In October of 2015 a small box arrived at my desk. As I opened it, the card inside popped up at me, in the sort of reveal I expect to be accompanied by a hallelujah chorus. That card entitled me and three of my closest friends to as many bowls of pasta as we could eat from America’s most bottomless Italian restaurant chain, the Olive Garden. I had received one of the coveted Olive Garden Never Ending Pasta Passes.
Despite any opinion you may have of Olive Garden, “coveted” is the right word here. The Pasta Passes, of which there were only 2000 last year, sold out in a matter of moments. And, like Kevin James’ brand of everyman comedy, the Never Endingness is back for 2016. But this time many more of you will have the opportunity to gorge yourselves on Alfredo. Olive Garden decided to increase the number of Pasta Passes by 2000 percent to 21,000. They know a successful gimmick when they see one. Passes go on sale for $100 a piece on September 15 at 2 PM, and if the past two years are any indication, you better be sitting by your computer waiting for the clock to strike because they’ll almost certainly disappear immediately.