France: The Birthplace of April Fools’ Day

We are all familiar with the age-old tale of April Fools jokes, but did you know that some historians speculate that April Fools’ Day dates back to 1582? When France switched from the Julian calendar to the Gregorian calendar in 1563 and as a result of the Council of Trent, the spring equinox fell on April 1st.

Some people were slow to get the news, however, and many failed to recognize that the start of the new year had moved to January 1. So, they continued to celebrate it during the last week of March through April 1, and thus became the butt of jokes and hoaxes, not-so-affectionately referred to as “April Fools.” These pranks included having paper fish placed on their backs and being referred to as “poisson d’avril” (April fish), said to symbolize a young, easily caught fish- a gullible person.

Companies Are Jokesters, Too

In modern times, people have gone to great lengths to create elaborate April Fools’ Day hoaxes. Newspapers, radio stations, TV stations, and websites have participated in the April 1 tradition of reporting outrageous fictional claims that have fooled their audiences.

One of the most famous April Fool’s jokes in the business world was back in 1996 when Taco Bell claimed that they purchased the Liberty Bell — Yes, that Liberty Bell. If you are unfamiliar with the story, here’s the marketing piece they put out:

Taco Bell Buys The Liberty Bell

“In an effort to help the national debt, Taco Bell is pleased to announce that we have agreed to purchase the Liberty Bell, one of our country’s most historic treasures. It will now be called the “Taco Liberty Bell” and will still be accessible to the American public for viewing. While some may find this controversial, we hope our move will prompt other corporations to take similar action to do their part to reduce the country’s debt.”

Needless to say, the backlash was truly a hilarious reaction, “Taco Bell’s announcement generated an enormous response. Thousands of worried citizens called both Taco Bell’s headquarters and the National Park Service in Philadelphia to find out if the Bell had really been sold. Elaine Sevy, a Park Service spokeswoman, was quoted as saying, “We were shocked. We had no idea this was happening. We have just been getting hammered with phone calls from the public.”

And thankfully, Taco Bell ensured that the joke was well-received and had a happy ending: “At noon on April 1st, Taco Bell issued a second press release in which they confessed to the hoax, describing it as “The Best Joke of the Day.” The company also announced that it would donate $50,000 for the upkeep of the Liberty Bell.”

Is Your Payment Processor Treating Every Day Like April Fools?

This April, the team at Evolve Payment wants to make sure that you don’t fall into another April Fools prank from your payment processor. Are you receiving the most effective merchant processing rates for your business? Are you being told that you’re operating on true Level III? Our team can conduct a complimentary rate review and show you how to process cards at the most effective rate possible.

One of the most common phrases that our new clients say after transferring to our processing is: “We were told that we were being charged the most effective rate”. This is no April Fools, it may be absolutely true. The current provider could have been providing the lowest rate they were able to, but with our process for accepting payments on different levels of payment, we are able to reduce costs by 20-40%. If you’d like to learn more about not falling for your current merchant processor’s April Fools joke, reach out to our team at Evolve Payment to see if we can find you a reduced processing cost.