The Ethics of Pizza

Disclaimer: This post is a rambling of questions, uncertainties, rumor, and overall a search for what happened here. I don’t have the answers. I just know what I have thought and considered since then, whether it is good or bad.

I never thought that this would be a topic I would cover until yesterday. A classmate, hopefully and likely more researched than I am, took a moment to bring to my attention a particular chain’s less than acceptable treatment of people associated with it.

This entire exchange, if that, was prompted by the simple forwarding of a coupon. Who doesn’t love coupons? I basically live off them at this point. However not every coupon is created equal, and it would seem that regardless of the deal ($12 in purchases for a whole large pizza free on top of that!!!) some just won’t go for it.

For those incredibly aware, researched individuals who know more about the ethics of their food, clothes, and million other purchases kudos to you! What I really appreciated about this situation was that in addition to the quick alert about the store/coupon, an alternative location was suggested that is working to help those most vulnerable in our community.

Rosa’s Fresh Pizza,, which has clearly gotten it’s fair share of publicity if you watch TV regularly, is a $1 a slice pizza place in Center City Philadelphia. The concept by now is common knowledge. You buy your food, you donate x dollars and that waits for someone who can’t pay to cover the stores costs. This stores largest audience for the prepurchased food would be the homeless of Philadelphia.

The taste of the food really isn’t an issue as this is a place of principle. So while I have not yet gone to this location I look forward to trying it soon! It is wonderful when helping yourself also helps others. I need to eat, and if eating some pizza here for cheaper can help another person eat as well I am all for it!

Now for an unresearched tangent. Most of the information in this section is curious questioning, rough theory, and a very small sliver of knowledge about the Starbucks Philadelphia incident of earlier this year.

What happened to the simplicity of I live close to x shop and they provide a quick service/item I need so I will go there? When did an entire place come to blame for a single persons actions? Aren’t stores generally owned/operated by local people who hire other local people? Don’t these people then just pass information along a chain of command til the main organizer gets it? Where in that broken chain do we draw the line of blame and boycott?

I’ve heard money is the greatest boycott. Don’t go there, don’t buy that. Withholding funds from these people is the only way to make them change. But if they changed, or tried would you return? How would you know if everyone boycotted?

Is every place exactly the same? Are those local workers to blame for a single or several instances which occured someplace else?

This is like the Starbucks incident in Philadelphia. Is every Starbucks across the country to blame for that store’s decisions? Should they be boycotted to no end to ensure that never happens again?

I think that ultimately the way people decide to boycott or not is really dependent on the reaction of the company in the week following the incident. The more public the incident the more necessary immediate public action is called for. This is more than just heartfelt letters and press conferences. Starbucks closing all locations for a day to train all their employees on racial bias I believe is the only reason they have kept going. Had they not, at least the city of Philadelphia, or the informed portion, would have gone on a strict boycott.

Now some places never change, they just know how to manipulate their marketing and keep all the less favorable information out of sight.

Ultimately it comes down to what you want to represent in this world and what means you have to do that. If time is crucial to your lifestyle then the closest thing may be what you choose no matter what. If money is crucial, you’re budgeting just to get by, then the cheapest location will be your choice no matter what. If the environment is crucial, then you will only purchase specific products and learn how to make or cope with/without the rest.

So the real question here is how do you want to live and what legacy do you want to leave behind?

For those of you reading, do you know of any other places that operate in a similar way? How have you understood and handled the ethics of your purchases?


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