by Dr. Jeffrey Lant
Author’s program note. I’ve got to tell you, stories like this make me glad to be alive and, as a commentator, have the solemn responsibility to report the facts and nothing but the facts to you… while trying hard not to bust a gut as both sides realize that America is enjoying the cat fight we’re reporting… in fact, we just can’t get enough of it.
But, first, I want to introduce you to the music that accompanies this tale of fowl behavior and roosters crowing on their own dung hills. It’s Rodney Carrington’s tune “The Chicken Song”…. and it perfectly fits the bill: red neck, down home, big hat, bigger ego, not much up there, howdy ma’am, finger lickin’ good, you dawg you, God bless America. It starts like this, and Rodney insists you learn these lyrics… or kiss his…. he’s that kind of guy:
“I like my women like I like my chicken/ With a little bit of fat on the ends/ Not too much and not too little/ Just enough to make me grin.”
You’ll find the rest (and there is more of the same) in any search engine. Go now; it’s got just the right sound for the rollicking article that follows.
“My way or the highway. Don’t you even try to spend your tainted money here.”
You’d be hard-pressed to find a businessman in our punk economy who made a point of letting you know in no uncertain terms that you’d better believe as he believes about God, Cosmos, and the American Way… or take your business elsewhere. Yeah, it’s hard to find ‘em, because that point of view is the very antithesis of capitalism, plutocracy, making a buck and laughing all the way to the bank.
Sure we each have our very own opinions on such Big Questions of Life, but we’re shrewd enough, careful enough, discrete enough to keep them to ourselves. Remember Karl Marx’s celebrated assertion, “The last capitalist we hang shall be the one who sold us the rope”? That about sums up what all of us in business do to get us through the day… and keep something beside for the next rainy day. We go along to get along, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.
It just doesn’t happen to be the way S. Truett Cathy, Chairman and CEO of Chick-fil- A and his son Dan, president, do business. With them, it’s all glory, glory, hallelujah, those saints are marching in. They sell their chicken, done just the way Rodney Carrington likes his women, “with a little bit of fat on the ends”, only to the “right sort” of people… and woe if you want a chicken sandwich and have money in hand but your foot doesn’t fit their shoe. The welcome mat will surely be removed as you’re shown the door.
Unlike virtually every other business in the customer-starved Great Republic, you are not necessarily welcome at Chick-fil-A. It all depends on what S. Truett and Danny believe today and would feel a whole lot better about you believing, too.
Founded in Georgia in 1946. $4.0 billion revenues in 2011. Over 1000 restaurants in 2012.
If you’re a student of American literature and mores, you no doubt recall F. Scott Fitzgerald’s celebrated line from “The Rich Boy” (published 1926): “Let me tell you about the very rich. They are different from you and me.” And the Cathys are way beyond comfortable. As such they dish out their bigotry without remorse or understanding. Indeed, there may even be a nubbin of profound business insight in their disdain: if they stress their Godly views with vehemence and dogmatic insolence, they may actually sell more chicken and reap more profits.
After all, if you believe yourself saved and a certain candidate for heaven, you feel a whole lot better paying for chicken delivered by fellow believers, sanctioned by Jehovah. Chicken McNuggets eat your heart out. Mere taste has been trumped by sanctity, righteousness and rock-ribbed certainty about absolutely everything, including how you should live your life and express your love.
S. Truett’s adamant point of view is summarized in the final step in his Five-Step Recipe for Business Success, “I was not so committed to financial success that I was willing to abandon my principles and priorities. One of the most visible examples of this is our decision to close on Sunday. Our decision to close on Sunday was our way of honoring God and of directing our attention to things that mattered more than our business.”
Now, the usual way for such zealots to pursue their celestial work would be to set up a charitable foundation and go to town, leaving the business to focus on chicken, all the fixings and cold hard cash. But the very rich are different. Thus, while they did establish a (501(c) (3) tax-exempt organization, they also used company money to co-sponsor a marriage conference and this, in due course, lead them to the unholy bugaboo of homosexuality… a subject guaranteed to send most every Southern Baptist like old man Cathy and son into a bona-fide, ripe-roaring rodomontade about the Sins of the Flesh and a plethora of Unspeakable Outrages. Foaming at the mouth was recommended, but not required.
And so Dan Cathy sat down with the Baptist Press one July day in 2012 and made it clear why the Founding Fathers added the First Amendment to the Constitution. This day he confirmed that his company was “guilty as charged” for being a supporter of organizations rallying against same-sex marriage. It was the usual jeremiad that proved nothing so much as that President Cathy had a mania for peeping in other people’s bedrooms and being horrified (as well as titillated) by what he went in search of and forced himself to see.
Chicken in Bean Town?
At just this moment, it happened that Chick-fil-A was going through the necessary motions to do business in Boston. Now as all the world knows, not a creature stirs in The Hub of the Universe not even a mouse without His Honor Mayor (since 1993) Thomas M. Menino knowing the reason why and stamping it with his approval, or not.
Menino is also an adamant “my way or the highway” guy and he made it clear he’d do anything to block Chick-fil-A, unto the full panoply of his considerable powers, to keep those Southern fried gay bashers out of the Shining City on a Hill, a place of liberal ideas where gay people are very much at home and accepted, marriage and all. Thus the fat was truly in the fire for all that Boston Bruins goalie Tim Thomas (who never met a kooky anachronistic view or uncivil behavior he didn’t like), promptly opted for God and chicken.
And so the tempest in a teacup continues… with each party fulminating, posturing, speaking darkly of rights and lawyers, sound and fury signifying nothing so much as each and every participant in this fiasco looks like a card-carrying knucklehead, the Cathys for assuming they know God personally and know His will and intentions, which no man, whatever his outlook or denomination, has ever known or can know… the Honorable Tommy needing a cold shower bath while a responsible adult explains to him the realities of business and just what he can and cannot do. Thus in due course, after filling out innumerable municipal forms and paying considerable municipal fees, Chick-fil-A will come to Boston. But I shall never go. I have tasted their recipe and prefer McNuggets, and that’s a wrap.
About the Author
Harvard-educated Dr. Jeffrey Lant is CEO of Worldprofit, Inc., providing a wide range of online services for small and-home based businesses. Services include home business training, affiliate marketing training, earn-at-home programs, traffic tools, advertising, webcasting, hosting, design, WordPress Blogs and more. Find out why Worldprofit is considered the # 1 online Home Business Training program by getting a free Associate Membership today at http://www.Worldprofit.com
Author: Jeffrey LantThis author has published 572 articles so far. More info about the author is coming soon.