Remember back in high school, when you would drive by your ex-boyfriend’s house, hoping to “just happen to be driving by” at the exact time he just “happened to be” washing his car? Your heart was filled with a strange mixture of fear (of being discovered) and regret (of passing by without incident), wondering if old flames might be rekindled. Maybe you were the one who broke things off. Maybe with good reason. But as the saying goes, “Breaking up is hard to do.”
I have recently experienced a retail heartbreak from which I may never recover. Over the years, we have shied away from certain retailers for one reason or another. Toys-R-Us lost our business years ago along with McDonald’s. I haven’t been religious about avoiding these places (Let’s face it, there are days when you need cheap ice cream and fast). But whenever I do, I am quickly reminded that I don’t just disagree with these stores on a large scale philosophical level, I actually despise the experience of being there. Never can I recall leaving either one of these places saying, “Gee, I am really glad I came here.”
Not so with my beloved Target. Target. Just saying the name sends me to a happy place. My day can be crumbling around me, kids whining and out of control and then magically, Target appears on our horizon. A cheap popcorn combo and slushie later and all is right with the world. That is, until now. Recently I learned that Target is now actively promoting same-sex marriage. So I sat the kids down and said “No more Target.” I am not sure who is more sad, but I am pretty sure if this was a divorce situation, the kids would be rooting for a shared custody situation.
So as someone who is willing to put my money where my mouth is, it has been very interesting to watch the war against Chick-Fil-A develop over the last few months. Long ago, when we decided to go vegetarian, I decided to make a certain exception for myself, in order to hedge against legalism (and let’s be honest, to give myself an occasional meat fix). My conscience-free meat-eating exceptions are Ali Babba’s Deli in Knoxville (best turkey sandwiches on the planet) and Chick-Fil-A (God’s fast food restaurant).
Now, ironically, the place I consider to be a safe haven of waffle fries and decent kid’s meal toys is under attack. I have tried to put myself in the shoes of those in the LGBT community who are “outraged” at Chick-Fil-A’s stance on marriage. After all, I have boycotted retailers who didn’t espouse my values so why should it bother me if others exercise that same freedom?
After pondering it for a while, I do see at least one major difference. People like me are not denying Target or any other companies the right to donate money to whomever they choose. I also have this right and can choose not to give Target my business. This doesn’t seem to be enough for the LGBT community. They aren’t satisfied with merely boycotting companies or individuals who disagree with them. They seem to want to destroy anyone who doesn’t share their views. Just ask Brad Pitt’s mom. What happened to freedom? What happened to individual choice?
So let’s play fair here, shall we? While I ask others to support the rights of those with whom they disagree, I will support Target’s right to support gay marriage, even though I would much rather support their selection of an affordable yet fashionable accessory line. The gays get cute earrings and I get waffle fries. Seems like a fair trade.