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Why You Shouldn’t Boycott Chipotle Over Gun Ban

If folks are in the mood to boycott bad actors, there are plenty around that have committed far more egregious sins against America.

For those of you that haven’t heard, the Mexican food restaurant chain Chipotle, which for years allowed local open and concealed laws to dictate store policy, has decided to “ask” customers not to bring firearms into its stores after some zealous gun owners paraded around with “military-style assault rifles” at a local Texas store.  What’s more probable, though, is that well-funded anti-Second Amendment activists  exploited a single unfortunate incident to badger a pliable corporation into a bad decision.

Cue the calls for boycott from 2nd Amendment fans.

There’s really nothing inherently wrong with the idea. Though there’s nothing very productive about it either. On personal level, if I participated in boycotts every time a company slighted my ideological sensibilities, I wouldn’t be able to watch a movie, listen to music, read a novel or basically do anything but hole up in a bunker. I am far more inclined to support businesses that stand up to government meddling or ones that are targeted by boycotters that I dislike. When – or maybe, if — I’m ever in need of silk flowers or affordable picture frames, I’ll be sure to head to Hobby Lobby.

As a 2nd Amendment fan, I believe Chipotle is making a mistake. Yet, it isn’t exactly undermining our Constitutional rights by asking consumers to keep their guns out of their businesses. (Please read Charles Cooke’s dismantling of the perpetually confused Sally Kohn’s attempt to conflate two very distinct ideas.) Though Chipotle acted for the wrong reasons, it has every right to create an experience for its consumers that it finds safe and inviting.

Fact is, if the CEO of Qdoba’s was a libertarian plutocrat who supported all my favorite organizations, I’d still choose Chipotle because when it comes to food I owe more to a good product than a philosophically sound owner. Chipotle was founded on an exemplary idea and its execution and consistency have won my business — even when I disagree with its choices. Now, if this company was forking over millions to some finger-wagging Michael Bloomberg-funded gaggle of authoritarians I’d would probably have to reconsider. But, as far as I know, that’s not the case.

Moreover, boycotts are typically pretty ineffective – or, when they are successful, they end up hurting people who have nothing to do with the decisions that have upset everyone. The combined compensation package for the two guys who run Chipotle, for example, is $50 million.  Executive pay is, on average, allegedly 204 times that of the average worker. One CEO, Steve Ells, makes 778 times the median wage of his average employee. He makes more than the CEIOs of Ford, AT&T and a bunch of other colossal corporations. And the guy deserves every penny in my opinion. (Yes, I like Chipotle … a lot) Even if the boycott would have an impact, it’s the rank-and-file employee, folks who have absolutely no bearing on policy, that end up suffering first. Ells will not.

And anyway, if conservatives are in the mood to boycott bad actors, there are plenty around that have committed far more egregious sins against America. You can start with companies that survive on taxpayer dollars and don’t even have the decency to provide consumers with a decent burrito.

Follow David Harsanyi on Twitter. 

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