I love their sandwiches (and their kettle cooked potato chips), but I had long suspected, based on the content of the irreverent/quirky/look-how-hip-we-are metal signs adorning every square millimeter of wall space inside most of their restaurants, that the owner/founder of Jimmy John’s was on the Libertarian/Republican end of the political spectrum.
Looks like I was right.
Now, everyone’s entitled to their own opinions and political views, but when money is put into action to support those views, everyone involved in the chain of hands through which that money has passed is, in some small way, culpable in the outcome.
Put in more tangible terms, Maricopa County’s “tough on crime” sheriff (profiled last year in an excellent New Yorker article) is a big part of the racial profiling brouhaha going on with Arizona’s anti-immigrant law. “Jimmy John” Liautaud was a major (if indirect) contributor to Sheriff Joe’s re-election campaign. And the money he donated came in part from me eating submarine sandwiches.
They’re damn good sandwiches, yes. But if by eating them I’m helping to contribute to the racist xenophobia overtaking the country, then I think I can forgo that small delight.
The owner of the franchise on Hennepin Ave. says protesting in front of his store “only harms hardworking local business people such as ourselves and our employees.” I can see his point. It is likely directly impacting business at this particular, independently-owned Jimmy John’s franchise, while (probably) having absolutely no impact whatsoever at the corporate level.
However, when you buy into a franchise, when you hang up all of their crazy signs and sell their products and promote their identity, you’re also contributing to a perpetuation of the parent company’s values and philosophy — in addition to, again, contributing financially to whatever entities the corporate ownership supports.
It’s easy to get overly self-righteous (but, then, I suppose all self-righteousness is “overly”) in a situation like this. Glass houses, etc. I’m not claiming to be above reproach. Just trying to be more aware of the ways I’m not.