Mayor Bill de Blasio, We Love Chick-fil-A!

NYC May Bill de Blasio is looking left with one hand up, and his mouth open like he is speaking. He has salt and pepper hair, is tall and stocky, and wears a dark blue suit, light blue shirt and red and white striped tie.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio

A Chick-fil-A spokesperson recently said, “The Chick-fil-A culture and service tradition in our restaurants is to treat every person with honor, dignity, and respect–regardless of their beliefs, race, creed, sexual orientation or gender”(Wall Street Journal, May 9, p. A14). This person was responding to New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, who wants people to boycott the restaurant chain because the owners of Chick-fil-A have a different opinion than he does on LGBT issues. I assume they contribute their private money to organizations de Blasio is against. De Blasio reduces this to “Chick-fil-A is anti-LGBT.”

A two-year-old girl with a pixie face, squinting with a smile, has a bottle of chocolate milk and Chick-fil-A containers in front of her. She is sitting in a booth, wearing a purple shirt with white sleeves.
A satisfied Chick-fil-A customer

I really don’t want to get into the politics of this. I mean, there are laws against discrimination and courts to parse the troubles. But we are talking about chicken sandwiches here. Can’t we munch in peace with conversations about the movie Zootopia and how much cash the Tooth Fairy is going to slip under the pillow? Must we begrudge a successful company who treats the consumer as number one and employs thousands of people?

I had not been inside a Chick-fil-A restaurant until about two years ago, when a friend suggested we go there to feed chirping peeps. After that, we’ve been back several times. The Chick-fil-A experience consistently receives an A in my fast food book. The staff is trained to be polite, and they often ask if you need anything. The place is clean. The food is tasty. While we wait a brief time for our order, the kids munch on “appetizers” of Cheerios in small plastic containers. Our Chick-fil-A has a play area with slide, and there are little placemats and wipes to keep life tidy–perfect for the customers with munchkins.

Our culture wars are so deep these days that I feel we need to call “Time Out.” Let customers enjoy their chicken strips in peace around people practicing hospitality and civility.

One more commendable observation: since the chicken chain started in 1946, founder Truett Cathy’s decision not to be open on Sundays is still in place. That means, all the workers get a day off to spend as they so choose. It’s a win for the employee!

Mayor de Blasio, please be more selective about your rooster fights and try not to gulp the whole bird in one bite. You and I will both feel better.

False Advertising, Wrong Change, Bad Customer Service?

After returning home from grocery shopping I searched my bags and car for the “free gallon of milk” offered for purchasing over $50. The promotion was documented on my receipt, but the bagger must have not packed the milk. No problem. I would go to the store the next day and ask them about it. Oh-oh, I examined the newly purchased hot dog buns. One of them had mold on it. Picking up my receipt, I circled buns. Then I saw the other oops. The special of three fruit bowls for $10 was adding up to $11. Ten dollars had been a splurge, but $11 was a rip off. We’re talking false advertising and bad customer service.

The next day at the store, stern-faced Martha was offering no apology for the FullSizeRendermoldy bread I returned as she moved to give a cash reimbursement. “But wait,” I said, “Look at the fruit bowl special.”

“Well, mam, the receipt says the pineapple was in a “cup” for $2.99. It wasn’t in a $3.99 bowl so you didn’t get three.”

“I am quite certain the pineapple was in the same kind of container as the watermelon and cantaloupe. Besides, they were all mixed together in the same display case.“ I said with Girl Scout honesty.

She was a rock: “Doesn’t matter. The receipt says it is a cup.”

“Well, I would be quite upset if I have to go home and come back and show you that the cup is actually a bowl.”

“Sorry, mam. I have to go by what the receipt says, and it says pineapple cup.”

“What about what the customer says?” I argued. It was now the principle of the matter. Besides, this store had forgotten to put my milk in the cart and sold me moldy bread with no apology from Martha.

She gave me the teacher stare down with her glasses. “Why don’t you go get your free milk, and I will reimburse you for the bread.”

I did just that, praying, “Lord, I want to be a peacemaker!”

But when I got home I dived into the recycling can and pulled out the pineapple BOWL. It was the exact size as the other two containers. The label said pineapple cup. Was the store intentionally cheating consumers with deceptive mixing of cups and bowls? Those dollars do add up!

I could hear the “Frozen” song in my head, “Let It Go; Let It Go.”

No could do. I grabbed my receipt and phoned the store’s number listed at the top. Martha answered.

“May I have the produce department, please,” I said as sweetly as I could, sensing she knew exactly who it was!

Alyson in produce was more understanding after I explained things. “I am so sorry,” she said. “It is our mistake. I will go and change those labels right now.”

Thank you, Alyson! That is all I wanted to hear.

My good consumer vibe lasted only a few days, however, because I went to a different grocery store.

My organic blueberries were supposed to be on special at $2 a box. My receipt said the two boxes rang up at $4.99 a piece! Yikes. I lost six dollars!

This time I was still in the store and went straight to produce. Employee Paul reassured me the boxes were priced at $2.FullSizeRender

“I’ll use your name when I talk to management, ” I warned.

By the time I wheeled over to the counter the manager said, “You just have to show me the blueberries. Paul phoned.”

“Okay,” she said, examining them. “I can only give you one free box so I will be reimbursing you $2.50 for the other one.”

“But they are supposed to be $2 each,” I muttered. “It wasn’t a two for one. I think I should get six dollars back.”

“Six Dollars! I can’t do that, mam. I can only give you one free. Do you understand?”

“No, not really,” I said. “I want to pay what the sign says.”

“What did the sign say?” she asked.

“That they were on special for $2 each.”

“I can’t give them both to you free. I have to charge you for one and give you one free.”

“Okay,” I said meekly. Whatever!

She then proceeded to give me the two boxes of blueberries and $7.73 in cash.

“Are you sure?” I said not wanting to cause any more trouble.

“Yes!” she said with authority.

“Okay. Thank you,” I said.

It was more than I had asked or deserved, but do you think I earned it?