In the brief history of conservatives attempting to enrage or morally wound their left-leaning counterparts by throwing money at faceless corporations, no attempt has had logic quite as convoluted as the recent obsession with eating tomatoes from Wendy’s. Welcome, 2018!
This most recent cultural proxy war began with a Twitter thread from a user known as Respectable Lawyer, in which he laid bare the morally dubious, if not outright evil, corporate tactics of everyone’s favorite social-media-savvy burger chain.
The story (which is pretty much impossible to follow on Twitter, given its weird threading rules) breaks down like this: Up until a few years ago, Wendy’s restaurants were supplied with tomatoes picked by migrant workers in Immokalee, Florida who worked under exceptionally terrible conditions. In 2015, the workers’ union attempted to secure a better deal with several multibillion-dollar companies—including Wendy’s—that would provide them with more protections and would ensure that an additional penny per pound would go directly to the farm workers.
Wendy’s, of course, said no. Instead, they started buying from a mega-farm in Mexico, which, as the Los Angeles Times reports, essentially treats its workers like slaves at its scorpion-infested labor camps. By getting these facts out in the open, Respectable Lawyer hoped to convince any of his purportedly left-leaning or pro-labor followers to stop supporting the fast food giant simply because it says funny, mean things to McDonald’s sometimes.
What he probably didn’t expect was a bunch of very cool and normal people to come out of the woodwork and announce that they are going to buy even more Wendy’s now because they… love slavery? Again, it’s quite convoluted.
There’s a lot more like that, but you get the picture. Your choices are to either not eat at Wendy’s because you oppose corporate-sponsored slave labor or to eat at Wendy’s as much as possible because the culture war will be won by, um, buying shit. Here’s to another 12 months of successfully owning each other online by either condemning or supporting human rights violations. Remember to keep your receipts!