Who's Killing the Chick-Fil-A Dining Room?
Are Big Government Giveaways Really to Blame for the Fast Food Giant's Workforce Shortage...Why President Biden is Not a Good Person
Writing over at Babylon Bee spin-off Not the Bee*, Joel Abbott highlights the plight of several Chick-fil-A franchises from Alabama being short-staffed and having to take steps like closing the dining room. Abbott has an explanation:
For some reason – certainly not that the government has been paying healthy people to stay home to avoid a virus that statistically targets sick, elderly individuals – people keep quitting to collect unemployment and these restaurants remain so short staffed that they are being forced to CLOSE.
The purpose of the expanded unemployment benefits was because there were businesses that would close down or not be doing as much business due to lockdowns as well a people who wouldn’t be able to work due to school closures and events related to the pandemic regardless of their own personal health. There were also many people who are not healthy. The thought behind that was to not create desperate poverty for people who found themselves out of work due to a disaster beyond their control. These measures were approved by bipartisan majorities, though there certainly were abuses.
President Biden’s Pandemic bill continued them to September even while vaccines were rolling out. When I’ve read stories about worker shortages, much like Mr. Abbott, I thought once the Expanded Unemployment ended, people will go back to work.
The problem with this theory in regards to Chick-fil-A’s woes is the story Abbott was commenting on was about Chick-Fil-A’s in Alabama. Governor Kay Ivey (R-AL) ended all participation in Expanded Unemployment programs effective June 19, 2021 and restored the requirement that people receiving unemployment be actively searching for work. My home state of Idaho did the same thing on the same date and is having some of the same problems that are being observed in Alabama. My local Chick-Fil-A has a closed dining area. To blame this on a program that ended nearly three months ago in Alabama and Idaho is off-base and requires a bit more thought than NottheBee demands of its writers.
If Expanded Unemployment alone can’t explain the labor shortage, what might be going on? I have not found a definitive answer. but I came up with a few reasonable ideas.
1) Adult Children Staying Home
For a long time, there have been a growing number of adults who have stayed with their parents even when reaching adulthood. Their participation in the workforce was not necessary for their financial survival. Although, in some cases, it may be to pay for education. College enrollment is down and that means many college students who might get a restaurant job to work around their hours just aren’t going to. As the pandemic continues to rage, how many parents in their 60s and 70s want their adult children out mingling with the public, interacting with sixty to eighty people per day, and bringing home a Breakthru infection? It seems reasonable to me to imagine that a lot of parents are far less eager to send their adult kids out to work in the age of Delta Variant.
2) Living their Dream: In the Asheville, North Carolina-based Mountain Express, one manager offered this explanation: “They took the time off to explore their passions and work on their personal goals, and now they’re branching out into other things.” Now some might think this is short-handed for staying in their parents’ basement playing video games. And in some cases, it might be. But in others, it may be that they’ve found another job or business such as doing Food Delivery through companies like Doorbash or Postmates. In addition, there are ways to make money online (yes, even by playing video games) and some may have taken a side-gig and made it their main gig and not want to go back to their job in retail or restaurants.
3) Poor Working Conditions: Younger generations are far less open to putting up with the abuse heaped on workers in restaurants and retail than Boomers or Generation X workers may have been. “We’re Not Going to Take It” might be a quintessentially 1980s song, but it could be the anthem of many young workers who’ve had it with anti-Mask Karens screaming at them about their constitutional rights and pro-Mask Karens nitpicking the pandemic precautions the restaurant takes as if the nineteen-year-old operating the cash register any say over it,. In addition, they’re done dealing with all those people who find the fast-food cashier or the call center worker to be the perfect person to take all their frustrations with life during COVID out on.
4) Parents Staying Home: Many parents have had to stay home with kids due to school closures. We’ve already seen many schools have temporary closures due to COVID outbreaks. It’s understandable that some parents may not have confidence that their kids will stay in school the whole year, so it’s easier just to have a parent at home. Certainly, there are many parents who work more for personal fulfillment and enjoying their co-workers than they do because the money they earn is vital to the family’s survival. Other parents may find it easier to tap into existing government aid programs rather than going to work in restaurants or retail particularly given numebr.
5) The Elderly and the Sick: I like the way that many of those who think COVID being most harmful to the elderly and the overweight is a sign it’s no big deal when the majority of the country falls into one or both of those categories. There are a decent number of elderly people working part-time in retail or service industries just to have something to do and it’s understandable that they would give this up. If you have another high-risk medical condition, it’s also understandable that you’d say, “My life’s worth more than $13 an hour.”
Thus, we find in a stand-off. On one hand, there are enough people who will refuse vaccines so that COVID will continue to spread long after other countries have returned to a semblance of normality. On the other hand, there are enough people who are concerned about the virus who won’t or can’t return to their pre-pandemic lives and who don’t have to that are going to make it impossible for COVID skeptics to enjoy full normal lives. Something as simple as sitting in the lobby of Chick-fil-A will be elusive for months to come and there’s little to be done, particularly as the problem continues even after the end of Expanded Unemployment.
The different sides in America have decided not to cooperate for the common good, instead they’ll settle for creating as much misery as possible for everyone.
President Biden is Not A Good Person
One thing became apparent this week. President Biden is not a good man. The President introduced a divisive new vaccine mandate on Thursday, September 9th. Regardless of how you feel about the mandate (for the record, I felt it was a violation of free-market principles in the same way that Governor Abbott and Governor DeSantis violated free-market principles with their anti-vaccine mandate rules,) there was no reason the mandate had to be issued when it was. Coming out two days before the celebration of September 11th, the mandate exacerbated existing national divisions at a time when we should be coming together. Even if you thought the mandate was necessary and appropriate, there was no reason not to wait until the 13th to release it. Jonah Goldberg nailed it:
Hard-hearted cynics might say that Biden reversed course to change the subject from the debacle in Afghanistan and his sagging poll numbers, particularly as we head into the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.
Well, the hard-hearted cynics are right.
President Biden divided the country rather than bringing it together, so we’d spend less time thinking about the Taliban controlling more territory in Afghanistan than it did before 9/11. Even more, he pulled a classic Trumpian move by building up an us. v. them narrative of the unvaccinated v. the vaccinated. This led to criticism by CNN’s Jake Tapper who took issue of his scolding tone towards the unvaccinated rather than the shameless charlatans who deceive people. The speech wasn't met to persuade, it was meant to channel the frustrations of the vaccinated just as Trump channeled the frustrations of his base by being a vessel to express their rage.
People get confused between comparative goodness and actual goodness. There’s a good case to be made that Biden is a better person than Trump, but that doesn’t say much. You could argue that John Gotti was a better person than Josef Stalin or that Bernie Madoff was a better person than Ted Bundy. In a comparative sense, you might be right, but none of these are actually good people.
Biden sought to turn the country to squabbling to benefit his own political fortunes and therefore dishonored a solemn day. That’s not the act of a good person or a good president.
Biden supporters, particularly those on the right, would do well to think carefully about supporting Biden in 2024. Many see him as the only one who can stop Trump from re-emerging. However, Biden’s tendency to be different things at different times makes him look two-faced which is not something Americans view warmly.
I’m reminded a little of the first season of Survivor.** The finals came down to two contestants, Richard and Kelly. It fell to those who had been eliminated to serve as a jury to pick the winner. Sue had been friends with Kelly and Richard had been insufferable throughout the whole thing. However, Sue found Kelly had been dishonest and two-faced with her and others in the completed. Richard might have been the snake, but Kelly was the rat, and that the jury should let nature take its course and “let the snake eat the rat. “
Most Americans know that President Trump is a snake. His attempts to act presidential or to be a decent human being inevitably last somewhere between minutes and hours. He’s obviously not a good person and any decent person would know that they failed in life if they had a child turn out anything like him. But except for his most devoted followers, everyone knows what a horrible specimen of humanity Donald Trump is.
But to many Americans, it’s becoming clear that Joe Biden is the rat. Biden ran on bringing people together, passing bipartisan legislation and healing the soul of the country. Biden has shown himself will ram through partisan boondoggles, embrace radical political programs, and show bad faith when negotiating with the other party. While he promised to heal America, he divides it just like Trump did.
The political class in DC is willing to bet it all on Biden. They’ll bet that the specter of Trump’s awfulness will help Biden win in 2024. Yet, I suspect that in a rematch, after living with the rat as President, Americans will choose the snake.
*Not the Bee was supposed to cover news stories that were so ridiculous they could have been on the Babylon Bee if they weren’t true. In reality, the site has become a competitor with Twitchy for the market of, “websites that keep you angry all the time.” However, there’s a big difference between Not the Bee and Twitchy. The money for Not the Bee goes to someone else.
**The only season I watched more than a few minutes of. Really, I swear.