That Awkward Moment When “I Have Principles” Means “Dammit, No More Chick-fil-A”

If you’ve ever checked out my VSB bio, you’re likely aware of my fondness for soups. More specifically (quoting myself) “soups that happen to be especially creamy.” And, although this was written over four years ago, my adoration for soup remains just as intense. I love soup more than fat crackheads love Home Depot. Seriously, if I ever got married, instead of having the guests choose between steak and chicken or some shit, I’ll have a station with soups from all over the world. (I also plan to have an omelet bar, all you can eat pancakes, and a selection of bacons made from dozens of different animals, including alligator, tiger, and shark. You’re probably laughing now, but tell me that wouldn’t be the awesomest wedding reception you’ve ever attended)

Want proof of this love? Try this. A few weeks ago, the high temperature in the Burgh reached 99 degrees. You know what I had for lunch that day? A bowl of soup. Dinner? Two bowls of soup.

Yet, despite this love affair, my infatuation with soup caused (and is still causing) a serious crisis of conscience. You see, although the Pittsburgh-area contains many different diners and obscure restaurants where you can get a good bowl of soup, sometimes it’s not really worth the search, and sometimes you just don’t feel like going to the ATM because some Yinzer greasy spoon still only accepts cash. When this happens, there’s always Panera Bread — a chain where the soups (and the bread bowls they come in) are consistently good — and this is a problem.

Why? Well…

From “Lawsuit: Bias against ‘fat, black or ugly’ at Panera franchise”

A Panera Bread franchisee had a policy of keeping “fat, black or ugly” people off of the cash registers and out of management positions, according to a lawsuit filed in federal court today that seeks class action status.

The lawsuit by Guy M. Vines, 21, of Castle Shannon, claims that Panera franchisee Covelli Enterprises discouraged managers from hiring African Americans, and then relegated them to menial, back-of-the-shop roles.

It follows a lawsuit filed in November by a former Panera Bread manager who said he was fired under pretenses after he objected to such policies. Both Mr. Vines and the former manager are represented by attorney Sam Cordes.

This was a pretty big story in the Pittsburgh-area last winter. So big that the Black community (Yes. All five of us) staged an unofficial protest of Panera Bread that, to my knowledge, is still going on today. I haven’t stepped foot in one since January.

I also never had a Panera franchise open a block away from where I live…something that is going to happen next week. Drats! Since learning this, I’ve begun crafting elaborate excuses for why I should give this protest thing a “break.” (My favorite? “So what if they didn’t allow Black people to work the register. At least they weren’t slaves. And, stop being a hypocrite, man. Slaves picked cotton, but that didn’t stop your Black ass from wearing shirts.”)

Anyway, I’m bringing this all up because of how interesting it is to me to see the mental machinations we put ourselves through when our principles aren’t necessarily convenient.

And, I said “we” because I know I’m not alone. For instance, I’m sure if I took a poll today asking people to name their favorite fast food restaurant, Chick-fil-A — the same Chick-fil-A whose president recently stated that he was a strong opponent of same-sex marriage — would win in a landslide. I’m also sure there would be quite a bit of overlap if I made a Venn diagram of “people who have eaten at Chick-fil-A in the past month” and “people who have marched in support of gay marriage.”

Yesterday’s post dealt with a man who had his “come to Jesus” moment, and ran the other way. He (obviously) failed on a pretty large scale, but I don’t think that allowing ourselves to defer our principles for a moment or two of pleasure is really all that different.

I have no doubt that, sometime within the next couple of days months, I will be craving some creamy chicken soup, and this craving will cause me to “delay” my Panera protest for a day. I will enjoy this soup, and it’s likely that I’ll enjoy this soup so much that I’ll delay the protest another couple of days. Soon, that delay will just turn into “Eh…it was a good effort,” and I will not feel bad about this at all.

The moral of this story? The judgements made by men have myriad effects, none greater than…actually, you know what? F*ck a moral. Why the hell did it have to be Chick-fil-A? I mean, why couldn’t the president of Hardee’s or Lady Foot Locker or wack-ass motherf*ckin Chipotle have said this instead???

Anyway, people of VSB.com, have you ever had a moment where you were forced to, um, “reconsider” your principles because they weren’t convenient? If so, what did you do?

Also, am I the only one willing to shank a kitten for a spicy chicken sandwich right now?

—Damon Young (aka “The Champ”)

***If you’re in the DC area this Thursday, make sure to come out to “Myth or Maybe” — a relationship-related discussion hosted by Panama and the homie Rahiel from Urban Cusp***