Why Adam Smith Was Being a Bully — And Why the Woman in the Window at Chick-Fil-A Should Be Promoted
Commenters have debated whether the latter-day Adam Smith should have lost his job over this:
I don’t intend to participate in that debate. My view is that it’s his employer’s decision, not mine.
But I do want to point out why his behavior was so offensive. I think commenter crosspatch expressed part of the reason in this comment:
The problem I have with Mr. Smith’s rant is that it is inherently unfair. The woman at the window obviously can not respond with what she might wish to day because her rhetorical hands are tied by being a customer service representative of her employer. Mr. Smith, on the other hand, can say whatever he wants.
Absolutely right — but it goes beyond that. By telling the woman “I don’t know how you live with yourself and work here” while pointing a camera at her, he intended to personally humiliate her — to punish her for having the nerve to try to earn a living at a restaurant whose owner has said and done things with which Smith disagrees. And Smith intended to take the video of her humiliation and spread it as far and wide as possible.
So he berated a low-wage food service worker for views that weren’t necessarily hers, in a situation where she had no ability to respond in kind, as a way to embarrass and harass her in the most public way he could manage.
That’s the behavior of a bully.
It would have been different if Smith had chosen to confront Dan Cathy with a video camera. Cathy can defend himself. He is not constrained to be polite in the same way the nameless food service worker was.
I won’t opine about Smith’s employment, but I will make this observation: Chick-Fil-A should promote the woman in the video. She handled a difficult situation with poise and grace. Adam Smith intended to make her the face of Chick-Fil-A — and believed that would be a bad thing for the company. Now, on computer screens across the nation, she is the face of Chick-Fil-A — and it does the company credit. If Dan Cathy hasn’t already gotten on the phone to make sure she gets ahead in the organization, then he’s blowing a golden opportunity.