Look, we all have our good and bad ideas, which is why many of us have a sounding board to help prevent us from making rash decisions. Unfortunately for baker Ken Bellingham, who owns Edmonds Bakery in Washington State, he had no such buffer to stop him from adding a controversial message to one of his heart-shaped Valentine’s Day sugar cookies. Alongside cute words and phrases like “Addicted To Love,” “Cool Beans,” and “Believe,” an outlier stood out: “Build That Wall,” a reference to Donald Trump’s pet project, the so-far-unapproved barrier between the U.S. and Mexico.
Bellingham swears he didn’t mean anything by the controversial cookie, telling KING5 in Seattle: “It’s not anything I endorse… I don’t think building a wall will solve our problems.” Rather, it was more a case of cookie writer’s block: “I’m back there trying to think of what to write on a cookie. I try to be funny.” Unfortunately for Bellingham, many patrons took the cookie message at face value, especially when a customer took a picture and posted it on Facebook. The offensive treat quickly made the national news, from Associated Press to The Washington Post.
Let this be a lesson for everyone, cookie-makers or no: This is the digital age, people. Phones are everywhere, so cameras are everywhere. Your offhand comment can quickly go viral in a way you will not like and have little control over. Now when you Google “Edmonds Bakery,” guess what immediately comes up alongside its Yelp rating?
Bellingham says, “I guess the joke is on me… If I wanted to make a political statement, I’d put it on a sign and march up and down the street. But I put it on a cookie for heaven’s sake.” In this hotbed of a political climate, even a cookie’s message can be controversial.