Questions and answers, but mainly questions.

Chick-fil-A For The Sinner’s Soul

I’ve been feeling guilty the past few days. I erred in the “color me caffeinated” post (which I will hereto refer to as “the previous post”). My error was in my attitude toward and perception of those who do work in the fast food industry. The Starbucks rant began as a simple explanation of my background with the company and my recent rehiring there. The post got ugly when I let my guard down and my personal prejudices emerged.

What right do I have to question the respectability of the cashier’s position at Wendy’s? Why make distinctions between espresso pouring and burger flipping? Am I a holier human because I wear a green apron instead of a maroon one? My day job pays better than my night job. Should I respect my coworkers at Love A Child more than those at sbux because they make more money? Have they earned my respect because they use desks and computers instead of shot glasses and coffee urns. What’s lowly about that kind of attitude?

Admittedly – my conviction here is not self-induced. I’m not so thoughtful as to have sat back and recognized my own attitude as wicked. The day after the previous post my family and I visited a good friend’s Chick-fil-A. To those who haven’t partaken – it kicks the kentucky-fried-crap out of KFC. Colonel’s got nothin’ on the pro-active cows. So, we’re eating our heavily discounted value meals (knowing the store’s operator evidently comes with some perks) and he sits down to join us for lunch. That’s when the previous post came to mind again. I felt horrible. Here’s an admirable man whom I respect immensely and he manages the very same kind of establishment I was verbally pissing on the day before. His employees are kind, hard working people – one of whom occasionally leads our congregation in worship. In my self-centeredness, I mocked a man who has led me straight to the foot of the cross. Not offering even to buy him lunch, instead I scoffed at him for serving it.

Two things upset me – one more than the other. What upsets me most is that I thought I was better than this. I thought I was lowlier than this – more humble – more of an advocate for equality among men of different classes. I thought I was less reactionary and more discerning. I thought I was more loving and less pompous. I’m upset with myself and afraid of how much I may have hurt the feelings of some people I love through careless, thoughtless, and altogether foolish words.

I’m also upset at how quickly I led others to voice this same disdainful attitude. I was assured by many that I was better than “them.” I recognize that it was the previous post that prompted these responses. I can only hope this post prompts repentance among any repeat readers.

I’ve thought about removing the previous post, but I’ve concluded that would be insincere. Instead, as a picture of how Jesus has wiped out my sin, I’ve stricken through my haughty words. They remain as a reminder of my ugliness, but are struck through as a picture of the promised beauty.

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5 responses

  1. Celena

    In my own judgement of Sbux for their reading of my journal, I failed to express my sincerest thoughts about “class.” Thanks for this post, as it was a reminder to give up my unforgiving attitude and self-righteousness about how “I would have handled the situation had I been a barista.”

    As for the idea of class and one job being of better status than another… This is a big soap box for me. Another source of self-righteousness to work on…

    I have done pretty much any type of job you can think of. I’ve been a fast-food hamburger worker, a receptionist, a graphic designer in an award-winning agency, a secretary, administratiave assistant, self employed, a sales manager, a temp, a house cleaner scrubbing other people’s showers and toilets, a photographer’s assistant during weddings, a telemarketer, a server/hostess in a restaurant and a cashier.
    I’ve felt the sting of someone speaking to me in the tone you’d use to scold a dog when saying “No!” to having her water glass refilled; I’ve been snapped at and talked down to as a receptionist; I’ve been yelled at, cursed out, and invited to be a nationwide prosititue when trying to sell nationwide long distance phone service; I’ve been cursed at and accussed of hindering someone’s progress when asking the necessary questions to forward their call to the right extension; and I’ve even been accused of stealing money from a housecleaning client’s child’s dresser (the child, it turns out, was lying and easily used the housecleaners as an easy target to hide the fact that he had spent his money and was trying to get more money by saying we stole it).

    Through all of this, I have learned a great deal of humility and appreciation for all stations in life. I now make every effort to greet every worker by name when possible to grant them Being, and to treat everyone as an equal who is serving me in whatever capacity they are in. There’s no shame in doing an honest, hard day’s work, no matter what that is. This I must keep reminding myself of as I come to this unchallenging, unrewarding, temp assignment day in and day out! We all have to do what we have to do, right?

    December 12, 2005 at 4:51 pm

  2. Rachel

    just acknowleding this post. I was never disrespecting fast food workers though, because i’ve done it – and it is, admittedly a not-fun and most of the time stressfilled, greasy, and thankless job. i just know for me it was a place to start, although i know that’s not how it was for everyone.

    but i agree, it is most certainly not a “i’m better than a fast food worker” attitude that is the right one here… that is definitely not good. thanks for writing this post, it was really awesome.

    December 13, 2005 at 1:44 pm

  3. Lee Ann

    Thanks for your humility. That took courage.

    December 15, 2005 at 3:49 am

  4. Ducth

    Matt-
    My two cents about Chick-fil-a. I agree with your points about different people in different jobs and how we can rank or rate them because of the jobs they have and treat them differently.

    My point is that Chick-fil-A has done a tremendous job in the way it does “fast food”, so much so that I do not consider it to be in the same category. The independent operators, under Corporate coaching, take a valued approach to the total operation of their business including how they treat their employees and they coach their employees to treat their guests.

    You can go into a McDonalds, KFC, Burger King, or any other national fast food chain and more times than not the people that work there are not motivated, not freindly, do not care if you are satisfied or not. I state more times than not to avoid saying that all such establishments operate this way, however, like a sad but true stereotyp, more times than not it happens.

    Back to Chick-fil-a, Mr Cathy set the standard when if first started with it’s corporate purpose statement :

    “Our official statement of corporate purpose says that we exist “to glorify God by being a faithful steward of all that is entrusted to us and to have a positive influence on all who come in contact with Chick-fil-A.” That’s why we invest in scholarships, character-building programs for kids, foster homes and other community services. Come to think of it, it’s also not a bad motive for striving to serve a really, really good sandwich”

    In addition, Mr. Cathy does not allow any Chick-fil-a store to be open on Sundays. Can you imagine how much money that costs him in lost sales. No matter, he feels that it is the right thing to do:

    “Admittedly, closing all of our restaurants every Sunday makes us a rarity in this day and age. But it’s a little habit that has always served us well, so we’re planning to stick with it.

    Our founder, Truett Cathy, wanted to ensure that every Chick-fil-A employee and restaurant operator had an opportunity to worship, spend time with family and friends or just plain rest from the work week. Made sense then, still makes sense now.”

    Ok, enough free advertisement for Chick-fil-a. Kinda reminds me of that fast coffee place that I like to frequent, it is more than just fast, it is personable… now if those ‘Bucks up in Seatle would love God too!

    Goodnight and Good Luck (Can I type that without being sued?)

    December 15, 2005 at 4:35 am

  5. I suppose the real test would be, not can we get those people to keep working at fast food and have a better attitude, but how long could I KEEP a good attitude if I worked there. I have to admit that if someone said that I worked in fast food I would be offended. And well, that’s wrong, cuz I think I’ve grown past that kind of work or some such bull shit. I could be homeless. I could be unable to get out of bed.

    We take too much for granted and base success on the wrong things. We think if we just do the right thing, then we are beyond things we dislike. Health wealth. Don’t we deserve it? We are Americans afterall that can grow up to be ANYTHING we want to be.

    I too can be sterotyped. I don’t like it. So I assume that other people don’t like it either. Treat others as you would want to be treated.

    Only the Lord can forgive me for my self-rightousness, for only he knows how DEEP it goes.

    December 15, 2005 at 8:25 pm

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