All Demand No Supply? Adam Smith Spotted At Chick-Fil-A . . . And Promptly Fired

Adam Smith appears to have been caught on the wrong side of supply side economics. After the chief financial officer posted a video (below) of himself confronting a minimum wage worker at a drive thru window, his Tucson medical manufacturing company Vante fired him. The question is whether a protest that occurs outside business hours should be the grounds for dismissal.


Smith drove up to order a free cup of water to harass the company for its position on gay rights. In picking up the water, he proceeded to lecture the young person in window.

Most people agree that Smith was being a bit of a jerk to dress down the young lady in the drive thru. After all, this is not her policy and she remained calm and polite through the confrontation. I thought it was a bit boorish and if anything was likely to incur more sympathy for the company. I am not sure what Smith thought he was achieving by first lecturing the worker and then posting it on YouTube. I found it a bit over-the-top for a CFO of a company to tell a minimum wage worker that “I don’t know how you live with yourself and work here.”

It appears that CEO Roger Vogel had equal problems with the encounter and cashiered Smith. Vogel stressed “we hope that the general population does not hold Mr. Smith’s actions against Vante and its employees.” Smith had already removed the video before his termination but it did not help.

We have been dealing with an array of cases where employees — often public employees like teachers and police officers — are fired for their outside activities and associations. It is a highly problematic trend.

I tried to find how Smith was identified as part of this company. That would seem a key issue. If the company fired him upon learning of his participation in a protest, it would raise many of the same issues in the prior cases. Yet, from the company’s standpoint, he elected to post the video and, in so doing, threatened a backlash against the company. It is simple business. The company did not want to lose customers based on the conduct of one of its employees. From a free speech angle, private companies are not limited by the first amendment in such actions since the Constitution protects us against government denials of free speech. However, there remains the public policy question of the right of employees to engage in expressive speech. As a senior member of the company, Vogel clearly views this action as threatening a serious backlash from customers.

What do you think?

Source: Fox

46 thoughts on “All Demand No Supply? Adam Smith Spotted At Chick-Fil-A . . . And Promptly Fired

  1. Just as in the military, officers and those of high rank have different rules of conduct since they are visible well known individuals of a company or organization. It makes no sense to penalize those who are low level workers who have no visibility. Discipline would be justified if the worker wore clothing that identified the company they worked for. I think since Smith was a high level officer of the corporation, they were justified in firing him.

  2. He was wrong, in every way. If let folks know in video for which company he worked then he is acting as a rep for the company and was wrong. Firing? That may be too much a ‘punishment’

  3. that guy was a jerk, he should have sent a letter to the president of Chic Fil-A and made a personal commitment to not purchase meals at Chic Fil-A.

    From a purely business perspective he is:

    1. immature
    2. has bad decision making skills
    3. is a bully
    4. and is probably deceitful, he “shines up and shits down”.

    In my mind reason enough to fire him.

    Maybe this is why we are having so much trouble with Wall St., they are all a bunch of immature jack wads like this guy.

  4. A mixed bag this is. However I do not see any evidence of whistleblowing here so Adam does not really have in my view much recourse against his former employer.

    His behavior, while not mean in appearance, is demeaning and dishonorable. Someone at an executive level of a company should not treat basic employees of another company in this fashion. At his level, he should talk with other executives with his grievances. He should know this and not condemn someone of her level as she does not set policy with the company, and to shame her on camera, not executive material in my book. For me this was enough to fire him. He sets a poor example for an executive since at his level, they are effectively the face of the company. At the employee’s level, not at work and out of uniform, they have a different presence in the mind of the public. And they are both private companies. Again, a mixed bag. But I suppose they are just as free to fire him as he is to cause it.

  5. Bron,

    Didn’t you say on November 21, 2011 that we would all be better off investing in “the market” instead of Social Security?

    http://jonathanturley.org/2011/11/19/the-smell-of-corporatist-fear-smells-just-like-a-lobbyist-memo/#comment-293295

    And now, again, as you did in the thread referenced above, you contradict yourself with, “Wall Street . . .” is “. . . a bunch of immature jack wads.”

    This must be your philosophy evolving. However, this leaves me confused as in the thread referenced below you claimed that one, “. . . cant separate the components of a philosophy.”

    http://jonathanturley.org/2012/04/17/appellate-judge-writes-opinion-denouncing-limits-on-cowboy-capitalism/#comment-359975

    Yet, it is apparent that your view of “Wall Street” has changed since Nov. 21, 2011. Have you successfully integrated this new perspective into your monolithic belief structure that can’t have components of thought separated?

  6. What Gene said. This guy bit the hand that fed him. I agree that he should have the ability to speak his personal opinions, but he has to be sure to do it on his own time. If he is an at will employee, they don’t even need a reason, in absence of any state law outlawing it.

  7. Not kind of a jerk. A complete and utter jerk. I agree with Darren: an employee at this level should have driven to the corporate office. Put up a video response to Dan Cathy. Wrote a letter to the company. Totally inappropriate and I would have fired him, too. And who filmed it? This was a planned act showing terrible judgement. I have personally never heard of Vante before today. They are right to be concerned that all that I know of them is that at least one jerk worked there.

  8. gbk:

    why dont you explain it to me.

    What you have said is equivalent to: “some dentists are child molesters so I will never go to another dentist.”

    thinking a problem is related to immaturity has nothing to do with a philosophy. Thinking the bail out was a bad idea has a philosophical basis.

  9. The young lady at the window is marvelous. She was respectful informative and efficient. This day was probably one of her busiest ever. Kudos to her and the manager that hired her.
    This Dickwad Smith probably did more to promote Chic Fil a (especially that one franchise) than a months worth of advertising.
    Be this my blue collar bias, or my true holler soul; This young woman represents the best values of this country. In my travels as a mailman and frequent visits to corner stores, I get to know and observe many minimum wage workers.
    The counter person is so often ignored and disrespected by the hurrying self centered public. At times disrespected and degraded by some rude inconsiderate customers and still continue to be cheery and efficient.
    A tip of my hat to all the good quality minimum wage workers that service all us equal humans. Many times I have seen higher quality in them than myself. Wealth does not quality make.
    PS. If I owned a business I would be eager to have it staffed by workers with the character and quality this young woman exhibited.

  10. Bron,

    Explain what to you, Bron? Your own thought process? Only you can do this.

    I see that you pull up a false equivalency about a dentist and child molestation which as your wont is your approach to argument — change the subject.

    Immaturity has nothing to do with philosophy? The two are mutually exclusive.

    If you remember, I have stated that the $12 trillion bandied about by the Federal Reserve was a boondoggle. However, I’m not sure what this particular subject has to do with this thread.

    My point is your philosophy seems to be changing with regards to “Wall Street” and I’m just curious if you’ve integrated this possibly new perspective into your traditionally binary view.

  11. It’s a classic bully move that does his side no credit. Might as well castigate the cop for enforcing an unreasonable speed limit — wrong time, wrong place, wrong target.

  12. It’s been years since I checked, but the law in Arizona used to be that you can fire a person for a good reason or for no reason, but not for a bad reason. There was a case generally referred to as the Moon River Case, where a nurse was fired for refusing to moon some doctors on an outing. That was considered to be a bad reason to fire someone.

  13. My guess is that often a guy like this (or others who have been let go under similar situations) have already had one foot out the door based on their dealings in their work environment (poor performance, social issues, whatever) and that the public event just becomes the tipping point.

  14. He’s probably a Log Cabin Republican, who are notorious for not seeing the forest for the trees when it comes to hypocrisy about their political beliefs.

  15. A good way to express himself may have been to ask for the manager and calmly tell him that you will get your chicken at KFC or eat the McChicken from now on and then post that and sugest the viewers to always go to Chic-Fil-A and announce where they will get there fast food and why. And then to post their videos of the same. But to always be calm and polite
    To berate a low wage employee for the owners feelings, religious beliefs and business practices is an abuse of the highest sort and shows that the man is not qualified for his position. Simple as that.
    As for how the high ranks of his company found out about the video don’t you imagine he posted to youtube then sent an email to all his buddies and had a big laugh at his heroic stance?

  16. gbk:

    I did not change the subject, I merely used an example.

    And no I have not changed my mind about wall st., they provide a necessary service although they could do it with more transparency and honesty. But then their lack of those virtues probably stems from immaturity.

    As far as binary thinking? Color me black and white.

  17. If he treats other companies low level employees this way one can only imagine how he treats his own employees. Like Jo said, he should have asked for a manager; managers get paid to take s*** both coming down from above and from the bottom up, that’s their major job. Nobody works in fast-food unless they need the job and the lowest level of worker having to listen to complaints that only the highest level of management can resolve (if they so choose) is just cruel. Has he never heard the response, ‘sorry, that’s above my pay grade’?

    Here’s a look at the controversy from some of the minimum wage workers:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/01/chick-fil-a-anti-gay-controversy-employees-speak-out_n_1729968.html?tw_p=twt

  18. As Americans, we have very few legal protections for our jobs, He was justly fired by Vogel in accordance with a written company policy. Smith is a sanctimonious a-hole and certainly deserved to be fired. Why he chose to display his own intolerance so publicly can only be described as well… Idiotic.

  19. Bron,

    “I did not change the subject, I merely used an example.”

    A fabrication of dentists and child molestation — this is not an example; this is fantastical hyperbole not based on any real world facts.

    Your incessant inability to discuss/argue positions without digressing to simple and usually false scenarios that you invent out of whole cloth is something you should consider.

    “And no I have not changed my mind about wall st., they provide a necessary service although they could do it with more transparency and honesty. But then their lack of those virtues probably stems from immaturity.”

    Transparency is not a virtue. Honesty is, but this seems lacking from both our government and Wall Street in our present times; don’t you agree? And would you also agree that the lack of “virtue” stems from greed not immaturity?

    As usual, you miss the point of my postings — have you integrated your new-found perception of Wall Street being, “a bunch of immature jack wads” with your beliefs of free markets?

    Because it’s difficult to believe in free markets and at the same time refer to the arbiters of said as, “immature jack wads.”

    Just curious, really, in how you reconcile the obvious contradictions of your world view.

  20. huuf arted

    if you’re going to post contact info for others why don’t you post your contact #’s below it.

    just for fairness, doncha know
    =============================================
    i wonder if chik-fil-eh would be so kind with free ice water on a hot day to a noticeably homeless person.

  21. Pete

    They sure would be. However, since you seem to notice those who are homeless, why don’t You make that Your ministry.

  22. Bron,

    “As far as binary thinking? Color me black and white.”

    I’m not surprised at this proud trumpeting of your inability to consider shades between the extremes of human thought.

    As you said here:

    http://jonathanturley.org/2012/04/17/appellate-judge-writes-opinion-denouncing-limits-on-cowboy-capitalism/#comment-362635

    you think, “[t]he Enlightenment is fading.”

    This is only so because you, and many others of your ilk, see no other options but the zero-sum of cultural encounters, and if one doesn’t think like you they are fools.

    There are seven+ billion people on the planet now — if you expect all to adhere to an economic system that you subscribe to without dissent then you need to do much better with your arguments as they can’t be based on hamburgers, lasik surgery, or illusions of “free market” when this phrase means privatization and exploitation to many.

    You strike me as an American fool; unaware that the quality of your life is sustained by war, blood, and economic deceptions at the expense of others.

  23. “American fool; unaware that the quality of your life is sustained by war, blood, and economic deceptions at the expense of others.” (gbk)

    Those are some of the truest words ever written on this blog and I would entitle it: “The Real American Dream”.

    Right on, gbk, honest to God, right on.

  24. gbk,

    Some people are simply better at ignoring cognitive dissonance than others, be it through their innate ability to be willfully ignorant, lack of ability to cogitate or simply being psychologically and emotionally comfortable with contradiction as long as they benefit or think it successfully rationalizes their devotion to greed and selfishness as a virtue.

  25. Blouise,

    Thank you. I missed your succinct opinions in my brief two week hiatus.

    Had to clear my head out, went to the woods and fasted, read much, and thought for two weeks. There has to be another model of human cooperation than what we are experiencing now. There has to be, because there is really no other option in the end except cooperation.

    Gene,

    “Some people are simply better at ignoring cognitive dissonance than others, be it through their innate ability to be willfully ignorant, lack of ability to cogitate or simply being psychologically and emotionally comfortable with contradiction as long as they benefit or think it successfully rationalizes their devotion to greed and selfishness as a virtue.”

    Obviously. My concern is that ignorance is being lauded as wisdom; that we as a species are ignoring the long and hard won history that brought us all to this moment in time. We are pissing on the brilliance of human thought at its apex.

    I despair due to this.

  26. gbk,

    I see it as part of the anti-intellectualism encouraged by fascists and others interested in dumbing down Americans to further their oligarchical and tyrannical agendas.

  27. The really interesting question here is why Vante had to wait until this incident before getting rid of him.

    It would be bad enough having someone who behaves like this as a work colleague. Having them in a position of authority would be a nightmare.

    Yes. I know that such people are in positions of authority all over the world.
    It’s just interesting the the “good guys” can’t get rid of them.

  28. Maybe they fired him because he was gay. If he was in a protected grouping and complained about prejudice against the protected group, then the firing would be seen as employment discrimination based on race, sex, ethnic group, but here Vance is free to fire him for his off the job rant against Chicks at the Filet. The person at the drive up window was stellar. The Klan meets at the Chic Fil A in my neck of the woods to discuss strategy. It is a nice, safe environment for them.

  29. I did wonder if he was at least closet gay. He made such a point of telling the girl that he was completely heterosexual.
    As against that, he didn’t inquire where the water was still or sparkling. (Note: I’m just stirring it here :)

    Speaking of stirring, I read “Chick fil a” and somehow a little voice says “Fill a chick”. Maybe it’s all that biblical begatting with their first (and only) wives.

    Anyhoo, I think they fired him because his jerkiness became overly obvious. Whatever about public opinion of the company, any festering discontent amongst his underlings would have been brought to the boil.

  30. lottakatz, great link there is currently 38,000 responses to it.
    How entirely absurd that the american public (in micro) is “voting” over a human rights issue by what choice of chicken sandwich they eat.

    “Waiting For Pollo” by Samuel Bucket- o-chicken

  31. Much of life can only go on if we indulge (as it were) in tolerating/accepting cognitive dissonance.

    Pete said: i don’t minister. but i have given food, water and clothing to those who needed
    Pete, That is ministering, much more helpful and loving then just words. Esp since many who call themselves Christians, or people of any Faith, for that matter, think words are sufficient (and judgements, as with the issue of the thread) but do not bother to put the commandment to love one another, which I assume is, in one or another, part of any Faith, into action

  32. gbk:

    “This is only so because you, and many others of your ilk, see no other options but the zero-sum of cultural encounters, and if one doesn’t think like you they are fools.”

    I am quite cosmopolitan in my views on certain things, in fact on most things. I am a live and let live individual except when I am forced to do something which is against my personal belief.

    If you want to be a socialist by all means, please start a commune or move to a state and become a socialist state; long live difference. But do not make me part of the calculus, do not force me to become a socialist.

    If you want to cover everyone’s medical care then by all means enter into an association of like minded individuals and create an insurance company which is low cost and does the things you want it to do such as accepting people with preexisting conditions. And charge a small fee to those people who are unable to afford care.

    If you dont like people consuming large quantities of corn or sugar, open a market or a restaurant which doesnt sell items with corn or sugar. Educate your customers to the benefits of healthy eating, dont make me unable to purchase a large soda if I choose to do so.

    If you dont like Wall St. start a competing market, they are owned by individuals after all.

    My “ilk” considers individual liberty to be sacrosanct, your ilk cannot say the same.

  33. Oddly enough, the question of whether people should be fired for their activities outside workplace is the same issue which sparked the protests, boycotts, and Appreciation Day

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