Would you change your name to win free sushi? Taiwanese legislators are now dealing with the legalities after hundreds of people were stuck with the name “Salmon” in return for free sushi.
In March 2021, the restaurant chain Sushiro ran a promotion that offered free all-you-can-eat sushi for an entire table to anyone that had the Chinese characters for salmon, “gui yu”, in their name. Over 330 people took part in the contest, paying the administration fee to legally change their names.
Dubbed “Salmon Chaos”, several people got creative in the contest, calling themselves “Salmon Dream” and “Dancing Salmon” to secure free sushi.
Not only did participants get creative with their new names but they also exploited the contest for all it was worth. Some people built large social media followings from their newfound name change fame, while others charged friends a small fee to be able to dine with the all-you-can-eat sushi experience.
Although the promotion only lasted two days, it’s still leaving headaches for many involved. The Taiwan government only allows people to change their names three times, which caused a bit of a problem for more than a few participants in the contest.
To prevent another “Salmon Chaos” from ensuing, legislators in Taiwan’s national parliament debated amendments to the names ordinance.
“After the salmon chaos incident, some people had already changed their name three times and now have no way to change them back,” said New Power Party legislator, Chiu Hsien-chih, who suggested other measures that included fee changes and cooling-off periods.
Other legislators, from both the governing Democratic Progress Party (DPP) and the main opposition Kuomintang, called for it to be made more difficult.
“Our trust in civic rationality is too low,” said legislator Kuan Bi-ling, who opposes an increase in restrictions since it could become more of an intrusion into people’s daily lives.