My Guilt Shake

Photo by chick-fil-a.com
Peach shake
Peach shake

Inching down 95 South on what would turn out to be a seven-hour slog from Washington to Charlotte, my stomach started growling midway. 

Stuck in stop-and-go-traffic, my black Lab’s nose pressed against the window, smearing the glass. We were hungry, hot, and in need of a pit stop. 

Chick-fil-A is where we usually stop on long trips. The service is friendly; the bathrooms sparkle; and my daughters love the chicken nuggets and fresh lemonade--not to mention the free mints. I’m also addicted to the milkshakes, particularly the “hand-spun” peach shakes served in the summer. And, on this sweltering August day, I craved one.

I first learned of the Chick-fil-A flap from one of my gay friends on Facebook. He posted that his family would be boycotting the chain because of its CEO’s opposition to same-sex marriage. “Damn sandwiches were so tasty, but we won’t be back,” he wrote.

And then came the flood of news stories, more postings from “friends” and, finally, the viral YouTube video of the guy berating the Chick-fil-A employee for working for such a “hateful company.” After watching the clip, I applauded the employee’s polite and measured response in the face of a rude customer. I agreed with what she said. But I also agreed, in theory, with the ill-behaved activist, though not his handling of it. I imagine he and I have a similar voting record.

I support gay marriage. The families I know with two moms or two dads are amazing. Their kids are well-adjusted, kind, conscientious. Same-sex couples do have family values. Strong ones. This isn’t a random opinion, it’s what I’ve witnessed in my children’s school, and from my gay friends and neighbors here in DC and elsewhere. I whole-heartedly support freedom of choice--in all its forms.

Which brings me to my choice. To have a milkshake or not? What would it say if I stopped for a shake in light of the boycott?  How would I explain to my children that I support gay rights and my right to have a thick, creamy milkshake? 

Bottom line: I don’t relish tackling political questions when I’m hungry. I’d rather keep my poultry and my politics separate, like church and state. 

We live in a country based on free speech. Even if we disagree with others’ opinions, they still have a right to them. Tolerance--on both sides--is the key ingredient. And what would boycotting a restaurant really do to the CEO? Would it change his views? Doubtful.

So I chose the peach milkshake. And, yes, I felt guilty about it. Still do. Aside from the cause, the calories are concerning. I have just discovered that a large peach milkshake from Chick-fil-A has 850 calories and 21 grams of fat. I’m calling it my guilt-shake.

0 Comments For This Article

Anonymous

Your story is not cute and has no redeeming value. Chick-fil-A is a bigoted, hate-filled corporation, and in supporting their bigotry, you are supporitn bigotry. If the story in the headline news over the past several weeks had been that Chick-fil-A discriminated big time against black people, I'll bet you a nickle you would NOT have dared to stop for your ridiculous peach shake. Your white guilt would totally not have let you. But gay people, -- well, it's different somehow -- a maytter of corporate free speech. Ha! Hate is hate. You may say you're not a bigot, but in supporting bigotry you bring shame on yourself.

Seward

Well, since it is a free country I'll go ahead and say that I disagree with your disagreement. You are painting with a very broad brush when you say that Chick-Fil-A is a "bigoted, hated-filled corporation." I read an article that profiled more than a few of Chick-Fil-A's gay employees and the awkwardness of their situation. They get lambasted by ignorant gays and gay-rights supporters who see them wearing the company uniform and then win praise from gay-phobic customers who assume that all employees share the beliefs of the owner. And seriously, are you surprised that a devout Christian who was raised the way he was woud say that marriage should be between and man and a woman? It would be like asking you if gays should be allowed to marry? What other answer would we expect from you but yes? If management's position was that it would not knowingly hire gay people, then I think this boycott would have merit. Page's point that everyone is entitled to his/her opinion seems to have been trampled in the stampede of self-righteousness. The world is not binomial and those who see life as an either/or proposition are missing the subtle shades that make life so interesting. Page's continued patronization of Chick-Fil-A is not an endorsement of the views of the owner. It is, rather, the end result of her desire for a tasty milkshake. And for you to portray the entire company as bigoted and hate-filled makes you, in my opinion, more narrow-minded than Dan Cathy.

Shawn G.

Well said, Page! My thoughts are right in line with yours and most rational people. 

As with most every made up controversy, this Chick-fil-A one demonstrates the degree of unawareness people on both sides of it possess. 

Who cares? If those who now - poorly, albeit - chime in about why they will drive to Chick-fil-A, immediately, and shove food down their throats to prove the point that they support a person or an organization's opposition to something that, without the ability to read the signposts, is inevitable, well, then, that shows one type of ignorance. 

If you're screaming at the top of the mountain about how much you loved your Chick-fil-A Spicy Chicken Sandwich Delux and Waffle Potato Fries, but you will never dip another Chicken Nugget into that dreamy Sweet & Smokey Dipping Sauce because someone expressed an opinion you disagree with, well then you're just out a good lunch and are demonstrating another type of ignorance.

For me, I'm pretty comfortable to go and order a meal with my husband at the closest Chick-fil-A, sit in the damn middle of the restaurant, eat maybe two sandwiches - because they're that good - and high-five my husband right after I kiss him. What can I say? I like the food.

And let's face it, I'm pretty convinced that these loud, "you-go-Cathy-we-agree-with-you-on-your-anti-gay-marriage-stance" folks patron far more brands and companies who do support gay rights than who don't. In fact, they'd probably shit their shorts if they knew that Apple, Ford, Levi, Microsoft, Nike, JC Penny's, General Motors, Sears, American, Delta, Google, Southwest, United, Coca-Cola, Boeing, Walt Disney, Hilton, Pepsi, Marriott, Starbucks, Budweiser, McDonald's, Proctor & Gamble, and so many more are champions of equality. Or maybe they wouldn't, but who cares? 

The chief spokesman for Chick-fil-A just died after a 29-year career with the company. He had a heart attack. Whether that heart attack was linked to the comments - and then the eventual clarifications - of the company's president, or to the fallout from the "now-I-can-say-I'm-active-in-some-cause" people on either side who have chosen to ignore the real problems in the world, in lieu of a chicken sandwich, will never be known. But dear Lord folks, chill, and enjoy a hand-spun shake.

And you got to respect - and take TOTALLY legitimately - "anonymous" comments. If you want to be taken seriously, leave your name. If not, pipe down, adults are trying to have a conversation. 

Anonymous

Did Chick-fil-A discriminate against anyone? Have they acted in a hateful way towards anyone? All of the screaming and mean words are coming from the same sex marriage supporters, not Chick-fil-A or their employees. It's been embarrassing the way some supporters have been acting. Ms. Evans is right in saying that EVERYONE has a right to their opinion, even if it's not politically correct, freedom of choice and TOLERANCE works both ways.