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.”
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.