I’m Fed up with Bad Customer Service! Here’s What I Plan to Do About It. @ChurchsChicken

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I had some errands to run today. So, I got the kids off to school, made myself pretty and went out into the world (the light stung my eyes a little…you know how it is when you get sucked into a project and forget what daylight looks like). The day started out great…and then I began to experience capitalism at it’s greatest. Allow me, first to chronicle the particular customer service experience I’m talking about and then I’ll explain why this is important (and how it relates to authorship).

I pulled into Church’s Chicken (618 North Alexander Avenue Port Allen, LA 70767) and up to the drive through window. I was greeted with a pleasant greeting: “Hello” and so I replied…”Can I have just a moment to look at the menu, I haven’t been here in a while”. (In fact, it’s been 6 years and the reason I haven’t been to a Chruch’s Chicken in 6 years is [ironically] bad customer service). “Yeah” was the reply I received.

It took me about 45 seconds to narrow my choice between two Sandwiches…the Big Tex and a Chicken Sandwich. I was still a little torn so I spoke into the speaker, again: “Yes, I’m sorry but I can’t quite make up my mind. What comes on the Big Tex Sandwich?” The reply I received was “Hold On!” Okay, it’s only fair, really. I made her wait, how can I be upset, at this point. About a minute later, she came back on the speaker and said, “It has mayonnaise, lettuce and pickles. Do you want it?”

“Maybe, which is better, the BIg Tex or the Chicken Sandwich”

*audible sigh* “Just pull up to the window when you’re ready to order”…and silence…

Now, I’m a little perturbed at the situation but I pull up and wait approximately a minute and a half for the cashier to come up to the window. It’s important to know that at this moment in time, I was the only customer in drive through and there were a total of 4 cars in the entire parking lot…the lobby seemed pretty much empty…

When she opens the window, she doesn’t say anything so I smile at her (to let her know I’m friendly) and I say, “I’m sorry, I’m not trying to be difficult but I haven’t been to Church’s in a very long time. I was just wondering which sandwich is better?” At this point, she’s looking at me like I’m from some foreign land and she doesn’t understand a word I’m saying so I clarify, “Which one would you choose?”

“I don’t eat the food, here. I don’t like chicken. Which one you gonna get?” (Really, you think I want anything from this place if the employees wont even eat this food?)

“Just give me a large Dr. Pepper and a Macaroni and Cheese.”....and she took my money and walked away from the window. That should have been it but I couldn’t let it go. When she opened the window to hand me the Dr. Pepper, she was yelling back to the kitchen about my macaroni and cheese. I asked to speak to a manager.

The manager gave me the same “you’re an alien look” as I began to speak. I said, “You have a real problem with professionalism, here. Your cashier was rude to me and she told me that she doesn’t eat here, when I asked for a recommendation, which I KNOW is a big no-no. I know there are corporate standards in place and they’re obviously not being adhered to. I expect a better experience.”

“Yeah, but she doesn’t like the food…You want her to lie to you? Here’s your macaroni and Cheese.” and so I gave up. I wasn’t surprised that the manager didn’t care about the cashier being rude or see the problem in the way she handled the situation. I won’t ever go back to that location, again, and I likely won’t ever eat Church’s Chicken again.

…but that’s really not enough. Because, as a customer, I am exactly how they see me…just a number. At the end of the night, when they pull the reports from their register, I am just one of x amount of customers and I contributed to an average $ of sales. That number is put into a report and corporate receives it but they wont know anything about me and the experience I had. They have no real idea about how the restaurant is performing in the areas of customer service. Some companies do…(the smart ones, do)…the companies that have online surveys set up As far as I can tell, Church’s Chicken does not. I didn’t receive a receipt so I can’t be exactly sure but the website only has an address and a generic form on the “Contact Us” page…that says, very clearly, that corporate doesn’t really want to hear from customers…it says that they don’t care how their restaurants are performing, outside of the numbers that show up on the reports at the end of the night.

Now, let me digress a bit, so you understand where I’m coming from, with this. I’m not a customer service Nazi (or maybe I am…I don’t know…I do tend to be critical of the customer experience). I have a lot of really good reasons for actually caring about customer service….and I’m not just complaining because I want to be treated like a queen whenever I step into a restaurant or store. In this instant, the cashier did A LOT of things wrong. Mostly, I was aggravated because she made it clear that she was annoyed by the fact that I was asking her questions. The customer service experience is supposed to make the customer feel like they are valued and respected. Obviously, I was a pain in the ass to the cashier…the opposite of being warm and welcoming…and she was obviously above me and couldn’t be bothered to give me a suggestion or even really care about what I was going to eat. All this, really says nothing about the cashier…she’s just a worker, doing her job…but what it says about the restaurant is that it has, obviously, low standards…it was clear by the way the cashier was talking to me…and by the way that the cashier and manager both looked and carried themselves…it was obvious by the fact that the cashier didn’t care enough about the brand to suggest a product…a really strong brand would train a cashier to handle these situations, whether or not they actually eat the food (using metrics and basic product knowledge). She could have said, “Most customers prefer” or “We sell more of….” I was annoyed, not because this was a huge problem, but because it was a simple problem which could have easily been resolved with the slightest knowledge about to handle customers…literally, half an hour of customer service training and a restaurant culture which backs up the importance of providing great service to every culture, is all it takes to turn around even the worst establishments around.

On the most basic level, I care about customer service because I spent the greater part of my late teenage and early adult years working in public service. I have worked in multiple areas of customer service (restaurant, retail, telecommunications, ect.) and I have worked in multiple levels (front of the house, back of the house, management, ect.). I have a great respect for the art of customer service and I know how important it is to the success of any brand. I know that most customers, upon having a bad experience, will never complain and will just give up on a location, or even a brand, without hesitation. There is always another grocery store just a few miles down the street…customers don’t have to put up with bad service and low standards

I think what really bothers me about it is the fact that customer service workers have no pride in what they do. I don’t know any other industry where it is so acceptable to not give a shit about the most basic tasks of your job. I understand that these jobs barely pay the bills and that sucks…but where I come from, you have pride in WHATEVER it is that you do. It doesn’t matter if you dig ditches for a living, you do the best you can at it and you don’t complain about it. That’s how I was raised and so when I got my first job (at a Hardees restaurant), I made up my mind to be the best little drive through cashier on the East Coast….and I was good…I was real good (at the customer service part, at least).

But things are different, here in the south. In my hometown, there were only a handful of restaurants and stores nearby and the workers consisted largely of adults who had families to support. The customer service experience there is so different than it is here and I find myself looking for a higher standard than customer service workers in the south are able to provide. More importantly, I find myself asking why is it this way? Why can’t I just get good customer service. I don’t want things to be perfect…you can mess my food up—I’ll either eat it or have it remade….you can spill my drink on my lap—-I’ll just laugh it off…it all comes down to how the cashier or waitress handles themselves and interacts with the customer.

It can’t be that a large part of the American population simply don’t know how to talk to people….or smile….or have pride in themselves…It can’t be that a certain dollar amount is required for an individual to actually care about their job….It can’t be that customers and cashiers alike, in certain areas, lack the skills necessary to show basic respect and decency….or maybe it does mean, exactly that.

Perhaps that is what bothers me so badly about the whole thing. If a cashier and a customer can’t show the most basic levels of respect for one another, I don’t want to live here anymore. The eroding of customer service in America is indicative of a much larger problem…the eroding of respect, dignity and tolerance in America. Where is the kindness and warmth that I knew as a child? I don’t want to live in in a cold, dark world and I don’t want to raise my kids to live in that world. I want better for this country….We don’t all have to be assholes, you know…It’s not a competition….

But I digress…because I’ve been rambling on about this, in my mind, for months now…and I finally have a solution. I’m going to write a book about it. I think it’s about time that somebody address these issues. I’ve been thinking on a new project to start in November for NANO, anyway, and I think this would be a good fit. It will be my first nonfiction work and it will be the first time that I’ll be using Social Media and Reddit to write a book (actually, it will be the first time I’m using Reddit, period so wish me luck).

I’ve started a subreddit: /r/CustomerSatisfaction and I will be using it (along with Yelp! and Google Reviews and personal experience) to build a profile of the specific complaints and praises that people have about Customer Service. During Nano, I will build the framework for the book…I’ll work on blocking out specifically what I want to cover and write a lot of the framework text. It’s kind of a different way to do Nano but I’m really excited about the project…It will be fun to examine customer service and how it relates to the human condition….at the very least, we have to let corporations know that it is acceptable to us to be treated as just another number…and we have to let customers know that, in order to demand respect, you have to know how to give it. We have to set a new standard for human interaction and, since money talks, there is no better place for the revolution to occur than the customer service industry.

…and even if you don’t want to take part in my project, don’t forget to put your own experiences on blast (good or bad)….because the only way that corporations will change is if they get the point that everything that happens at every location will be reported…use Yelp!, Twitter, Facebook, Google, WordPress, Tumblr, ect. to send the message….Bad service will not be tolerated and good service will be celebrated. Corporations will eventually have to invest in better training or pay their employees more…If enough voices are raised, things will have to change.

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#BeQuotable…Day 16…Quote about Difference…#CJoyBellC

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Difference

“We are all equal in the fact that we are all different. We are all the same in the fact that we will never be the same. We are united by the reality that all colours and all cultures are distinct & individual. We are harmonious in the reality that we are all held to this earth by the same gravity. We don’t share blood, but we share the air that keeps us alive. I will not blind myself and say that my black brother is not different from me. I will not blind myself and say that my brown sister is not different from me. But my black brother is he as much as I am me. But my brown sister is she as much as I am me.”
C. JoyBell C.

Hijaking the American Conciousness…Are Facebook’s Privacy Settings Alarming?

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I’m working on a Dystopian novel, right now (I know, who isn’t). Not surprisingly, the story is centered around government control and the role of technology in all this (and of course, keeping to my writing style, there are religious and spiritual undertones to it, as well). With this in mind, I thought I would respond to an alarming story reported, right here on WordPress, which seems to be getting some notice on my FB feed.

Let me start out by saying that this is not a new news story. Although the blog post was written on August 7, 2014, the story was originally reported by the Huffington Post on December 1, 2013. I have linked that article but I will not call out the blogger who rehashed the story, because that’s not cool.

So, what’s the hubbub?

The story reports that the Facebook Messenger App is a personal security risk, because of the permissions you accept when you install the app. Verbatim, those permissions are:

  • Allows the app to change the state of network connectivity

 

  • Allows the app to call phone numbers without your intervention. This may result in unexpected charges or calls. Malicious apps may cost you money by making calls without your confirmation.

 

  • Allows the app to send SMS messages. This may result in unexpected charges. Malicious apps may cost you money by sending messages without your confirmation.

 

  • Allows the app to record audio with microphone. This permission allows the app to record audio at any time without your confirmation.

 

  • Allows the app to take pictures and videos with the camera. This permission allows the app to use the camera at any time without your confirmation.

 

  • Allows the app to read you phone’s call log, including data about incoming and outgoing calls. This permission allows apps to save your call log data, and malicious apps may share call log data without your knowledge.

 

  • Allows the app to read data about your contacts stored on your phone, including the frequency with which you’ve called, emailed, or communicated in other ways with specific individuals.

 

  • Allows the app to read personal profile information stored on your device, such as your name and contact information. This means the app can identify you and may send your profile information to others.

 

  • Allows the app to access the phone features of the device. This permission allows the app to determine the phone number and device IDs, whether a call is active, and the remote number connected by a call.

 

  • Allows the app to get a list of accounts known by the phone. This may include any accounts created by applications you have installed

 

Users are flocking to uninstall the app and citing their rage…informing their friends….placing a little piece of tape over their cell phone cameras and microphones…setting up late at night wondering what sensitive information the government has gotten their hands on…looking out the window for the swat team to arrive on the lawn, at any minute…barring doors and windows….You know, the basic protocol that is required for such instances.

Not so fast, McDuck

Now, don’t get me wrong, I believe in a healthy amount of distrust for the government and I admire the gusto of the American people as it pertains to personal security issues…but I’m way too old to buy into this shit. Firstly, we cannot buy into the fact that the Facebook Messenger App is solely to blame for the sensitivity of our personal security.

I have long-since accepted that everything is Public. If you own a computer or a cell phone, your personal security is as risk. If you have a profile on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, ect…if you have a WordPress blog, your information is “shared”. If you go to the grocery store, convenience store, bank or otherwise step outside your door, (it’s very likely) that you’re being recorded.

This is the world that we live in. Do we have to like it? No, we don’t but what can we do about it? You have chosen to be born at a time in history where nothing is private….so why are we so alarmed when we find out, in fact, that nothing is private? The only choice you have, if you want a private life, is to go completely off the grid. If you chose to do this, you would have no way of subjecting yourself to Huffington Garbage articles. Congratulations, you are free of paranoia (except, of course, the paranoia that exists regarding being eaten alive or freezing to death in the dead of winter).

Secondly, In order to really buy into the hype, I would have to assume a few things.

  1. I would have to assume that I’m doing something wrong. What is gained by the US government spying on my every move; listening to my conversations; or generally knowing what I’m up to on a day to day basis? All I have to say is that someone out there has about a million shots of me writing on the toilet, walking around in my underwear, and doing fingerpaints with my children…riveting stuff this is…and because I’m not the leader of a drug cartel, I really don’t care if anyone knows exactly what goes on in my life 24 hours a day.
  2. I would have to assume that the government (or whoever) actually gives a shit about me. I’m pretty sure, with the billions of people in America who “live the public life”, that I’m pretty low on the radar, here. My credit score is in the crapper so good luck to the poor sap who tries to steal my identity. I’m pretty much a hermit and I think I lead the most boring life on the planet. I’m not a drug lord or pedophile…I think that whoever it is that is accessing our lives has bigger fish to fry than the single mom starving artist.
  3. That I don’t want my life to be public. Maybe this is specific to the artists, writers and bloggers out there that actually want to be known. I spend a lot of time trying to draw attention to the things that I post online. I want to be known…I want to be heard. I want people to care about what I have to say. This really is the beautiful thing about the technological and interconnected society in which we exist. So, I would like to speak directly to the Lords Of The Internet here…If you’re listening….if you’re really watching my every move, could you please make sure that a couple hundred thousand (or billion) internet users would do the same? Thank you, AC Willis….

The Real Issues At Hand

So, once you settle on the fact that your enrollment in society ensures that you are part of a real live Truman Show, you can begin to look at the real issues at hand, here. The real issue is Propaganda. I haven’t quite wrapped my brain around the hijacking of American consciousness by the enemy (the internet) and American media. When I see my friends and followers flock toward what I refer to as garbage news sites, I have to SMH at them. I have learned that any news story which plays directly into the fear and hate that has been instilled in the hearts of my fellow Americans is far more profitable than any message of hope, love or unity.

I almost feel like we’re in a huge time machine and we’re moving backward…erasing all the progress that has been made in the avenues of higher level thought…and replacing all the walls that have been knocked down, regarding the tolerance of anyone who is not one of “us” (“us” being the target audience for fear based propaganda…I will not make a guess there, because we all know the “us” I’m talking about). We are, now, nearing a point of segregation not seen in American since the turn of the century and popular news outlets and religious groups are more than happy to feed into this.

Any citizen who buys into it is nothing more than a puppet in the largest societal magic show in the world. It’s basic slight of hand…Whoever is controlling the information (whether it’s the government, private political parties, or corporations) is saying “Look here”…and we’re looking. Meanwhile, the true crimes against our society lay blanketed below the fog of hate and fear that we feel for one another….below the paranoia we feel on  daily basis…

I have free will and so I am able to post this…I am able to tap out of the collective unconsciousness of my own society and open my eyes. I am able to see what is really happening…I am able to decipher the truth for myself and share my ideas with others. I am free but only because I don’t believe everything I read on the internet…only because I think for myself.

We will never change things if we are not united…I have said it a million times…but again, there’s really nobody out there who is listening, is there?

A Little More Distraction…#GoldenGlobes

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On the heels of the Golden Globe Awards, my social media pages are blowing up with lists of the best and worst dressed, shocking moments, and award recaps. I’m both excited and repelled by this.

I am excited because I’m American and I love celebrities. I read People Magazine, follow my favorite’s updates on Twitter; the whole nine yards. Everytime I watch an episode of New Girl, I walk the line between wishing I was Zooey Deschanel and wishing I could marry her (oh, come on…she’s gorgeous, smart and talented!).

I once milled over the idea that today’s celebrities are held in the same regard that the Greeks and Romans held their gods and goddesses. In fact, it’s possible that the archeologists of the future might just discover a collection of People Magazine, restore them and mistake our celebrities for gods and goddesses. I chuckled at the thought of our future selves constructing an image of our society from our “holy books”. It was a fun idea to ponder, for a while but then I spit it out as quickly as I conceived it. It seemed like such an unpopular opinion…it seemed so wrong.

Still, I can’t help thinking it. It lurks like a shadow in the back of my brain and whenever I’m undulated with Celebrity news, it jumps back into the forefront. The idea waves it’s hands in my face and begs for acknowledgement. So, today, I gave it just that.

Let’s face it…Celebrities are our gods and goddesses.

We read their fables and parables in the tabloids; using it as an example for our children. I can hear parents all over the world exclaiming: Look at the Miley Cyrus…doing The Twerk all over the place…that Miley, she’s in trouble…Becky, you don’t want to be like that…No guy will ever take that Miley Cyrus seriously…

We applaud their successes; awarding them with awards made of gold (all that’s missing is the frankincense and myrrh)

We fashion our lives after them; gobbling up any piece of clothing or breakfast cereal that emulates them or is endorsed by them.

We ignore their mortality…to us, they are not normal, average people. They are demigods and we are redeemed somehow when given the chance to meet them…we scream for the opportunity to just touch the hem of their garments.

When we are faced with their mortality, we sob collectively and hold candlelight services in their honor, just like they were old friends.

What’s wrong with this? We aren’t the first society to create our own deities. We may not even be the first to create them out of real people. Of course, there is a lacking moral component but in 21st Century America, who questions that, anymore?

I guess my real problem with it is the pay-grade. Maybe it’s because I’m hopelessly poor myself; maybe it’s because I loathe materialism; or maybe it’s because I hold things like food, safety and freedom in such high regard but I have a real problem with the Hollywood actor’s salary, as compared to that of a farmer, policeman, or a soldier. We are taught, through the process of capitalism, that the higher a good or service’s value, the higher the price for it is…so why are celebrities some of the highest paid in our society?

For the purposes of the argument, I’m going to compare celebrities against soldiers (because it’s the one that hits closer to home for me). The fact is that you can interchange any occupation that supports our society in the place of “soldier” and my logic will make sense. 

So I ask myself this question: What is it about the services provided by celebrities that makes it more valuable than the services provided by a soldier? Do we value entertainment more than safety and security; more than freedom? 

No, certainly not. That would be indulgent and ungrateful…there must be some other reason for the pay discrepancies. I ponder this for a while, as I browse pages and pages of breaking news and Hollywood gossip. Then, it dawns on me.

It is not the entertainment that we hold in such high regard, is it? It’s the ability to set in a darkened movie theatre or our living rooms for 30 minutes to 3 hours and just shut everything off. It’s watching the young teen actress spiraling into a dark hole that allows us to dissociate from our own problems. It’s about breaking down with grief when we have lost a celebrity because we just need an excuse to cry…or because we feel like we’ve lost a part of ourselves.

Maybe we have lost a part of ourselves.

What does it say about us that we would pay more for a little distraction that we’re willing to pay for our own freedom?

How broken is our society that we need constant distraction and discourse just to navigate everyday life?

And how do we dig ourselves out of the hole we’re in when our heads are buried in the sand? 

I’m just a single mother and aspiring author with a blog; I do not claim to be a visionary or seer (although I would like to be). I do not claim to have all the answers to these questions. I mean, I have my own answers to these questions but it’s not the answer that’s important; it’s the ability to stand up and ask them that really matters. At the end of the day, each and every one of us will have to answer these questions for ourselves before we can even begin to heal as a whole.

#MerryChristmas…Peace on Earth and Goodwill Towards ALL men!

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Not much to say tonight, except Merry Christmas. Enjoy your time with your family and if you get time, check out my new book on Amazon. I will leave you with this because it is what is weighing on my mind: “Life is like a good book. We read into it what we want to and we all read the same words differently.” 

With Love, Always,

AC Willis

Why I DON’T hate Phil Robertson…#DuckDynasty

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Let me start out by saying that I am not in the target demographic for A&E’s Duck Dynasty…I am liberal, Pagan, and although I come from a small town, I am  not very country. I am also a friend of the LGBT community. For a long time, I actually refused to watch the show because of comments about the “Pagan Holiday, Halloween” made on the show. Most of my friends and family, on the other hand, love the show and so when my 4 year old son decided he loved it as well, I actually set down to watch it.

I found out that it wasn’t that bad and although it doesn’t appeal directly to me, I think the family is a lovely one. So, when I heard the buzz surrounding Phil Roberston’s allegedly “anti-gay” comments, I was surprised. It always appeared to me that the family was a loving one and love doesn’t mesh well with ill tolerance. I had been burned before by judging someone in the media without actually understanding what that person said that was taken as negative. So, I did some research.

Here is what Phil Robertson actually said:

“Everything is blurred on what’s right and what’s wrong. Sin becomes fine,”

“Start with homosexual behavior and just morph out from there. Bestiality, sleeping around with this woman and that woman and that woman and those men. Don’t be deceived. Neither the adulterers, the idolaters, the male prostitutes, the homosexual offenders, the greedy, the drunkards, the slanderers, the swindlers — they won’t inherit the kingdom of God. Don’t deceive yourself. It’s not right.”

He also made some borderline lewd comments about which anatomy he himself prefers but I will spare you those comments.

As a liberal, Pagan friend of the LGBT community, I am trying to be offended by these comments. I mean, that is what I’m supposed to do, right? I’m supposed to be offended by his opinion because it speaks directly against what I believe to be true. That’s how America works, right?

Not exactly.

See, I disagree whole heartily with Phil Robertson. I don’t think that homosexuality is a sin or an abomination. I don’t think it’s a choice and I certainly don’t think that the gay community can be blamed for the downfall of our nation. In fact, we have much bigger problems to worry about…like the greed and materialism creating a huge gap between the classes in our nation…but Robertson covered that, too, didn’t he?

There’s a fine line between bashing something and simply having an opinion about it. What Phil Robertson did, in my book, doesn’t constitute bashing. He was simply giving his opinion on things and he did so without using anti-gay slurs or insulting the gay community. He did it with scripture…The scripture he is referencing is 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 and it reads:

“Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.” (NIV)

Surprised that I just quoted the Bible? Well, I have had this discussion with my largely Christian and conservative family, many times. The main point that I make is that in order to condemn homosexuality, you must also condemn adulterers, the greedy, dunkards, slanderers, swindlers, ect. You can also argue against it by saying that since it wasn’t a teaching of Jesus Christ, it doesn’t “count” as a pentacle of Christian faith.

There are many more arguments against this scripture and the belief that Homosexuality is a sin…I’ve heard it all and said it all. At the end of the day, I just had to accept that some people in this world don’t accept homosexuality. I had to accept that it was okay for someone to have a difference in opinion which counters my own. I had to apply the tolerance I was preaching to the other side.

After all, when we’re protesting in the streets for gay rights, what are we actually fighting for? Are we fighting for the right to have our own opinions on it or are we fighting to change everybody else’s opinions? Because, if we choose the latter, how are we any different than the groups which have oppressed our voices for decades?

See, what I want for the world is equal rights. Now think for a moment about what equality really means. Equality does not mean that nobody will ever question your opinion…it does not mean that one group can shut down the opinions of another group simply because they don’t like it. It does not mean that we persecute Phil Robertson for expressing his faith in his own way.

So, while I disagree with him, I feel okay NOT hating him. I’m okay in letting him express his opinion, even if it makes me cringe a little. I’m sure the cast of Duck Dynasty won’t be inviting someone like me to set down at their dinner table anytime soon but I’m also sure that they don’t hate people like me, either. In fact, Robertson said he doesn’t hate people who are different than him. If he had said he hates gay people, this post would be an entirely different kind of post.

The fact of the matter is that he doesn’t hate gay people…and why are we focusing our anger toward him when we still have the folks of the Westboro Baptist Church running around?