(Originally Published September 16, 2013)
Since arriving back at Penn State, I’ve had a number of friends asking me to go on a Panera Bread date. When I say no, people look at me like I have three heads. But wait, it gets better. When I go on and tell them I’m not eating there because of the disrespect they showed to farmers in a recent advertising campaign, I have been receiving quite the collection of reactions.
“Really? Is that a joke?”
“No offense, but that’s a stupid reason.”
*An example of the EZ Chicken campaign (trying to be “clever” in saying farmers are lazy)*
NO, it is not a joke and NO, it is not stupid. This is me being very, very serious. Panera Bread attacked and insulted an industry that I’m passionate about and everything I stand for. OF COURSE I’m going to react and retaliate! Not supporting their business is hardly drastic when compared to the EZ Chicken campaign they created .
Trust me, giving up Panera wasn’t easy for me. I have yet to find a Sunday cure as satisfying as a bowl of broccoli cheddar soup and an iced green tea. But just take a second and put yourself in my shoes….
You’re on a collegiate baseball team. Nike creates a series of ads and commercials that target baseball players as the “lazy athlete” and accuses you being ‘slackers’ when compared to other athletes, like football and soccer players. Would you still continue to purchase Nike products and apparel?
You’re a Penn State alumni. Penn State just released a series of articles that accused the past five years of graduates to be lazy and subpar to those graduating before them. Basically, you’re a bad example of the student that the University is trying to produce. So when Penn State calls you for an annual alumni donation, are you still going to give back?
You’re a young, single parent. Johnson & Johnson has been slandering unmarried and ‘young’ parents, saying that you are irresponsible and unreliable to raise a child. Are you going to continue buying Johnson & Johnson products? If you only have even an ounce of self respect, you would be saying “see ya later” to such an offensive company.
Now remember, these were all hypothetical situations. Nike, Penn State and Johnson & Johnson have done NOTHING I mentioned above. Why? Because they have a brain and just plain common sense. I’m simply trying to put you in ‘my shoes.’
My refusal to eat at Panera Bread is my way of standing up for what I believe in. It’s only a small step, but a step nonetheless towards supporting the industry of agriculture.
Sit back and think for a moment. What are you passionate about? Someone attacks it. Not just someone, but a someone who either depends on you, or you depend on them to keep that passion chugging along. Like Panera Bread, who depends on farmers for ALL of their products, but still had the nerve to call them out for taking care of their sick animals and assuring that they are healthy. Because we’d all rather be eating sick animals right? Because Panera Bread can get their chickens from somewhere other than farmers, right? Riiiight…..