilarious timing, after a game like that, at least everyone gets a free roast beef, like that was supposed to soften the blow.”

Many Twitter users experienced conflicting emotions upon reading the tweet, then sitting alone with their thoughts.

@drewhamm5: “Much like an Arby’s Creamy Mediterranean Chicken Wrap, this tweet made me feel invincible, like I could do anything.”

What an incredible feeling, much like the feeling of firing an eighth-year NBA head coach who’s only one game above .500 in the playoffs, forcing him to return to his home state to find employment, as many Americans have done in the last 10 months.

@CardChronicle: “People like to liberally toss around phrases like ‘you’ll know it when you see it’ or ‘you’ll know it when you feel it.’ I never put a whole lot of stock into any of that until early Wednesday afternoon. Seeing Indiana offer up a free Arby’s roast beef sandwich as a direct response to a college basketball viewing experience that could best be described as Clockwork Orange-esque was the moment I finally ‘got’ what my father and older brothers meant when they talked about Hoosier basketball in the ‘70s and ‘80s.”

Brings tears to your eyes, really.

@VT_ben: “I felt like I had to take advantage of this offer, but then I saw the fine print: that it was limited to Bloomington, Ellettsville, and Martinsville., and that it expired tonight at midnight. But I had to get my hands on this deal! So I started to look into flights to Indy and rental cars down to Btown. I almost had one secured, but then it happened: The post was deleted. My plan had been foiled.”

Shakespearean.

@btownmoose: “It made me feel nothing. Which is also to say that everything over the last 11 months has felt like nothing. Yet, this was the newest ‘nothing’ among an endless stream of negative-infinity nothings rolling right into my consciousness. And it hurt. There wasn’t even cheese or an onion roll with that bad boy. Just one plain sandwich. And you got the sense that, when you ordered it, they wouldn’t even bother with the bun. Just a handful of meat in the bag—no napkins, either.”

These Twitter users are Arby’s regulars. People who eat Arby’s multiple times per week, if not multiple times per day, on occasion. No one knows the Arby’s menu better than these consumers.

@drewhamm5: “I haven’t had Arby’s in years, sadly. I wish I lived closer to Bloomington so I could take advantage of this sweet deal.”

@CardChronicle: “It’s probably been around 10 years at this point. I do remember going for lunch obnoxiously early (right around 11 a.m. or maybe even slightly before) one time when I was living with my parents right after college and getting a french dip and curly fries. It was a standard Arby’s experience: Solid for the first couple of bites, a chore in the middle of the meal, and then perpetual dread of the bathroom paint job to come during the final minutes. That Arby’s closed for good not too long after.”

@VT_ben: “I don’t remember the last time I ate at Arby’s for real, but I metaphorically ‘ate at Arby’s’ during that game last night.”

@patrickjfelts: “I’m not sure the last time I ate at Arby’s exactly, but I probably got the buffalo chicken sliders, those are pretty good.”

IU made four 3-pointers in its free roast beef-unlocking performance on Tuesday. Many Arby’s appreciators know a thing or two about that kind of unprecedented 3-point production.

@patrickjfelts: “I haven’t played organized basketball since 6th grade, but I drilled a shot on my mini hoop in my Wilkie North dorm all the way from my bed yesterday.”

@drewhamm5: “I live in Minnesota and there is probably a foot of snow on the basketball court at the park by my house, but I’d still go 3-for-7 from deep in snow boots.”

Indiana went 4-for-8 from three as a team, yet Drew is out here going for 3-for-7. While Drew’s hypothetical production from deep was admirable, some Twitter users have been hitting so many threes, they might as well be playing for Baylor’s Scott Drew.

@CardChronicle: “I have made no fewer than 35 threes on my daughter’s Fischer Price goal in the last 24 hours alone.”

Where can Archie find his own 3-for-7 Minnesotan or 35-threes-in-24-hours Kentuckian?

@VT_ben: “(Peegs commenter voice) I think Archie should find 3-4 guys playing pickup at the HPER and put them on the floor to shoot some threes!”

IU basketball: Eat at Arby’s.