The internets and the air waves are aflame! But, what is that which is burning? It’s old news that has come to light, again. While there is a whole paper to be written on that phenomenon, we’re going to move on to a more important aspect right now. At least in this case, the news is still relevant, and that is why there are more important aspects that we should focus on.
I previously wrote on the importance of our economic vote. In short, where you shop does, in fact, matter. It is a constantly updating list also. For example, I have recently become aware that I will have to forgo my occasional late night trips to Waffle House , because of their sizable corporate contributions to Karl Rove’s superPAC, American Crossroads. As we, as consumers, make our choices, our impact will be felt, or our apathy will be shown. Either way, we are making our stand.
- Bringing Chick-fil-A back to the forefront of the news this week though are several events:As Equality Matters had reported in March, I linked to in April and we have actually known for at least a decade, Chick-fil-A through their charitable foundation, WinShape has been consistently giving to anti-gay marriage groups. However, in an interview posted July 16th, the COO, Dan Cathy, acknowledged that, “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’ll accept that he’s not talking about all the various biblical definitions of marriage, and only the currently popular one man-one woman definition, since that’s the most likely definition to which he was referring….) Snopes goes on to add other quotes that are even more damning, but that I can’t validate so I won’t include here.
- The letter from Mayor Thomas M Menino of Boston to Dan Cathy of Chick-fil-A, strongly suggesting that Chick-fil-A abandon plans to find a location within Boston.
- Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel made the statement that Chick-fil-A’s “values are not Chicago values.”
- San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee tweeted, “Closest #ChickFilA to San Francisco is 40 miles away & I strongly recommend that they not try to come any closer.”
I have a very good friend who grew up going to the original location in Jonesboro, GA. He maintains that these positions are not consistent with the S. Truett Cathy who founded the chain and that his grandfather introduced him to repeatedly. Now, the original Mr. Cathy is still alive and kicking and is still, at least titularly, the Chairman and CEO at 91. Is he actively involved in the company any more? Who’s to say? He has not, that I’ve seen, been quoted in the latest flaps. Honestly, it doesn’t matter. It is the corporate position.
This same friend has expressed that he feels torn because the 975 franchisees (in 2007) spent years building up the business and wonders if these franchisees should be held accountable for the corporate policies. Also, he points out that while he worked there in the past, the franchisee that he worked for, hired gay employees.
There is a significant flaw in this reasoning. It is the same flaw that so many people in American make, and it is such a fundamental flaw that when I was having the conversation with him, it didn’t strike me at first either. It wasn’t until later that it hit me.
This is precisely the reasoning that comes from the same line as those who would demand their rights without accepting their corresponding responsibilities.
The franchisees have benefited from the marketing and the “good name” of the Chick-fil-A corporation for the last 65 years. They have benefited from the recipes. The name recognition. They’ve benefited in every way possible from the positives – the rights – of being associated with the Chick-fil-A name/brand. And, now, it’s time to fully pay the piper.
They have certainly paid the franchise fees, which have historically been ridiculously low, by industry standards, thanks to the “cult like” screening process which allowed Chick-fil-A to make sure they were filtering out all of the “undesirables”. These processes involved literally dozens of interviews over the courses of years. Then, instead of charging a franchise fee of $25,000, like KFC does, Chick-fil-A would only charge $5,000. Of course, they also made up for this in other ways. It was no accident that their franchisees were earning roughly 1/3 what other franchisees were bringing in. They have paid for their product, of course.
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