Chik-fil-A: My love/hate relationship

I come from the old-school of loving Chik-fil-A. I remember eating there back in college. When we moved to Chicago and lost the ability to tool down the road to get a yummy treat, I was driven to abhorrent behavior. There was a mall Chik-fil-A in Racine Wisconsin, 100 miles north of us – Racine is not the “best part of town.” When I couldn’t take it any longer, I had the wife and baby get into the car to go get a #1 combo, large-sized with a Dr. Pepper. My wife mentioned that she did not feel very good and maybe we shouldn’t go. I heard, “That sounds great, honey. Let’s go now.” Half-way there, I asked her why she was laying down and moaning in the back seat. Needless to say, I am an old-school lover of Chik fil-A.

So, I feel as though I have a right to say my beef (hehe) about the new era of the “My pleasure” phrase. You see, about 4-5 years ago, the corporate borg affected (effected, affected, eff – you know what I mean) Chik-fil-A policy. This is the concept that a central idea for chain whatever’s (stores, restaurants, satellite church locations) is the best idea. That means what some guys in an office see as profitable at one place must work the same everywhere. The individual customer is gone and the masses form a single collective and when serving them, you must behave likewise – and resistance is futile! What am I talking about, you might wonder?

About 4-5 years ago, I noticed that as I went in to the Chik-fil-A’s to partake and provide my polite conversational expressions of gratitude that my momma taught me, you know – wouldyoucouldyouthankyouplease- they started all responding to my thank-you’s with “My pleasure” – all of them. I know that Moe’s Southwest Grill was commited to the half-hearted, whole-lying, “Welcome to Moes!” when you walk in, as they look at the glop of black beans that they are putting on the 9 lb. burrito that they are “creating” – never looking at you, mind you. But, now Chik-fil-A? A pre-programmed, “My pleasure” that steals the human element away from my relationship with Team Member, Brad?

Well, one day I snapped and as Team Member, Brad regurgitated his “My pleasure” I said, “You have to say that don’t you?” Feeling as though he misunderstood or misheard me, Team Member Brad said, “Excuse me, sir. What was that?” “You have to say that – they make you say that, don’t they?”, I whispered with conspiracy theory emphasis. “Say what?”, Team Member Brad asked, now a bit bewildered and (I think) a little afraid. “‘My pleasure’, they make you say, ‘My pleasure’ – they told all of you to say it to us as your pre-programmed response, didn’t they?” Now, fully freaked-out, Team Member Brad reassured me that they were not told that and then tried to move on to ask if I needed any sauces. I persisted – “Why did all of you start saying it at the same time, then!?” “I don’t know, sir, but here’s your #1 combo, large-sized with a Dr. Pepper.”, he offered, stepping back from the counter. I resigned and said, “Well , I was just wondering. Thanks anyhow.”

He said, “My pleasure.”

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