Forgiving, But Not Forgetting, All This Gay Chicken

(NOTE: Based on time elapsed since the posting of this entry, the BS-o-meter calculates this is 8.442% likely to be something that Ferrett now regrets.)

So I posted to Teh Tiny Social Medias yesterday about Chik Fil-A walking back their stance on supporting anti-gay organizations, and wondered whether it was okay to eat there yet. And a common response was, “Too little, too late.  Chik Fil-A’s lost my business forever.”
I humbly suggest this is a very unhelpful attitude.
Look, I get Chik Fil-A did a lot of wrong… But if you hold fast to that stance forever, no matter what Chik Fil-A does in the future to rectify it, then you’re encouraging companies to never change their mind.  Because if there’s really nothing they can do to make it up to you, then you’re rigging the system so there’s no reward for changing their behavior.
And you gotta remember: with rare exceptions, companies are all about the money.  Take it away from them, they’ll change… but only if they think there’s a chance of getting that cash back.  If you write to a company and tell them, “I am never ever shopping with you again!”, and they believe it, you’ll be lucky if they waste postage on a reply.  No, the trick is to tell them, “You have offended me heartily, and yet you have a chance of regaining my business!”, which gets you your best chance at creating change.
If someone does wrong – and Chik Fil-A’s done a lot of wrong to gays – then you want to give them encouragement for doing the right thing, however grudgingly it may be.  Otherwise, what you’re telling them is, “If you screw up, double down!  Because it’s not like there’s forgiveness in this world anyway.  You’re gonna be punished for your past, so might as well keep committing the sin!”  It feels like chewing tin foil, but those rewards are important… especially in circumstances where in learning to please you, they run the risk of alienating old friends.
Strangely, this works in rehabilitating both corporations and people.
A Chik Fil-A sits right across the street from me.  And you know what I’m doing this morning?  Not eating there.  Because while I will return to eating at Chik Fil-A when I’m convinced they’re serious about their anti-gay statements, the company itself has made no announcements – all we have is an alderman’s word that they intend to change.  And if a) Chik Fil-A announces officially that they will no longer donate to anti-gay groups, or b) they go a period of time without donating to anti-gay groups, then I’ll return to eating there again as I used to – which is to say, sporadically.
I want them to change.  But I also have to see evidence of the change before I start giving them credit.  That, too, is a good way to run your personal life.

1 Comment

  1. Frelance
    Sep 20, 2012

    I’d be a lot more conflicted about this news, since I love their sandwich so much… but the nearest restaurant is 115 miles away. Problem deferred!

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