books · critical literacy · OBSERVATIONS

A Quandary: Educational Fast Food Prizes & My Beliefs

Panera Bread has typically been my idea of fast food for the past decade. I’m a healthy eater and therefore I shun traditional fast food. As a result, my daughter has never eaten a Chicken McNugget.  (Considering what’s in them, I think that’s a very good thing!)

Last spring, I took my daughter to Chick-fil-A when we needed a quick lunch.  I ordered her grilled chicken nuggets, a squeezable apple sauce, and an apple juice box. It was quite possibly the most healthy fast food meal I could ever imagine since nothing was fried or excessively high in sugar. She gobbled up the meal and has been hooked on Chick-fil-A ever since. She requests to go to Chick-fil-A nearly every day.  (I think she likes their play area too!)  At most we take her once a week and only after she has expended a lot of energy doing something since we know she’s going to eat the food there.

While I disagree with Chick-fil-A’s politics, I love the fact that Isabelle will eat their (somewhat healthy fast) food.  But even more than that, I like the prizes they give kids in their kids’ meals.  There’s no junky toy that falls apart before the meal is over. Instead, they usually provide books. We’ve gotten Paddington Bear books and nonfiction books on animals, which we often read during the meal and revisit at home.  Today we received a memory card game. While each card is essentially an advertisement for Chick-fil-A (with the cow mascot dressed as something funny), the concept behind the cards is great since it’s a game that promotes memory and matching skills.

I’m in a bit of a quandary about what to do regarding our trips to Chick-fil-A since Isabelle loves it there.  You see, I recently stopped buying Barilla pasta as a result of the CEO’s anti-gay statements.  Eating at Chick-fil-A feels hypocritical to me since they made some very strong statements last year about gay marriage, which I support. While Isabelle doesn’t mind notice me buying a different brand of veggie pasta now that I don’t buy Barilla’s, I know she’s going to request lunch at Chick-fil-A again. Eradicating our visits to Chick-fil-A could be tough because it’s located in a shopping center we frequent and she can “read” the logo when we pass it during our travels.

I blame myself for this.  I started taking her there because it was convenient. I didn’t realize how much she’d like it. While I have tried to justify the way their pro-literacy prizes could potentially offset their political stance, I find myself in a predicament since I want to make my child happy.  I thought writing about this would help me come up with an answer, but it hasn’t.  Do I make a statement and stop eating there (when she is too young to understand why) and deal with the fall-out or do I keep on keepin’ on?  Feel free to weigh-in by leaving a comment.

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4 thoughts on “A Quandary: Educational Fast Food Prizes & My Beliefs

  1. I don’t know if you remember, but I went to to C-F-A this summer and also had totally mixed feelings about even walking in the door. I was even more conflicted since it was absolutely the best fast food experience I’ve ever had, with incredible service. I put it on fb and people’s reactions were mixed, some said they would NEVER EVER go inside and others said “sometimes it’s just lunch”. And then it occurred to me, this is our version of the “Palestinian Chicken”. So, I think I know what the morally correct thing to do is, but with a toddler, sometimes you just do what you have to do to make it through the day.

    1. I remember that episode of “Curb,” Rachel. I appreciate you putting that in perspective.
      And, yes, I do remember your FB post about CFA. I thought you were pretty brave to post that on FB. Like you said, sometimes it’s just lunch.

  2. Stacey, it’s something that you personally have to decide. I won’t weigh in, because it’s a dilemma for you, I can see. Those things come up all the time in our lives, and with our kids. Ah-parenthood, now we have to do what we hope is the right thing for more than ourselves. Best to you!

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