Submitted by Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor
Restaurant chain Lunchbox Laboratory caused a bit of a stir when it presented its annual 4/20 sale offering a thirteen dollar Burger of the Gods in a “Buy one get one free” special. 4/20 is celebrated in the cannabis subculture as a national holiday of sorts and the numbers refer to California Senate Bill 420 which authorized medical marijuana in that state. Events during this day are celebrated in many areas of the United States.
For the year 2014, April 20th coincides with Easter. In a melding of the two holidays Lunchbox Laboratory sought a new way to generate business.
The restaurant e-Mailed the advertisement to 13,000 subscribers with the add featuring a burger toting, joint toking Jesus who laments: “When I Get Back, All I Want is the Burger of the Gods.”
“I wanted you to look at Jesus smoking a blunt, eating a hamburger and say, ‘Hey, I’m going to tell my friend,’” restaurant owner John Schmidt told Q13FOX.com in Seattle. “The chatter is much more than I anticipated. I’m simply trying to sell burgers.”
Schmidt argues he is a “family man” and practicing Christian who was just looking for a way to help his small business pay its bills.
“I’m not your moral compass,” he told Q13FOX.com. “We’re just trying to sell sandwiches. If you’re looking to me for moral direction, you’re probably misguided.”
The resulting free advertising was bolstered by Seattle’s KIRO Radio talk show host Dori Monson who declared “He will never go back to Lunchbox Laboratory after the pot smoking Jesus ad.” He added the following additional insight to the debate:
What this shows is not just a contempt for Christians and Christianity – and they’re free to do that, they’re a private business in a free society. They can have contempt for Christians and Christianity if they want. But to me what this shows more than anything is something that I talk about all the time, and that is this phony, hipster culture in Seattle, because there is nothing particularly edgy about attacking the center point and the center day of Christianity, there’s nothing edgy about that.
I don’t think it’s funny to show Jesus smoking a joint. I don’t think it’s cool. I don’t think it’s hip. It certainly isn’t edgy.
Some people are going to say hey you’re giving them exactly what they’re hoping for, you’re giving them free publicity. But I’ll tell you this is a place I’ve patronized in the past and I will never ever go back to Lunchbox Laboratory.
Again, free speech, I’m all for it, I’m not saying they shouldn’t be allowed to do this. If they don’t care about alienating whatever percentage of their customer base who are Christians, if they don’t care about that, go ahead and do it. But I will tell you it’s a place I’ve gone to that I will never ever go back to again.
It seems certain that Lunchbox Laboratory has lost a very important and valuable customer in Dori Monson. But, thanks to him his entire audience knows of a burger joint they might not have considered before. As for the flight of Christian customers Dori prophesized, one could wonder how many of the 13,000 fans will be deterred. Or, will they in thanks offer Bong Hits For Jesus?
By Darren Smith
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