Saturday, August 10, 2013

A Very Nice Letter to the CEO of Burger King

Act #222:  Let them have it their way.

Mr. Daniel Schwartz, CEO
Burger King Worldwide, Inc.
5505 Blue Lagoon Drive
Miami, FL 33126

Dear Mr. Schwartz,

I'm not a hater and this is not a complaint letter.  I actually have some fond memories of growing up in suburban Chicago with my working class immigrant family.  Every blue moon, we'd take a deviation from rice and noodles to have it our way, and we'd feast on chicken sandwiches, cheeseburgers, onion rings and fries.......while I'd proudly wear my very own paper King's crown on my head.  I have to admit that I haven't visited often in adulthood.  You know how taste buds change and all.  Plus, having since become a vegetarian (and somewhat health-conscious), the opportunity to stop by just doesn't present itself much.   I still dream of those onion rings every once in a while. 

So I was more than happy to take a little trip down memory lane yesterday when my 6-six year old son and I were on our weekly date, and he chose Burger King as our dinner spot.   Apparently, your television advertisements are quite compelling.  So there we were ordering our food.  Your cashiers and managers were friendly and engaging and I was excited to see a veggie burger on the menu.  My son ordered the kid's meal in the cool BK Crown Activity Box (although I was secretly hoping to get my hands on a crown), when your cashier asked, "Would you like a boy's toy or girl's toy?"  The choices we had before us were a light-up Care Bear ("girl" toy) and a Beyblade wind-up spinning top ("boy" toy).  I know that on your website, you don't really label these items by gender, but for some reason your employees are still referring to them in this manner.  You know, I'm not looking to be antagonistic and I appreciate that while the toys were classified by gender, my son was still offered a choice between the two.  But please hear me out.  I think it might serve your business well to merely offer a description of the toys:  Care Bear activity bears or Beyblade spinning tops.  Simple enough. The way I see it, you already recognize that there are boys who might want the bears and girls who might want the tops, or else your employees wouldn't even be offering up that choice to the kiddos.  Why label them in a way that might be embarrassing for a boy to have to ask for a "girl" toy and vice versa?  Why cause any unnecessary social discomfort right at the moment that childhood memories are quite possibly being created? 

In case you're wondering, my son picked the soft-serve ice-cream cone.  Thank you for that third gender-neutral option, and for celebrating the fact that kids - boys and girls - will almost always light up for any kind of ice-cream and any kind of toy.  They know what they like.  Please consider letting them make the choice for themselves.  Perhaps, let 'em have it their way?

Mom who fondly remembers once being King

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