We Need More Brands Like Chik-fil-A

Gay-Pride-OreoIt happened while I was at the grocery store the other day. I was in the oral hygiene aisle to grab some toothpaste and I realized I was staring at a giant wall of teeth cleaning paste. WTF? Didn’t we just use baking soda 60 years ago? (Wasn’t my mother just shoving baking soda and a toothbrush in front of my face when I was 9?) How did we get to the point that we need “Total Whitening Complete with Tartar Protection and Gum Cleansing Agents?” NOW IN XTREME MINT!

We’re inundated with decisions. Which car to drive, which music to listen to? Hell, I go to the coffee shop and I have a choice of whole, 1%, skim, almond, hemp, rice, or soy milk to put in my latte. What happened to, “Here’s your black coffee. Cream and sugar on on the table.”?

It gets overwhelming. That’s why I’m so thankful when companies like Chik-Fil-A and Urban Outfitters (much to my disappointment, the owner is a fan of Santorum and also owns a personal favorite store, Anthropologie — DAMMIT) let their social agendas be known. It makes my job as a consumer SO much easier. Honestly, we need more brands like these.

I know the LGBT issue has been in the limelight for a while now. Regardless of my stance on the issue (which is solidly in favor of love is love and I think people should be able to marry penguins), brands are making their stances on social issues known and it’s about damn time. They’re making it a no-brainer for me to quickly determine where to spend my money and vote with my wallet, which is why I’m saying that we need more companies like Chik-fil-A.

On the other side of this fence, I’d like to thank the companies who gave all the “traditional marriage” fundies the middle finger by coming out of the corporate closet and saying, “We see absolutely nothing wrong with being gay.” Companies such as Oreos, which posted a simple photo on their Facebook page in support of Gay Pride, and JC Penney, who hired Ellen DeGeneres as one of their spokeswomen, then had Mother’s and Father’s Day ads sporting same sex couples. These are the companies who are brave enough not to mince words and say, “Fuck it. Equality is awesome.”

Also, kudos to Target. After having a bit of a kerfuffle with gay rights activists a few years ago for contributions to a gay rights opponent, is now coming out strongly on their pro-gay marriage stance by selling gay marriage greeting cards and starting a same sex gift registry.

So, yeah, I still have a ton of brand decisions to make every day and, no, I don’t have time to research every single purchase I make, but when companies decide to take the unpopular road and make a bold statement on their religious or political decisions that make national headlines, it helps me so much in my day to day life.

And, in order to make your life a little easier, here’s a list of companies that are vocal about gay rights.

General Mills
JC Penney
Home Depot

And here’s where I’m curious: what companies and brands can YOU share that make their views known and help you make wallet-based decisions? Share them in the comments. I can’t wait to hear what your wallets are saying.

31 replies
  1. Kel Hinkle
    Kel Hinkle says:

    This may not be exactly what you’re looking for, as it isn’t about gay rights, but for me, it applies.

    My wallet stays away from Lowe’s Home Improvement stores because they caved to pressure to remove a commercial that had a Muslim man in it. Conservatives said it “supported the terrorists” and they removed it.

    I also refuse to patronize Cheesecake Factory. Several of their restroom hallways are short, with sharp, 90 degree turns. Wheelchairs cannot fit through these. My wheelchair got stuck at one restaurant, and the wonderful gentlemen who extricated me stood with me while I spoke with the management. They manager shrugged and said, “Oh well. Then learn to walk.” Never again.

    • The Redhead
      The Redhead says:

      Seriously on Cheesecake Factory? I can’t stand eating there, but moreso, I can’t believe someone said that to you. Holy hell — and I apologize on behalf of the human race.

      • Kel Hinkle
        Kel Hinkle says:

        I suppose, in some modicum of fairness to her (?), maybe she said it because I have a cane and I *can* walk. I use my wheelchair for things like the mall or the zoo; anything that requires a long time on my feet.

        But it was definitely the last time I ever set foot in there. I just have no desire to patronize a company that not only builds inaccessible structures, but then hires people who are so crass.

  2. Oscar Lanza-Galindo
    Oscar Lanza-Galindo says:

    I agree with you. For me, in addition to the national companies, I like seeing local stores and shops voicing themselves. Be it by a simple GLBTQ sticker on the storefront, an ad on the local paper, or participating in local events if they support it. An ad/editorial if they don’t. It is easier to stay quiet, on the sideline to keep all customers content, but it gets back to being true to your individual/corporate beliefs…and I then vote with my wallet…and with a letter to corporate or ownership as to why I will or will not purchase from them.

  3. jaybaer
    jaybaer says:

    Boom. The greatest byproduct for consumers of the digital age is that we actually can make decisions other than on price and availability. The same way we can read blogs that reflect our viewpoints, cocooning ourselves in our own belief system instead of having to be force-fed “objective” news from Cronkite, we can buy products that perpetuate that belief system too (although I’ve yet to see a “911 was a conspiracy” toothpaste). It gives us a lot to think about and decide upon, and that’s a net positive. I think. Maybe.

  4. Kerry Murray
    Kerry Murray says:

    Love your take on this. I was just getting on my laptop to check if the Boy Scouts have changed their stance on gay troop leaders. I’m an American expat living in Cape Town and same-sex marriage is enshrined in the South African constitution (though “corrective rape” is a huge issue here), so I’m thinking we’re good to go with Boys Scouts of South Africa, but not sure I want to start my son off in an organization that we cannot continue with in the US if and when we move back to the States. Still researching the issue.

  5. Lauryn Doll
    Lauryn Doll says:

    I have never touched Cristal because of their “distant curiosity” or whatever-the-f*ck they said about the Hip Hop community’s use of it. I am also strongly against the adoption of any brand that looks upon the Hip Hop (not just urban, but Hip Hop) community as if everyone in it are broke, aspiring rappers/athletes/models/entertainers or drug addicts and as if we actually speak “Ebonics” (which is ridiculously f*cking stupid. It’s called slang, and when it’s not slang – aka someone is unable to speak properly for the life of them – then it’s just not clear effin’ English).

    I also will have a problem with any brand like Burger King who thinks black people and chicken require dancing and singing.

    Last but not least, any company that stands behind George Zimmerman… if I ever find out they support him, fuck ’em. And no I’m not censoring that fuck.

  6. Kathy Gollstrom Thomas
    Kathy Gollstrom Thomas says:

    I guess I’m in the minority here. Unless it’s a small, one person shop, or even a few people that all think alike, a company is a non-thinking entity. The only thing that you are seeing is the comments/beliefs of a few people in the company. Unfortunately, the everyday work may be done by people who support your beliefs but who need jobs, and there may not be enough jobs out there for all of them in companies whose mouthpieces agree. A company is not capable of thinking. A brand does not have an opinion. Kind of like “the Government”, “the elderly”, “the handicapped”, and lots of other nouns who “say” things, or “think” things as a class….

    • Kristin Crites
      Kristin Crites says:

      Kathy, I kind of agree with you, I also disagree. You are right that there are gay people who do work at Chick-Fil-A, who need that 8$ and hour as it is the only job they can get. It has to be so hard for them to know they work for an organization whose owner thinks they can be changed or should be exiled out of the county, for this person it is what it is, because it is a job. Where I disagree is that when the owner of the company takes the profits from that company and donates that money organizations perpetuating hate, that owner just gave that brand an opinion. Like Target, I am sure there are homophobic people who work there who hate that there are same sex registries now, but it is a 10$ job with benefits. But Target has an opinion, because there are same sex registries and donations to HRC etc. There are obviously multiple sides to this, and even companies who are staying out of it, no donations, no mentions, nada, and you are right, those companies don’t have an opinion, yet. 🙂

      • The Redhead
        The Redhead says:

        And here’s where I’ll offer a counterpoint: brands are made of people and the beliefs of those people. I’m talking about consumers voting with their wallets – not the state of the economy or any individual’s ability to get a hob or what they’re willing to give up values-wise in exchange for a paycheck. Brands are becoming more human every day — and I’m glad the people powering them are expressing what they believe (and openly) so I can better and more easily choose where to spend my dollars. C’est ca!

        • Kathy Gollstrom Thomas
          Kathy Gollstrom Thomas says:

          We’ll agree to disagree as it’s just semantics. The companies are a stack of legal documents that do not think, decide, or DO anything. The PEOPLE behind the companies, RUNNING the companies, DECIDING policy for the company are the ones making the decisions. Often it has nothing to do with what the actual issue is (supporting same sex marriage is the example tu jour) than the perceived opportunity to get more sales or profit because of more registries. I picture the Marketing manager in Target laughing all the way to the bank, if his political ideals are actually the opposite of what we would think and he simply is seeing an opportunity to manipulate more sales. Another example is the current political climate – “Obama did this” or “Romney did that” when in fact, most things don’t happen without many other policy makers, committees, etc. ~Entities~ are made up of people, and there are VERY few large groups of people that you can conglomerate and make a general statement about. Anytime you hear someone tell you that “_________ says” or “_______ believes” and it is more people than one, it better have a modifier like “most” or “many” on the front. If not, you can start filling in any group and make similar assertions….”Redheads think….” “Blondes want….” There are tons of groups that are as diverse as any company with 50 or more people in it. I will always believe that non-thinking entities should be left as they are, and that any group greater than 1 is made up of different, unique people with some differences in almost every arena. Just semantics.

          • Kel Hinkle
            Kel Hinkle says:

            I have to respectfully disagree here. This is not just about semantics. Chik-Fil-A, for example, makes all of its higher up execs sign off that they believe in and will strive for the ideals of the leader. This means that you will publicly agree with their anti-gay stance.

            The other thing is, you might want to think that corporations are “non-thinking entities”, but the fact is that those corporations think quite clearly – and speak just as clearly – when they give money to homophobic organizations that push legislation. These “non-thinking entities” are absolutely thinking. They are attempting to support and pass legislation to remove civil rights from people, and perpetuate homophobic beliefs.

            That sounds an awful lot like thinking to me.

      • Chris
        Chris says:

        So you don’t mind that Target “perpetuates hate” against other relationships outside of same sex and heterosexual relationships with their registries?

  7. Zev Barnett
    Zev Barnett says:

    Chik-fil-a can bite me for a different reason! Their campaign against the “t-shirt guy” who makes “Eat More Kale” t-shirts makes me shake my head in disbelief, AS IF Kale is somehow analogous to Chicken!


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