Much like reading Nietzsche before going to church (which I have done before), every time I drive into the Chick-Fil-A (CFA) parking lot I feel like I am about to commit a sin for which I will have to repent later. Although my sense of ethics and duty towards humanity commands me to turn around – “CFA does not support the rights of gay men and women!” – I am lured to her drive-through or seated dining area.
The seduction is torrid. I am a fool for employees who speak to me in complete sentences. Additionally, these people are – gasp! – pleasant. In fact, when I say “thank you” at CFA, more often than not, the response is “my pleasure.”
So, as an ethical consumer I am forced to choose between two ideas: Christian values and common courtesy. But why is this so troubling? Because I would like to think that courtesy is a human being trait not a religious one.
I wish CFA could look through its lens of Christian acceptance and be reconciled that there are people who are homosexual. CFA doesn’t have to agree with their life style or agree that they are going to heaven. No, sir. But if CFA values an employee enough to represent the CFA brand (which isn’t easy) and pay their salary (which isn’t a lot), these employees deserve the same benefits as their peers. To, me this is easy stuff.
But put the gay rights issue aside. CFA has truly differentiated itself in its market and provides two valuable and under represented commodities: food and friendliness. CFA has fooled millions of people that their fast food is healthy (which it is not) and that you are eating at a “restaurant” with unique and consistent customer service, not a fast food joint.
So, in terms of making an ethical restaurant choice, I have to decide: do I want to support gay rights by not eating at CFA OR eat at CFA thereby supporting courtesy and professionalism in a work environment (which is supremely lacking)?
Am I simple? I would like to just think about what I would like to eat, not if I am supporting the Christian right-wing agenda. Why can’t someone create a hamburger place where people have to behave nicely, my food is not too expensive, and all folks are treated equally?
So how does one decide such a quandary? Realistically, boycotting CFA doesn’t do any good. Not really. And why do that when it’s so tasty. Instead, donate to a local charity or volunteer. It is there that – not matter your religion or orientation – you can support your community and promote the importance of courtesy by the way you behave with others.