July 24, 2012

Confessions at Chick-fil-A

Cathy: "Can't marry." ^
Chick-fil-A is in the news both locally and nationally. Nationally, CEO Dan Cathy has reaffirmed his strong opposition to same-sex marriage, reiterating his "Christian" and "Godly" views. But more importantly, a new Chick-fil-A restaurant opened in northern Lakeland, Florida. And if one can make it here, one can make it anywhere! ...or something.

The Lakeland Chick-fil-A countdown was epic. That famous cow showed up in front of the restaurant under construction weeks before the opening, mooing about how soon it would open. Each day, the sign was replaced and each day came 24 hours closer to the grand opening. Lakeland hadn't seen so much excitement since one week earlier, when a new Panda Express opened across the street. The addition of Chick-fil-A would round out Highway 98 as the most American stretch of highway in the nation - housing every reputable chain restaurant, box store and vacant strip mall within a one-mile strip. With the occasional man in an Uncle Sam hat biking with a buggy of free bibles, the image belongs on the back of a coin.

I received a coupon in the mail for the new Chick-fil-A offering me a free chicken sandwich, no strings attached. I was torn. Chick-fil-A's values and what it supports as a "Christian" or "Godly" company greatly goes against my values as a Chicken. The first words in The Book of Chicken state, "Thou shalt not succumb  to cannibalism, no matter how crispy the chicken sandwich art."

This put me in a non-Chick-fil-A sandwich pickle. As devout of a Chicken as I am, I am an equally devout supporter of coupons. Who I am to turn down something free? I think we're still in an economic crisis and I'm on break from Hens on Ice. And until this website starts bringing home some bacon instead of just eating all my leftovers, I'm in no position to turn down free food. I won't tell The Cock of the Walk if you won't.

I waited a week after the grand opening for the hubbub to die down and for the paparazzi to flee before fluttering to the new Chick-fil-A. I went on a weekday afternoon in hopes to just buzz through the drive-through quickly, but those hopes were dashed. The drive-through  had not only a long line, but two lanes to order, a concept that both confuses and frightens me. So I fluttered into the dining room to order, proud to be breaking a fast food norm by using my legs to get my food - my free food!

I just want free food.
It turns out everyone in the full dining room was breaking the social norm of working during standard working hours and I had to flap my way through central Florida's children, unemployed and night-shift workers to just get in the cue (Hi, British readers!). *"cue" translates to "line" in English.*
I took deep breaths as the overweight and undershowered customers weaved through the line, either with teetering trays or hungry scowls. I was always in the wrong spot. As I avoided a kid, I bumped a hungry scowl. I then learned the lesson of pushing kids out of my way.

Chick-fil-A is also one of those establishments with free soft drink refills, but the soda fountain is located behind the counter instead of open in the dining area. So one must want a refill enough to wait in line again to have a worker refill the drink. What does this do other than make longer lines? There is no soda shortage. Soda is not expensive, and I've never seen any of even the worst customers just wasting soda, letting it flow down the drain.

The unorganized line inched forward toward the two cashiers. All that was between me and my free sandwich was some teenage clown with an empty cup. The gal at the left register hollered to help the next available guest. Although empty cup clown was leaning toward the right register, surely he'd head over to left register for that refill. I gave him a second to hear her second holler, but he continued to ignore her. As I stepped toward the open register, the hefty man with a hungry scowl behind me had already started to barge his way ahead of me. I stared him down quickly but angrily, and took a large stride to the register, greeting the gal with a forceful "Hi." There is a line - since when is cutting in line an option? No no, sir. Get behind me. And get a job!

I ordered my free sandwich and refused any side or drink she offered me. I then backed up awkwardly into the chaos to wait, dodging the hungry scowls but holding my ground on the children. Suddenly, a perky worker extended her arm in front of my face with a mystery milkshake in hand.
Photo reenactment 

"Would you like a free cookies and cream milkshake?" She asked.

"Yes, I would." I said. "Thank you."

I fluttered out of there with my sandwich and milkshake satisfied. I will tell you this, Dan Cathy: As a devout Chicken and coupon user, I do not support your views and practices that preach discrimination and slaughter my kind. My money will not support your establishment, but if you'd like to keep giving me free food that decreases your profits, I will eat it.

easy for Cathy - he's bald. 

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