28 Jul 2012
When I was a kid, Chick-Fil-A was one of the greatest places on Earth. It didn’t make you feel terrible after you ate it, like McDonalds. Other kids weren’t mean to you on their playground, nor did it seem as nasty, like at McDonalds,. And best of all, there was a mystique to it because we never got to go that often. You see, McDonalds is everywhere and cheap. Chick-Fil-A is usually only near a big mall, and expensive for what you get. And not living near a big city or a mall for a good portion of my life, I would go 6 months to a year without eating at Chick-Fil-A, which made it all the more delicious when I finally did get to eat that Chicken Sandwich with those lone pickle slices. Also, it didn’t help that we’d buy those Chick-Fil-A Cow Calenders every year, thus having a 365-day advertisement to a restaurant we usually couldn’t go to.
This is the backbone of a good business that Chick-Fil-A has. Their food is good, and they hold all the cards in giving it to you. They’ll take great care of you when you walk in, but until then, YOU WILL WAIT! Which is what most of their biggest fans will do, since their “Real America” base tends to live in areas that don’t have a Chick-Fil-A anywhere close by.
This anticipation about eating Chick-Fil-A would only grow for me on roadtrips. You see, whenever we’d be heading towards somewhere, the most convient place to eat would always either be McDonalds or Cracker Barrel. But returning from somewhere, almost always on a Sunday, the most convient place to eat would be a Chick-Fil-A, to which we’d all get exited, but then immediately depressed when we realized what day it was.
This is perhaps Chick-Fil-A’s most brilliant business move. You see, common sense would dictate that not being open 7 days a week would make you lose money. And while it’s technically true, Chick-Fil-A also knows how much they gain by doing it. Mainly, it shows a commitment to values. In the souless corporate world we live in today, it’s nice to see a company actively stand for something in the old Christian values of taking Sunday off. Granted, modern Christians don’t give a crap about this tradition anymore, as they, like other Americans, will take any chance to mow their grass that they can get. But Chick-Fil-A is a company, and it’s nice to see companies following tradition in something you might or might not subscribe to, but can support them to support it. So not only is Chick-Fil-A having virtually no operating costs for a day of the week, but they’re gaining PR-gold from it too.
And let’s face it, who doesn’t love Chick-Fil-A? One of my favorite things about my first year at Appalachian State University was finding out I had a meal plan, and that there was a Chick-Fil-A on campus I could literally go to all the time. This led to about a year of me eating Chick-Fil-A at least two times, if not four times a week. You know, a sandwich by itself one day, a sandwhich with Sriracha another. Nuggets by themselves one, nuggets with Ranch Sauce another day. Mmmm… And because it’s the only “chain” restaurant that’s not a Subway on or near campus, it ROLLS in the money. Seriously, take a survey of those eating in the school dining hall on any given day, and 25-50% are eating Chick-Fil-A. And this is a school that has some 17,000 students in any given school year.
Suffice it to say, Chick-Fil-A is one of the smartest and most beloved restaurants in America today. I don’t even need a citation for that. It’s just fact. Science, if you will.
Or at least, until last week.
Some have opposed the company’s support of the traditional family. “Well, guilty as charged,” said Cathy when asked about the company’s position.
“We are very much supportive of the family — the biblical definition of the family unit. We are a family-owned business, a family-led business, and we are married to our first wives. We give God thanks for that.
“We operate as a family business … our restaurants are typically led by families; some are single. We want to do anything we possibly can to strengthen families. We are very much committed to that,” Cathy emphasized.
“We intend to stay the course,” he said. “We know that it might not be popular with everyone, but thank the Lord, we live in a country where we can share our values and operate on biblical principles.”
True, America is a place where you can do that, but it also reserves the right to attack you for it. You know, the whole Freedom of Speech working both ways thing. And honestly, he should be challenged on that. Not attacked maliciously as the Internet is prone to do, but challenged. After all, should the government of this nation be forced to take into account what the Bible says when making decisions? Isn’t that like reverse religious freedom/persecution or something? It’s a fair question, and I think it’s something that modern Christianity needs to be challenged on. By the way, I’m saying that as a self-proclaimed member of modern Christianity. Religion needs to find a way to co-exist with the world, not perform a hostile takeover of it. The next day, Dan Cathy went even farther on radio.
“I think we are inviting God’s judgment on our nation when we shake our fist at Him and say, ‘We know better than you as to what constitutes a marriage,’” Cathy said. “I pray God’s mercy on our generation that has such a prideful, arrogant attitude to think that we have the audacity to define what marriage is about.”
Wait, don’t YOU have some audacity defining what marriage is about? Oh wait, that’s right. You’re speaking for God. I’m sure he appreciates you doing his PR job for him by turning people more against Christianity. Yeah, good on ya for that.
Judgement coming or not, the President of Chick-Fil-A is not Noah, of The Ark fame. He’s head of a company that made 4 billion dollars last year. Granted, the company is private, but it stretches and breaks the limits of a company taking an opinion and/or stand on a political issue. After all, we’re already having enough trouble keeping companies from being sentient. If they can support poltical candidates, as sanctioned by the Supreme Court, what’s to stop them using their millions to give sway to moral issues? You know, the things that it’s debatable whether government should have a say in deceiding it.
So, in backlash, Mayors across the country are trying to stop the building of Chick-Fil-As in their cities, which in turn raises questions about the power of Mayors in America. Even the ACLU, who Fox News would have you beleive will do anything to serve this “Liberal Agenda,” has responded saying, “When an alderman refuses to allow a business to open because its owner has expressed a viewpoint the government disagrees with, the government is practicing viewpoint discrimination.” There’s even a petition going on at my aformentioned University to remove its Chick-Fil-A. But that was nothing in capturing the public’s attention to this kerfluffle than the Muppets themselves withdrawling their association with the restaurant specifically for their statements. And trust me, nothing can mobilize America today like a beloved brand telling them what to do… Oh, wait.
Now, some have made the point that other companies don’t receive the same amount of controversy for what they believe, to which I say, Chick-Fil-A is making an active effort to proclaim what it beleives, which just so happens to be THE most heated topic in America today. Sure, everybody knows their core beliefs as a family, and what they were founded on. Everybody with a reasonable bone in their body in this country is OK with that. But take the example of In-N-Out Burger, who openly displays Bible verses on their food containers that everybody eats out of. The line that they are not crossing is taking an active stand on a Political issue, which is what the topic of gay marriage is. Gay marriage is a moral issue that’s been politicized.
It doesn’t matter what the Bible says about homosexuality, the fact of the matter is that Chick-Fil-A’s President openly called out a group of people that exist in this nation using rhetoric that alienates that said group of people. Chick-Fil-A isn’t specifically barring gay individuals from eating there, but the rhetoric of God’s Judgement isn’t exactly inviting. I don’t know about you, but that’s not something I’m OK with, and that’s not something I see as the actions of a good, modern Christian.
Jesus called people out, but he didn’t alienate them. He always gave people a way into accepting him and his message, as long as they made the effort. If they wanted to take part in Him, he didn’t shun them. He hung around prostitutes, adulterers, and other unsavory characters that even today’s society would judge. Also, very important fact, Jesus wasn’t making 4 billion dollars a year in revenue by running a business. He was on a personal mission to spread the Good News.
But frankly, the issue of gay marriage as a political issue is unwinnable as a debate topic, since each side is firmly grounded in their positions. Yet, this is still a topic of discussion. Some call it a battle in the “Culture War,” I call it another lackadaisical stand in the “Battle of Who Could Care Less.”
Don’t believe me? Tell me what good will ever come of former Presidential candidate Mike Huckabee, outraged Chick-Fil-A would ever be attacked for anything, ever, is declaring August 1st “Chick-Fil-A Appreciation Day.” In opposition, there’s a less popular group, but a still there group called, “NATIONAL Same Sex Kiss Day at Chick Fil A,” which takes place on August 3rd. Each day is designed for the sole purpose of re-entrenching their stand on their side of the argument, which frankly, is counterproductive and ruining this nation. Point is, don’t go to Chick-Fil-A next week unless you want to walk into a probable vitriolic moral battleground.
So we have all these questions about the power of companies, whether the opinion of a company matters, and questions about the moral battlegrounds in America. What do we do about all of it? Well, you can do nothing, or you can do something. It honestly depends on You. I wrote a paper years ago for school talking about the power of boycotts, to which I came to the conclusion that they’re mostly useless. In that, you’d have to have such a large number of people boycotting to make a noticeable change in sales, which the company in question wouldn’t care that much about anyways, that the accomplishments simply don’t line up with the effort involved. That being said, if it makes you feel better, by all means boycott. Just stay committed to your boycott, and don’t cave after this becomes a non-news story in a week or two.
Personally, I’m kind of too poor to eat there anymore, so I won’t be partaking in them anytime soon. That being said, if you bake cookies as good as theirs (Because honestly, those cookies are the best things being made by any fast food restaurant right now), I don’t really care what you believe, I am eating that cookie. And honestly, the rest of America is probably going to follow my lead, and the rest will mostly forget about it when the 24/7 news cycle becomes unboring (Please Mitt, pick a Vice-President soon!). But if you are somebody that’s honestly incensed about what’s going on and you’re committed to boycotting, by all means go ahead. Just know what you stand for and why you’re standing for it.
Wait, the Emotional Terrorism group known as The Westboro Baptist Church not only agrees and supports Chick-Fil-A, but thinks they didn’t go far enough? Screw it. Chick-Fil-A, you need to swing Gay immediately. I’m talking creating HOT Guy Cow-On-Cow action being sold with kid’s meals! Open up a restaurant on Castro street! Change your Red coloring scheme to Rainbow! I don’t care what you believe, if the Westboro Baptist Church agrees with you, you messed up somewhere along the way! Note: I’m only partially being satiric with this paragraph.
To be continued… Until it’s forgotten when we find something more interesting to get angry at…
By the way, Chick-Fil-A head of Public Relations just died of a heart attack, so if that isn’t a sign of something, I don’t know what is.
Bonus: Here’s Chick-Fil-A’s New Mascot, Chaz The Intolerant Chicken
Tags: america, bible, business, business strategy, chick fil a, chicken, chicken sandwich, chickfila, christianity, controversy, cow, culture war, dan cathy, emotional terrorism, fast food, freedom of religion, freedom of speech, gay marriage, jesus, LGBT, mcdonalds, mike huckabee, muppets, religion, tradition