Ever boycott a business because social media told you to? I’m referring to that 9-year-old pic (see above) of the over-fed Jimmy John’s guy sitting on the knee of an elephant he has just killed. The photo periodically makes the rounds on Facebook and Twitter. Outrage ensues.
Yes, it is a disturbing image: A chunky American billionaire (wealth estimate from Forbes) demonstrating unseemly joy in the death of an elephant by his own hand. But we’re supposed to forgo cheap, albeit shitty sandwiches for that? Really? We’re communists now? Who among us has not slaughtered one, or several, of the planet’s most intelligent creatures purely for the Instagram rush? Unlike the Trump boys, at least he’s committed to serving cheap, albeit shitty sandwiches.
But we do have to vote with our pocketbooks. Especially since the Russians prefer that our actual votes not be correctly tallied. It may be that boycotts are all we have left.
I’ll certainly participate in anything I see online (which Narnia lion are you?), but as a responsible boycotter I insist on at least two corroborating social-media posts before I decide to take my custom elsewhere.
Take Olive Garden. Please. Haha! It was recently branded, mostly on two Facebook posts I saw, as a financial supporter of Trump. At which point my knee usually jerks and I say: They’re dead to me.
But I did some digging (sometimes called Googling). The parent company, Darden (rhymes with Garden) Restaurants, insists that it didn’t give much that cash to Trump; any dough earmarked for the Orange One was probably just the company’s individual employees donating willy-nilly.
Hmm. Seems legit: “We’re Olive Garden associates out here earning less than minimum wage, so by all means let’s support the fucking Emperor of Mar-a-Lago! Power to the Plutocrats! Trump = lifelong pal to the little people! I said people! That starts with ‘P’ and that rhymes with ‘P’ and that stands for Putin!'”
Fortunately, I was already boycotting Olive Garden for the same reason I always avoid Jimmy John’s: the product, and I mean this in the best possible way, kind of sucks.
Call me an East-Coast elitist: I have eaten in Italy, and in certain restaurants in New York and Philadelphia, and I ask you to trust me that Olive Garden is Italian in the same way Taco Bell is Mexican. Which is to say, not at all. It’s all boil-in-a-bag food smothered in heavy cream sauce, and everything else is fried.
Its all stuffed cheese and tomato sauce you could get out of a Publix can. Somehow, almost everything is 12 million calories a serving. You leave feeling like you’ve been punched hard in the lower abdomen. And when you get home, your lower abdomen will have its revenge.
Don’t get me started on Chik Fil A: throw a deep-fried chicken part and a pickle on a supermarket bun and it’s supposed to be some kind of transcendent epicurean experience. But in the cold light of day, or even early evening, it’s mediocre. Really mediocre. If mediocrity had a one-to-ten scale, it might be an eleven. It’s so mediocre that if it were a choice between that and raw broccoli, you would take a second to decide. I’m amazed the Chik Fil A doesn’t offer free wine to numb the senses.
The point is: There are a lot of reasons to boycott businesses. Enabling and supporting the autocratic Trump is not the least of them. But so far, I’ve been fortunate that it never had to be about politics. Somehow, the companies that back Trump and the companies that suck — they rather neatly coincide.