The Waffle House Punishment That Has Everyone Talking

Yesterday, Lee Sanderlin sat at a table in a Waffle House. He was ready for the long haul. Specifically, as he explained in a Twitter thread documenting his trial, he was undergoing the Waffle House Challenge as a penalty for coming last in a fantasy football league. The rules of the challenge are that he must remain within the Waffle House for 24 hours. Those hours can be reduced by eating waffles — with one eaten waffle standing in for one hour.

Tweeting out the whole experience, people followed along as Sanderlin enjoyed his first two waffles well enough but reached discomfort four waffles in. After some worries about puking and hours spent attempting to consume the seventh waffle, Sanderlin reached the early hours of the morning. Clearly exhausted, he tweeted: "Enjoying another cup of coffee, trying to make some room. Beyond the utter and total discomfort I feel, Waffle House is pretty peaceful right now. Kind of zen. Not touching no. 8 for at least an hour."

About 15 hours and nine waffles later, he left the Waffle House, emphasizing that he left a good tip in his wake. According to The New York Times, Waffle House refrained from their request for a comment on the waffle vigil occuring, but did throw up their own tweet stating "Sounds like someone WON his fantasy football league, not lost..." (via Twitter). Perhaps the social media team felt that being associated with a punishment wouldn't be a good look for them.

The Waffle House Challenge has become the go-to punishment for fantasy football leagues

The other reason why the Waffle House media team may not have felt the need to respond to the New York Times is that the food challenge was not a new trend by this point.

As far back as January 2020, the Waffle House Challenge had been established enough for it to be called the Waffle House Challenge. On January 8, 2020, Whiskey Riff reported on another person's chronicle of their time in a Waffle House. They too had lost their fantasy football league and they too began their thread by simply stating they will be attempting the Waffle House Challenge with a brief explanation of what that is. However, they had heard the idea from someone else, dating the Waffle House Challenge back even further.

Other recent references include a Yelp review from March 14, 2021 and a CNN piece about one huge $1000 tip left by one challenger on January 9, 2021. So, despite being a few years old, the challenge does seem to be surging into more mainstream popularity.