Why Conservatives Shouldn't Boycott Chipotle

If conservatives want to boycott bad actors, there are plenty around who have committed far more egregious sins against America than asking customers to keep out guns.

Michael Saechang/FlickrMichael Saechang/Flickr

For those of you who haven't heard, Chipotle Mexican Grill, which for years allowed local laws to dictate policy for the restaurant chain regarding open or concealed weapons, has decided to "ask" customers not to bring firearms into its restaurants after some zealous gun owners paraded around with "military-style assault rifles" at a Chipotle in Texas. 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. This is neither new nor unexpected.

Cue the calls for a boycott from Second Amendment fans.

There's really nothing inherently wrong with the idea of boycotting businesses that you don't like. Though, there's typically nothing very productive about the idea, either. On a 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 and ones that are targeted by boycotters whom 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 Second Amendment fan, I believe that Chipotle is making a mistake. Yet the company isn't exactly undermining our constitutional rights by asking consumers to keep their guns out of its restaurants. Though Chipotle acted for the wrong reasons, it has every right to create an experience for its consumers that it finds safe and inviting. The company has only asked that you not bring weapons, but if consumers bring their concealed weapons in the restaurants, there is little anyone can or would do. Precipitating conflict over the issue seems more appropriate for the Occupy movement than it does for a conservative.

Fact is, if the CEO of Qdoba Mexican Grill were a libertarian plutocrat supporting all my favorite organizations, I'd still choose Chipotle, because when it comes to food, I owe more to a good product than I do to 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 were forking over millions to some finger-wagging Michael Bloomberg-funded gaggle of authoritarians (the groups that nag these companies into compliance), I 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 employees. He makes more than the CEOs 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, who would end up suffering first. Ells would not.

And anyway, if conservatives are in the mood to boycott bad actors, there are plenty around who 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.

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • Knarf the Yenrabian||

    And anyway, if conservatives are in the mood to boycott bad actors, there are plenty around who have committed far more egregious sins against America.

    What's with all the transparent non sequiturs this week? First Hinkle, now Harsanyi. Maybe this is just what political journalism has become.

    RKBA advocates are upset with Chipotle's anti- stance for the same reason decent people would be angry at the chain if it began displaying the hammer and sickle on their corporate logo: it's grossly offensive, historically illiterate, and a slap in the face to a huge minority that has become activist over the past generation.

  • LarryA||

    Actually there's a bit more to it. Since Chipotle serves alcohol, in Texas it posts signs that clearly say the unlicensed possession of weapons is prohibited. If the manager allows patrons to bring rifles or shotguns on the premises the TABC will revoke their license.
    Reminder: "Long guns" prohibited in TABC-licensed businesses.
    http://www.tabc.state.tx.us/ho.....130906.asp

    Open Carry folks badly need to do their homework.

  • Knarf the Yenrabian||

    Speaking of non sequiturs.

    Corporate Chipotle stated that "the display of firearms in our restaurants has now created an environment that is potentially intimidating or uncomfortable for many of our customers." The issue of the homework-doings of Texas open carry protesters has nothing to do with the company's hostility to RKBA folk.

  • Scooby||

    Is that why I don'the see guns for sale at wal-mart anymore? They sell beer.

  • Trollo||

    Better to boycott cosmotarianism.

  • Another David||

    If I'm just looking for someplace to stop in and grab lunch, and I have a choice between a Chipotle where people are walking around with assault rifles and a Subway where nobody is using a fucking firearm like a goddamn cane seriously have those assholes ever heard of gun safety -- sorry, sore spot -- there's a meatball sub in my future. This is a business decision, not an ideological one, almost certainly.

    Also, there's no conflict between the second amendment and individual private property owners asking guests to leave their guns outside, any more than there's a conflict between the first amendment and business owners asking people not to yell sermons through the dining room.

  • R C Dean||

    there's no conflict between the second amendment and individual private property owners asking guests to leave their guns outside

    No, but there's no reason why gun owners should patronize a restaurant that they think is hostile to them, either.

    This isn't a legal question. This isn't about Chipotle violating the 2A, because that's a category error: Chipotle CAN'T violate the 2A. This is a cultural question.

  • LiveFreeOrDiet||

    Also, there's no conflict between the second amendment and individual private property owners asking guests to leave their guns outside

    It isn't a matter of the Second Amendment. My CCW goes where I go. If a business bans me from entering with my gun, I respect them enough that I will never walk in again.

    Also, please define assault rifle, other than "it looks military-ish."

  • LiveFreeOrDiet||

    Oh, so the Chrome version did post, it just wouldn't show it to me.

  • LiveFreeOrDiet||

    Also, there's no conflict between the second amendment and individual private property owners asking guests to leave their guns outside,

    1. If my CCW stays outside, so do I.
    2. According to current law, it isn't private property, it's a public accommodation. (Not at all my opinion, but it is the courts'.)
    3. Please define "assault rifle" without saying it looks military-ish. (Here comes the arbitrary numbers, right?)

  • Another David||

    You don't need a technical manual to call the guns those bozos had "assault rifles." I'm calling them what they look like, not using a term of art. Substitute "automatic rifles" or "long guns" if you like, my point is the same. That's going to scare off business, because a gun being brandished by an idiot is a safety hazard. If you don't go anywhere his aren't allowed, then yeah, they've lost your business, but that's part of the calculation.

  • LiveFreeOrDiet||

    I'm calling them what they look like

    IOW they look too military-ish. So if a gun were made to look like a shoe, you'd call it footwear?

    Substitute "automatic rifles"

    The rifles shown are not automatic rifles. They don't go "rattattattattat." They are semi-automatic. They go "bang."

    because a gun being brandished by an idiot is a safety hazard.

    Brandishing is illegal. Have the brandisher arrested. Problem solved.

  • Knarf the Yenrabian||

    I'm calling them what they look like

    A dangerous game. I wonder what would happen to these forums if we called everyone and everything what they look like?

  • Rhino||

    A gun being brandished is a safety hazard? FALSE. Having a firearm on your person, even if it is in plain sight, is NOT a hazard. That is the point to these open carry "protests." To show that there is nothing to be afraid of. Granted, by attacking Chipotle for this, they are showing pretty poor tactics, but the strategy is a good one for 2A rights. Only hysterical people see a gun and freak out regardless of whether the person carrying the gun is showing a hostile act/hostile intent or not.

    Look at it this way, if i were on my way home from hunting or the range, and i decided to stop by for lunch, but i didn't want to leave my AR-15 in the car for fear someone might break in and steal it so i slung it on my back cross body muzzle down, i am not a threat to anyone. If i started pointing it at people, then you could categorize me as a hazard.

  • Paul.||

    Boycott? Why would you boycott when you could just show up armed?

  • Rhino||

    I agree. The best thing to do is to politely challenge them on it. A lot of times, businesses will put it out publicly that they support one cause or another, but they don't actually enforce it. Show up with open carrying and see if they ask you to leave. But be sure to be polite. The idea is to show people that people with guns are not a danger. If they ask you to leave. Then please leave.

  • David_TheMan||

    This article makes no sense.
    If people don't like chiptole for their stance they have every right as potential customers to let their feelings of their actions be known in the form of open boycotting them and discouraging support for them.
    To make a article claiming that it is unwise for them to exercise their principles and beliefs is ridiculous on its face. I see why the LWR and Mises groups openly are dismissive of Reason

  • LiveFreeOrDiet||

    If people don't like chiptole for their stance

    I see two basic versions of this story, one where they "ask" customers not to bring guns into the store, and another where they supposedly "ban" it. That's a big difference, so I went to several news sites, then on two search sites, then on Chipotle's site, including their press release page. I can't find where Chipotle has said anything at all about this.

  • Acosmist||

    I will continue to boycott the restaurant that pretends it's not Taco Bell by charging more for food.

  • Trollo||

    Taco Casa is better than both. Taco Bell serves dogfood for meat while Chipotle serves high-end dogfood.

  • LiveFreeOrDiet||

    The nearest Taco Casa is 1200 miles from my house.

  • Vampire||

    Road trip!!!!!

  • LiveFreeOrDiet||

    Well, somebody has more time on his hands than I do!

    (Rough... morning... Can't... hit... keys...)

  • Acosmist||

    Yeah, there's better Mexican here that's not even authentic, and it might even be cheaper. No reason at all to go to Chipotle. If I want Taco Bell quality, there are more convenient Taco Bell locations.

    What an odd market niche they've carved out. Is it SUPPOSED to be expensive Taco Bell, to weed the, uh, undesirable demographics?

  • ||

    Now if only Chipolte would refuse to serve patrons with 0bama stickers on their cars. Watching the left implode would be priceless.

    Seriously, I would love to be the lawyer for the victims at the first shooting at a Chipolte.

  • ||

    Recently, there was some fastfood joint, I don't think it was Chipopple, but like two days after they posted a "NO GUNS" sign, they got robbed at gunpoint.
    http://www.theblaze.com/storie.....idnt-care/

  • lap83||

    I heard about this, but I didn't know about the study they referenced.

    The gun rights issue is one of the few debates which shouldn't even be a debate. The facts are blindingly obvious in favor of self defense. You either acknowledge the facts or you're a dangerously ignorant sycophant for the state.

  • XM||

    The gun rights group told Chipotle what they planned to do - or at least that's what the head of group told media.

    Chipotle has decent food and I won't boycott them for making a business decision (they're playing neutral in the gun rights issue), but it feels like two wrong not making a right. Some pro second amendment groups will boycott the place, and anti gun crowd aren't going to flock to the location to support them.

    The proper response should have been "If you bring guns to our store, keep them concealed and do not pose pictures with them in front of customers".

  • Rhino||

    That's what i plan to do. Just keep it concealed. I'm not trying to make a statement when i carry though. Just trying to make sure I'm prepared to protect myself and others should the need arise.

  • buybuydandavis||

    In a civilized, tolerant society, gun owners wouldn't make a big deal about this. People have different values. Live and let live.

    If you know of such a society, please let me know where it is.

    Here in the US, Progressives are making constant war by every means available to coerce and cajole people to live their way.

    If people who like freedom are always "civil", and never push back, never make them pay a price, never defend their values, we get the world we see around us.

    The price of freedom isn't eternal vigilance, it's *fighting back*.

  • Zunalter||

    Cafe Rio is better.

  • ||

    I would love to live in an America where a person with an AR-15 slung over his or her shoulder wouldn't draw any more attention than a woman with a purse or a man carrying an umbrella on a rainy day. Until then, sheep will be frightened at the mere appearance of a firearm when it's not being carried by someone wearing the proper state-issued costume. And to that end, Chipotle has every right, in catering to such people, to ask that the not be brought into the store.

  • craiginmass||

    Can we organize a gun rally in the nursery of the local hospital?
    If they resist, we'll take out business to those hospitals which allow us to bring our AR-15s in.....

  • Mt low rider||

    That you, Tony?

  • John Galt||

    Bleh. I'd have to drive around two hundred miles to not boycott a Chipotle.

  • wingnutx||

    Chipotle has not banned guns. They would have to post 30.06 notices, but they haven't. It the same as the starbucks thing, simply asking people not to drag them into a fight they want no part of. Both companies did their best to remain neutral, and were accomodating to gun owner for a long time.

    Texas Open Carry forced Chipotle's hand by making a nuisance of themselves and disrupting their business. As a RKBA activist this pisses me off more than the average ignorant gun grabber does.

    I did the first "open carry at starbucks day" where people dressed nice, went in and bought something, then left tips with two dollar bills. Stabucks was fine with that. Then you got people going in and posing for pictures while they finger-fucked long guns, which was disruptive. That's brandishing, and it's stupid.

    Even businesses that specifically welcome firearms require that you keep your weapon holstered or cased. This describes every gun shop and range that I go to. Coming in with a rifle at low-ready like that manlet at Chipotle would at least get his ass chewed, probably ejected, and possibly shot.

    There's a right way to do it, and they failed spectacularly.

  • Vulgar Madman||

    These guys are the 2nd amendment equivalent of
    sister boom boom.

  • LarryA||

    ^this.

    A bunch of people open-carrying loaded long guns in a demonstration are a finger-twitch away from disaster. I'm sure anti-gun legislators have a no-more-long-gun-open-carry bill written, waiting for someone to make a mistake.

  • Rhino||

    I would argue that the point of the demonstration is to show that people with guns are not dangerous. The idea being, you get a bunch of people out openly carrying firearms, and nothing bad happens. This is supposed to show that people who freak out when they see someone with a gun are hysterical. The gun isn't the danger, it's the actions or intent of the person.

    I agree. I'm sure some anti-gunner is just waiting for something to happen, and that's a major risk with this sort of demonstration because the media reports catastrophes. Which story do you thing will get the most air time? Open carriers stage demonstration and Chipotle and nothing happened, or Open Carriers stage demonstration at Chipotle which ended up in 1 person killed 2 injured in shooting?

    If there ever were an incident, it would be disastrous for the pro-gun movement and there doesn't seem to be a whole lot to gain by these demonstrations.

  • Response||

    Chipotle provides food I enjoy. They can have their opinion and I'm not offended by them having an opinion. Opinion does not equal law and I would not want to enforce my opinion on them either. I also don't feel the need to carry a weapon into most restaurants even though I live in Los Angeles. If I felt the restaurant wasn't safe (I have been to fast food restaurants in LA that contained bullet proof shielding for the workers - screw the patrons, apparently) then I leave. If I have to rely on a weapon for safety everywhere I go then I would live elsewhere. That's my opinion, so of course that doesn't exclude the concept that other people have the right to feel safe by carrying. They don't have to go to Chipotle and if Chipotle cannot sustain without those that carry then they will either change their policy or fail.

  • LiveFreeOrDiet||

    Places are safe or unsafe?
    I moved from an old, poor street into a "nice" high-end neighborhood in one of the blandest counties in the mid-Atlantic. We never had anything worse than someone bashing our mailbox in seven years at the old house. A couple months after moving into the new house, a mother and daughter were both stabbed, one fatally, in their home two streets away.

  • Response||

    I did not say that places are safe or unsafe. I said that if I felt a place wasn't safe. No place in the world is 100% safe - but that doesn't mean I take a weapon with me into my home's bathroom when I need to pee. We all need to evaluate what we consider to be safe. I only enter restaurants that I deem safe enough for me to eat at without a weapon. If someone else want to carry a weapon into the same restaurant or into their own home's bathroom - that's their decision - and the life they are choosing to lead.

  • LiveFreeOrDiet||

    Sorry, wasn't trying to pick. Just doing the old man/life lesson/reminiscing thing.

    but that doesn't mean I take a weapon with me into my home's bathroom when I need to pee.

    That's why you pre-position one there, right? (bah-dum-clash!)

  • Vulgar Madman||

    The people at lubys thought they were in a safe place.

  • Remnant Psyche||

    The pandering spirit behind Chipotle's policy deeply disgusts me, but I'm just as sickened by the provocative behavior from the Texas Open Carry people. Way to make everyone who owns a gun and/or supports gun ownership look unhinged, douchebags.

    Everyone has the right to boycott any business they want for any reason. That doesn't necessarily make a boycott smart or reasonable. And there's a line somewhere--I don't know where--between individuals making individual choices and a mob mentality driving crusaders to destroy the heretical. (And the latter is becoming alarming common in America.) But, again, that's every person's right.

    None of that will stop me from chuckling the next time a Chipotle is robbed at gunpoint.

  • craiginmass||

    "None of that will stop me from chuckling the next time a Chipotle is robbed at gunpoint."

    Right - because we really want all those bean slingers in there to be armed like the stoner and fat fuck....

    If they are robbed at gunpoint, that's fine with me. Now, if they come in there and execute each and every person - then you can have your jollies.

  • soflarider||

    Considering your general liberal bent, I'm surprised that you're so judgmental of stoners and overweight people. That's not very open minded.

  • Bgoptmst||

    Is it me or should the real question be: with the ACA can our nation afford the long term care the big guy in the picture eating a 10k calorie burrito will need?

    Oh yeah, brandishing long gun is dumb. The only thing that would make it more dumb is if they hd airsoft chest rigs.

  • craiginmass||

    It's impossible that any law abiding gun owner would be obese - since they are responsible, they simply wouldn't do that to themselves, our society or our medical care system - ACA or no ACA.

    I think we can all agree that Obesity, especially morbid Obesity, is an extremely irresponsible act. Why should I pay more in airfare because that dude with the gun sits on the same plane?

    This was a very foolish move - but if they insisted on creating such a spectacle, they should have consulted a PR expert first and had some "manly men" as opposed to a fatso and "immature wanna-be bad guy" look....

  • LiveFreeOrDiet||

    I think we can all agree that Obesity, especially morbid Obesity, is an extremely irresponsible act.

    Wow, and I thought you couldn't be more ignorant than you are about guns.

    30% of Americans are obese. 5% are morbidly obese. The most common behavioral characteristic among them is they have spent most of their lives trying to diet. I used to be in that 5%.

    The irresponsible act is spreading what passes for weight loss advice from the government.

  • craiginmass||

    So you don't see how they suck up more of my dollars by using more fuel on a plane and taking up more room in just about everything - whether free market or taxpayer funded?

    C'mon.

    If airfares were "free market", they'd weigh us before we got on. As it stands, it's socialism - plain and simple.

    What about rest rooms? Think of how large businesses have to make their toilet rooms to fit the dude in the pic. Who is paying?

    I'll answer that. Each and every user of that business - even those who take care of themselves.

    Whether 1% or 5% or 30% are obese is not the point. The point is that the free market would hardly allow people to be this way because they simply could not afford the extra costs of everything from insurance to health care.

    Can't you see that? Or do you suspend libertarianism in this case?

  • dan.lavatan||

    If they are posting the 30.06 language then that is a reason to boycott - anyone carrying concealed could be charged with criminal trespass. Otherwise, they aren't actually asking anything and everyone should just keep carrying concealed there.

    I can't personally boycott them more effectively either way since I already hate all their food.

  • Mauser||

    Their food is overrated

  • Eggs Benedict Cumberbund||

  • Mauser||

    Agree, I wouldn't boycott Chipotle either for the same aforementioned reasons,
    If I would boycott anything it would be corporations that received bailouts, or practice crony capitalism- The big banks and auto manufacturers that received bailouts and maybe city protected taxicab unions or other government protected monopolies as an example.

  • BLEEDINELL||

    The two dingbats who brandished weapons in the restaurant have set gun rights back decades.
    Let's hope the fatfuck and stoner duo disappear into oblivion quickly so we can get back to business.
    And OCT needs to reevaluate their stance on this one.

  • craiginmass||

    You are, of course, correct.

    But Stupid is as Stupid does. The internet will make certain those dudes live forever. And - as you well know, there are thousands more like them ready to rise to the cause.

    That is, until the real bullets start flying. Then they return to mom's basement.

  • OldOllie||

    If it were my restaurant, the policy would be: concealed carry is fine (just keep it concealed), open carry sidearms by uniformed law enforcement only, and no long guns, period.

    However, banning all firearms is grounds for a boycott -- not for political reasons but because you are ~100 times more likely to be shot in a gun-free zone.

GET REASON MAGAZINE

Get Reason's print or digital edition before it’s posted online

  • Video Game Nation: How gaming is making America freer – and more fun.
  • Matt Welch: How the left turned against free speech.
  • Nothing Left to Cut? Congress can’t live within their means.
  • And much more.

SUBSCRIBE

advertisement