This summer's hottest food ticket was no doubt the Popeyes chicken sandwich. It hit the chicken sandwich trifecta: the bun was firm, the pickles were briny, and you didn't have to shame-eat it in the Chick-Fil-A parking lot hoping your gay friends wouldn't see you. And due to fanatical demand, Popeyes is putting the sandwich back on the menu on November 3! But you know what would make it taste even better this time around? If we stopped treating the people who make them like garbage.
In August, after a totally real battle of the #brands on Twitter, the Popeyes chicken sandwich quickly went viral -- and not in the typical sense, where you have to get your stomach pumped. At some locations, traffic doubled, with dweebs with chicken FOMO queuing around corners. And when Popeyes claimed they ran out (of what, mayonnaise? It's a three-ingredient sandwich), people really started losing their minds. They'd even grow resentful, as if gramming a picture of themselves unhinging their jaws like a python to eat a ball of grease and pickles meant the world now owed them unlimited sandwiches.
And you know what happened next. I don't know what it is about having to wait in line in a fast food restaurant, but it turns some adults back into seat-kicking brats. We saw this happen when a very smart Rick & Morty fan climbed atop a counter and shrieked at workers for his Szechuan sauce. We see it happen every autumn, when baristas need online support groups to deal with all the pumpkin spice junkies jostling for their fix. In just two weeks of chicken sandwich craze, Popeyes workers were yelled at, accosted, and insulted, all while having to break their backs rushing sandwich orders 12 hours a day with no breaks, like a soccer parent on snack duty in the Sisyphean pits of Tartarus.
So maybe we can cool it this time around? Maybe this time we can, as a society, not pull a gun on workers because the limited-edition food is taking too long to arrive? Or threaten to spree-shoot everyone behind the counter because they ran out of honey dipping sauce? Or turn a picture of a minimum-wage employee so exhausted from an unrelenting ten-hour shift that she's on the brink of tears into a deep-fried meme? Just because these people work in a place that has a bike lock on the bathroom doesn't mean they don't deserve to be treated like human beings.
Because you know who definitely isn't going to treat them right? Mr. Popeye over at corporate, who's too busy congratulating the customer mobs and creating sandwich-tracking apps to better coordinate the next riot to give their overworked employees a decent bonus for their hard work. Or the franchise owners, who are too busy counting their extra millions to spend money on extra shifts to cover the traffic so that their workers don't have to stand on their feet until they go numb.
Or a government that's still dawdling on raising the minimum wage because they like to pretend working in the service industry should be like the frat house hazings of jobs where teenagers pop their capitalist cherry, and not a human meat grinder where single mothers earn nine bucks an hour to get screamed at by some entitled douche because corporate underestimated how much cartoon show sauce each restaurant should get. So before you go out on Sunday to get your sammie fix, why not drop by Fight for $15 first. Show those beleaguered workers which side of the counter you truly stand on.
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