Positive Cynicism – An open letter to Papa John Schnatter about the way you shot your mouth off

Aaron Davis

Aaron R. Davis

Dear Papa John,

I really don’t like to get political in this space. Discussing politics online is just a death trap, and the headache it gives me is why I don’t bother to read the comments anymore. But I do go to great lengths to discuss annoyances in this column, and brother, you have really bugged Jack Barron on this one. So I’m going to try to keep this non-partisan and respond to something you said this week.

See, I read your recent comments about the Affordable Care Act and what it’s going to do to the price of a large pizza at your pizza chain, Papa John’s: “We’re not supportive of Obamacare, like most businesses in our industry. If Obamacare is in fact not repealed, we will find tactics to shallow out any Obamacare costs and core strategies to pass that cost onto consumers in order to protect our shareholders’ best interests.”

Now, I’m not a stupid man. I know the realities of how business is done in America. I know companies think their ultimate duty is not to, say, make a great product that people will want to buy, or provide a top-notch service that people will want to pay for, or serve the community and the economy by creating employment and paying a fair wage. Their ultimate duty is to make money for their shareholders, and it doesn’t matter who gets hurt along the way because free market and competition and other meaningless buzz words. You’re not on the side of your employees, which is why most employees I’ve ever known are not on the side of you.

Have you ever had a job where you worked minimum wage for no benefits? Or even worse, benefits that aren’t good enough? Have you ever had to undergo an emergency medical procedure and thought your employee insurance would cover at least part of it, only to find out that you’re totally screwed because your employer chose the cheapest insurance plan possible just to skirt the barest legal requirement? I’m guessing probably not. Because no one with a beating heart and a spinal cord that touches their brain could live with that and not only force others to go through the same thing, but then publicly vow to punish your customers for Congressional decisions to make employer-provided benefits marginally better.

Working at a pizza place for minimum wage, shitty benefits and a CEO who has declared that his loyalty is to the shareholders? Yeah, that doesn’t inspire loyalty. That inspires showing up and doing just enough work not to get fired. Because a company that will fire you at a moment’s notice just to save some money is not a place to get all wrapped up in. Keep treating your employees like that and see how much they’re going to care when your company inevitably starts its slow descent down the drain. My wife worked for Borders for years. When they started getting into financial trouble, how many of the people who worked with her do you think gave a shit about trying to save their store? If you said zero, give yourself an extra pepperoncini.

But, really, this isn’t about you being yet another shitty CEO who thinks profit is king and doesn’t care about the people who do all that hard work for a laughable amount of money.

No, this is about the way you just came right out and said that you’re going to raise your prices if “Obamacare” isn’t repealed.

Here are my first four thoughts after you promised to pass the cost of “Obamacare” onto consumers:

Don’t you threaten me, you fuck.
Does he actually think I have the power to demand the repeal of the Affordable Care Act so that I can save 14 cents on a pizza? Because his wording kind of implies that he thinks I do.
Seriously, asshole, why are you threatening me because of something Congress did? I’m not sure you know how this process works.
Well, I’m not a stoned college kid in the dorm at three in the morning looking for something cheap to jam into my head-hole, so it’s not like there’s any danger of me ordering from Papa John’s anytime soon, anyway.
Seriously, you motherfucker, don’t you threaten me.

I had to add a fifth one because, seriously, what kind of asshole publicly says he’s going to raise prices just because he disagrees with a government decision? It just comes across so babyish. Like you’re just sulking. You want to hurt other people to soothe your ego. People who, by the way, did not make the decision you’re being so pissy about.

Here’s the thing, Papa John: your profits were up over seven percent last year. College kids must have been getting hold of some really good pot last year, because that’s the only thing that makes your shitty pizza palatable in the first place. Seriously, your pizza is just not good. It’s my last choice of all the places in town. There are at least five local places here that make pizza that outshines yours by half. And that’s in addition to having a Pizza Hut and a Domino’s and a Little Caesar’s, and their CEOs haven’t pissed me off yet. Your pizza tastes like it came out of a microwave.

Remember when McDonald’s used to have pizza and it always tasted sour somehow? That was better than Papa John’s. I wouldn’t eat one of your pizzas if it was given to me for free. Heather Graham could serve it to me topless and I still wouldn’t eat it because I don’t make a habit of putting shit in my mouth. Especially not in front of Heather Graham. She deserves better than that. She is luminous. Luminous.

But back to the point: your profits are up. And your company actually already offers benefits to part-time employees, so you’re actually going to save money on the insurance exchanges offered by the Affordable Care Act. It’s kind of weird that you’re a CEO and I’ve never taken a business class, and yet I know that and you don’t.

So, you’re going to save money, but you’re still going to raise the prices and blame Obama for it? Why? What’s the point? Is this just like a dick-measuring thing? Why open your mouth on this?

Especially when the price increases you’re threatening are so puny? 14 cents on a large pizza? That’s less than the cost of an extra topping. And you are, in theory, asking me to pay 14 cents extra so that an employee can go to a doctor when they’ve got a cold instead of coming to work sick? Instead of coming in to a job where they prepare my food with runny noses, hacking coughs and wet sneezes? DEAL, asshole. I will gladly forgo your hard, crunchy, vacuum-packed veggies so that the guy handling my pizza isn’t sweaty with the flu. No problemo.

Again, that’s if I was ordering your pizza, of course. Which I’m not. I wasn’t before, but I’m sure not going to now, after your pathetic little threats. You obviously don’t care about getting my business if you’re shooting your mouth off that way. You decided to turn the act of eating Papa John’s into some bizarre political statement. And my answer to that is: go fuck yourself! Shove one of your pepperoncinis up your ass, my friend; I’ve got local pizza places to support with my money.

Eat Papa John’s and die.

In all sincerity,

Aaron R. Davis

Aaron R. Davis lives in a cave at the bottom of the ocean with his eyes shut tight and his fingers in his ears. You can contact him at samuraifrog@yahoo.com.

  1. nic. August 14, 2012
  2. theGhostPony November 11, 2012

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