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No other fast-food item has quite the same cult following as the McRib. Fast foodies fell in love with it way back when it first appeared on McDonald's menu in 1982 — or maybe they fell in love with hating it and its devotees who flock to the chain every time it comes back.

So you won't be surprised to hear that it's going to be in restaurants again starting Oct. 31 through Nov 30. But this time, McDonald's is being a little extra cheeky, saying it's the vaguely rib-shaped pork patty's farewell tour. "Enjoy our famous pork sandwich as if it’s your last!" the McDonald's website commands in the most macabre way possible.

To most consumers, that would mean that this is the final time McDonald's plans to bring back the ubiquitous limited-time offer. That's what a farewell tour is, right? A final victory lap before heading off to an easy retirement, never to be seen staining the shirts of eaters again. 

But, as you may suspect, that's probably not at all what's happening. First, the McRib is a seasonal cash cow that drives sales, whether that's because so many customers buy it or because everyone is talking about it. For McDonald's to formally cancel the McRib would be silly from a business standpoint in the long run. (Though, in the short term, the huge marketing boost it's getting from all the media coverage, including this article, isn't lost on us!)

Second, everyone knows that farewell tours are almost never the last go-around. Athletes famously unretire, and singers like Cher, Elton John, and the Grateful Dead have all announced farewell tours that turned out to be "just kidding" tours once they booked the next one. 

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So, if I were a betting woman, I'd wager that Nov. 20 isn't the last day you'll be able to get a McRib, despite what the chain tweets or advertises. If obsessed, worried customers who don't read between the lines of the marketing scheme decide to stock their freezer full of McRib sandwiches to satisfy their craving years down the road, who's to stop them? It certainly won't be McDonald's. 

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