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August 2, 2012 / mommy brain

For the love of french fries, but more importantly, for the love of LOVE

I am ashamed for including Chick-Fil-A on my top 5 french fry list. I’ve adjusted the list accordingly. I have plenty of delicious french fries to choose from, and I can stop eating the ones that stand for hate.

My original stance on this topic was that I don’t care what their CEO thinks or says because I am unaware of the personal beliefs of most CEOs of companies whose products I use, own or consume. The CEO’s job is to increase the value of the enterprise he or she leads.  As a capitalist, that is what I care about most when forming my opinion of a CEO. Given his or her position in society, the CEO may choose to use said position to advance causes he or she feels strongly about. Sheryl Sandberg, COO (not CEO but close enough) of Facebook has used her place in society to speak publicly about women’s issues and to inspire women to overcome them. In this case, Sheryl Sandberg’s work outside her role as COO has inspired me personally, but it’s not part of what I think about when I form opinions of Facebook’s business model or the company in general.

In the case of Chick-Fil-A, I have adjusted my thinking, and I cannot separate the CEO’s personal agenda and the company as a whole because he has allowed the company to become a vehicle for endorsing his personal beliefs. And in this case, I strongly disagree with the hateful agenda the CEO, and the company itself, is pushing and financially supporting. Since he’s allowed the company itself to represent (and fund!) his beliefs, I’ve decided to stop supporting his company and to stop buying their products.

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3 Comments

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  1. E / Aug 2 2012 3:01 PM

    I get why you took them off of your list, but it might be worth considering that the locations are franchises. The owner of the franchise here in NH is actually going to the NH Pride Fest, paying for a table, and donating food. The CEO should be ready to deal with the public reaction to making his own views public, but some of the franchisees are 180 degrees away. If there are any near you that are more of the mind of the NH owner, at least that means that you can have guilt-free french fries. Well, not food-guilt-free of course… 😀

    • mommy brain / Aug 2 2012 3:17 PM

      I did not know that! Thanks, E! This is why I hesitated to mention this topic in the past. I felt like I was not knowledgeable enough.

      What you’re telling me makes me happy but also sad because Dan Cathy represents the company when he speaks publicly about what causes the company supports, and it’s hard for me, the consumer, to know that certain franchise owners do not share his sentiment. In this way, he is hurting the enterprise as a whole, and definitely not acting as a good CEO. Although you could argue he was responsible for a brief spike in revenue yesterday with car lines circling around the blocks surrounding Chick-Fil-A’s around the country. Again, if he was just speaking on behalf of himself, I wouldn’t feel so strongly about this. I’m choosing to not eat there anymore because he’s now using the company to promote personal beliefs.

      I will definitely be happy to eat some waffle fries at a NH franchises when I visit you 🙂

  2. E / Aug 3 2012 1:10 PM

    There isn’t much info on this out there, and I would bet that the franchise owners who will come out and officially support the opposite side of the coin will be very few. Still, I’ll be happy to take you to Nashua to get some waffle fries next time you are out here!

    It was particularly informative to see the back-and-forth on the issue on FaceBook, especially since the political cloud I hang out in includes both highly vocal proponents of gay marriage as well as those who view marriage as a religious institution and therefore as man+woman, though those typically believe the gov’t should be out of the marriage business anyway. I think my favorite FB post was one pointing out that it is crazy that people don’t give a thought to the way the chickens are raised for Chick-Fil-A but they take a moral stance on the gay marriage issue. Since I try to avoid commercial chicken in favor of backyard chicken, it probably resonated a bit more with me than the average bear. 😀

    Dan Carthy made a huge gamble by making that statement. I would say that it was a very poor gamble, and that he put his franchise owners in a very difficult position as they will bear a large part of the impact from his statement. But the American attention span is horrendously short, and I would bet that this fades in a few months (if not sooner).

    If this issue lasts longer, I’ll actually be quite impressed. People have become far more aware of their food in recent years, and I’m impressed at how many are walking the walk as opposed to being all talk. It is great to see people stick by their convictions, rather than just flutter in the wind.

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