Dr. Joan Bushwell's Chimpanzee Refuge

Fast Food F(r)iends

Yesterday, I mentioned the Fast Food Friends program at Gardendale First Baptist Church in Alabama. Here is how they describe it on their website:

It is a creative way to show people in our community the love of Christ. You ask how does it work? The next time that you go to your local fast food resturant (sic) drive thru, tell the cashier that you would like to pay the bill for the car behind you. Simply pay their bill and leave a fast food friends card for the cashier to give to them. Next, you drive off praying that God will use that act of kindness to bless the recipient of your generosity. You will be amazed how God will use such an insignificant amount of pocket change to “change” someone else’s day or possibly their life.


I find the logic behind this to be adolescent at best. It sounds is if you’re offering a bribe to god to get more converts for your team. This is not an act of kindness or charity; it’s some form of theological kick-back scheme. What sort of god would require “pocket change” in order to affect change in someone’s life? He must have really, really low overhead. What happened to all that roasted meat that he was so fond of in the bible? Is it that a few coins and a whiff from the local Choke-N-Puke franchise are sufficient these days?

Two observations regarding the intended target: First, is it realistic to think that the average person would change their philosophical views just because you paid for their lunch, and second, assuming that some people can be persuaded in this manner, what does that say about the depth of their convictions? It seems that, at best, all you’ll do is reinforce an existing empathy from a fellow traveler. On the other hand, you may wind up insulting someone of a different belief system who will now think even less of you, and who, in the extreme case, might follow you home, tackle you in the driveway, and drive your little “fast food friends” card into a particular orifice in such a way as to block the exit for your recently consumed burger and fries.

Besides, chances are that the so-called charity displayed here could be better used elsewhere. If you want to give someone a couple bucks for a meal, don’t give it to the guy in the car behind you, give it to your local food pantry or homeless shelter.

Comments

  1. #1 Tim
    June 14, 2007

    I would think that the most likely outcome is the cashier at the drive through would just pocket the money. In my experience, half of them steal from the register even when the odds are high that they’ll be caught, or at least their drawer will be short. Do these people really expect a fifteen year old to just give the cash to the next car?

  2. #2 Brian Thompson
    June 14, 2007

    I would think that the most likely outcome is the cashier at the drive through would just pocket the money. In my experience, half of them steal from the register even when the odds are high that they’ll be caught, or at least their drawer will be short. Do these people really expect a fifteen year old to just give the cash to the next car?

    As a former fast-food worker, I think you’re being a little harsh in your assessment. I did have a couple people who asked to pay for the car behind them, and I did inform the recipient that the car ahead of them had chosen to pay for their meal.

    The difference between those individuals and this scheme here is that it is religious in nature. Although I would have happily informed someone that the person ahead of them paid for their meal, I would not have done so in order to promote any kind of propaganda.

    I also never stole from the register. I can understand why people do it though. $5.15/hour won’t get you a whole lot of living in most places…

  3. #3 VJB
    June 14, 2007

    This was done as a TV commercial where some female hottie (seeing a male hottie in her rear view mirror) pays for his dry cleaning and leaves a card. I don’t think she had any Christian motives in mind. Do you seriously think a true Christian would be tempted by a Jezebel who merely paid for his laundry? Puleeze!

  4. #4 Tim
    June 14, 2007

    I may have exaggerated a bit. I’m coming from the accounting side of the restaurant business, and theft was my first thought.
    I think the point is still valid, though. At my company (fast-casual), we’ve had employees still whole deposits ($2,000 and up) while knowing that we track each one. We’ve lost too many people to count because they were dishonest at the register.
    I think this scheme is more likely to get some dumb kid* fired for keeping the money than to convert someone for getting a free value meal.

    *Note: I don’t think all fast food employees are dumb or all kids. :)

  5. #5 Warren
    June 14, 2007

    Next, you drive off praying …

    …and are so addled by goddish glee that you pull out into traffic, get T-boned by a semi and end up seeing Jesus a hell of a lot sooner than you expected.

    Hey, you know what? I like this idea.

  6. #6 llewelly
    June 14, 2007

    I may have exaggerated a bit. I’m coming from the accounting side of the restaurant business, and theft was my first thought.

    It’s called ‘confirmation bias’. Easily the most common cause of thinking errors. I see it all the time. Er, wait a minute …

  7. #7 Crudely Wrott
    June 14, 2007

    Such a selfless act would probably hasten the second coming. Unless I was in the following vehicle.

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