My blog contains a large number of posts. A few are included in various other publications, or as attached stories and chronicles in my emails; many more are found on loose leaves, while some are written carelessly in margins and blank spaces of my notebooks. Of the last sort most are nonsense, now often unintelligible even when legible, or half-remembered fragments. Enjoy responsibly.

Monday, September 07, 2009

Unnecessary Ingredients or Why I Don’t Eat at Chick-fil-A

When we eat out, which can be quite often, it is either for friendship, freedom or frugality and rarely ever for the food. Add to that, with a couple of restaurant exceptions, most everything that we could eat out, we make better at home. That being said, when we do eat out we’re looking for something very specific: A decent meal, at a fair price, without too much else.

Let me clarify that a bit. Cooking a decent meal, especially in a restaurant setting, is not a hard thing to do. Even keeping the price reasonable is something that is relatively easy. Decent ingredients, proven recipes and reliable methods generally yield a meal that almost anyone could find comfort in eating. With that being understood, it is in the last part of what I am looking for when I eat out that seems to be the tricky part, so let me take a minute to explain.

I don’t eat out for word play. You are never going to be clever enough compensate for average food – so please don’t try it. It is not an organic whole wheat, free-range pork belly, hothouse tomatoes and arugula arranged on a bed of potato wedges. It’s a BLT with fries. I understand the desire to create a higher perceived value because the customer then believes that by consuming that product they in turn have enhanced their own worth, but by interjecting unnecessary attempts at heightened verbiage on something as simple as lunch, it just comes off as desperate pandering. This goes for any cute wordage as well. Here are just a few things that fall into that category: I don’t want to "biggie size" anything, I refuse to "slam it up," and it’s a Large, not a Tall. If you want to sell me a larger size, just ask if I want larger size.

Also in this category are those who attempt to add a social, spiritual or other extraneous aspects to their food (I don’t want to cleanse my body and soul, I just want a smoothy). The worst offender in this category is Chick-fil-A. For those of you who don’t know, Chick-fil-A is a fast food restaurant that serves a mighty tasty chicken sandwich. It is one of the few fast food chains that is both of decent quality and isn’t massive offensive to your digestive track. Also, Chick-fil-A is an organization that prides itself by wearing its morals on the outside. And while most of this is fairly benign (they aren’t open on Sundays), some of it has become too distracting for what they serve.

During the last election all of the local Chick-fil-A’s had political signs up and the employees were encouraged to tell people to have a blessed day. While I’m all for political involvement, such heavy-handed tactics are completely unnecessary and distracting from what they are in business to do: Sell me lunch. Moreover, by trying to create a clique where all likeminded people can gather and shop, they were actively working to create an atmosphere of “us versus them.”

Each time that I stood in line at a Chick-fl-A I kept thinking, "I didn’t come to your restaurant for a political movement, I didn’t come to your restaurant to feel that I’m part of some honorable cause and I didn’t come to your restaurant to be blessed for my ability to order, I came for a sandwich," but it still always came with everything else. It is for that reason alone that I stopped eating at Chick-fil-A and probably will not return for a long time. Lunch should never be that complicated.

3 comments:

Amy said...

I agree with everything you said.

I personally despise Chick-fil-A because they're wholeheartedly conservative.

There aren't any here in Michigan, so I can't boycott them very well, but I'll never go to one.

Amy

Brian Hamilton said...

I don't mind that they are conservative. For all I care they could be anarchists, as long as they keep it to themselves while I'm trying to enjoy my meal.

Kassi said...

When driving through on our way to Atlanta this past summer I thought that their billboard signs were very clever. But I have never enjoyed a meal at one of their locations. Not sure how I would feel about being told to have a blessed day when my next actions would be to put a high caloric, fat content food product into my gullet. It might be a more palatable message when delivered after being handed some granola, and apple, and some water.