The Domino Effect.

October 25th, 2005

Many, many years ago, I stopped going to Domino’s Pizza. I can’t remember when it actually was. I want to say it was when I was still in high school but that was so long ago I barely remember that as well. Basically, it was brought to light that Domino’s was indeed run by a right-winged, crazed evangelical Christian. I don’t remember exactly what the CEO was accused of, all I know is folks where I came from referred to them as Evil. So I stopped going.

It’s 2005 and I still don’t go to Domino’s not because I’m an activist against their pizza-making empire, but because I’d basically written them off and later forgotten about them. And the funny thing is, I know a fairly large number of folks around my same age who have fallen into the same practice.

What do you know about Domino’s?

They’re evil. Stay away. I heard it’s run by militant right-wingers.

Recently, a friend of mine was offered work and that work is somehow affiliated with the Domino’s Corporation. My first reaction was, “Don’t go there. I hear the CEO gave money to pro-life. They’re evil.”

It’s becoming more and more obvious that I can’t back this statement up nor do I have any idea what it is I’m talking about. Not only can I not back it up, but there are members of my family who are pro-life and I’m not about to boycott them. I love them. Toby Joe said the same thing to this person, “All I know is they are evil. But I don’t know why or how they are evil.”

That’s my question, dear Internet; Are they in fact this evil empire we’ve made them out to be? Or is this sort of like the college version of the adolescent-Pop-Rocks-and-Coke-will-blow-up-your-face phenomenon. That myth was easy to break. All you had to do was Double Dog Dare some poor bastard in the cafeteria and watch his face sit calmly on the top of his neck to prove that was indeed false. But this? This one is a tough one. And while I know I could “talk to Google” I also know I once lied about moving to LA. I once told the Internet I had a tail. I once saw someone get REALLY intimate with several Barbie dolls sans lubricant. Sometimes I don’t trust Google.

Is Domino’s Pizza indeed an evil empire out to feed more religious fanatics and crazy right-winged fundamentalist gun-wielding dirtbags, or are they just making pizza?

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34 Comments on “The Domino Effect.”

  1. katie said at 8:50 am on October 25th, 2005:

    I tend to go to Snopes to decide what to think (what, sheep? me?), and here’s what they have to say: the founder was a right-wing nut, but he sold off Domino’s in 1998.

  2. bagman said at 8:50 am on October 25th, 2005:

    When people say “Dominos is evil,” not that I’ve ever met such a person, I just assume they’re talking about the rubbery half-warm pizza.

  3. Fish said at 8:50 am on October 25th, 2005:

    You know, Michelle, that Dippin Dots are indeed a mind control tool of Kim Jong-il’s evil master plan. He’ll use you just like he used Alec Baldwin in Team America (F—k yeah!).

  4. Fish said at 8:50 am on October 25th, 2005:

    Darn, sorry I mis-spelled your name.

  5. mihow said at 8:50 am on October 25th, 2005:

    FISH IS THE NEW EVIL!

    dippin dots?

  6. mihow said at 8:50 am on October 25th, 2005:

    Katie, thanks for the link. I would say Snopes must know what they’re talking about, right?
    Is Domino’s Pizza any good? I haven’t had it in so long. I have, however, scarfed down many Papa John’s but that was because a roommate I had in college worked there. I used to practically drink their cheesy garlic dipping sauce.
    I wouldn’t dream of doing that. I bet every tablespoon is about 1000 calories.

  7. Amanda B. said at 8:50 am on October 25th, 2005:

    I think I may be quazi-evil because I let my lust for pizza outweigh my social conscience.

  8. michelechaves said at 8:50 am on October 25th, 2005:

    I think most of the corporate pizza empires are Republican leaning. The head of Domino’s supported Operation Rescue and I read somewhere that the GOP is trying to recruit him to run for office. Check this out, detailing some Republican support by various pizza companies. (http://www.aarlc.org/news/052803.shtml) It pretty much covers everyone - Domino’s, Papa John’s (sorry mihow!), Pizza Hut, etc. It’s just a fact, most big business owners are Republican - Republicans support business and the business supports them. That’s the way it works in this here democracy!

  9. mihow said at 8:50 am on October 25th, 2005:

    Michele, that’s OK. now that we’re city dwellers, I no longer visit the chains. Fortunately, we live near a massive Italian section in Brooklyn run by what look to be mafia satellites, so I get my pizza from them these days.

    I have another question, if you found out someone you knew worked for or did work for one of these companies, or that a place you frequent gave their moneys to one of these companies like Domino’s, would you hold them accountable for poor business practices? Would you possibly think twice about giving them your business?

    I remember when I worked for a design firm in DC. they prided themselves on being super liberal and kind. So when they took on a controversial client (one that wouldn’t jive with their other clients) they just left that name off the client list. Another place I worked with had two lists they would show different clients. I wonder if the client knew about the other client, one that was totally against all they cared about, would they have gone elsewhere for their work? My guess is yes. I sort of wish I worked for a company who cared about this sort of thing. Ah well.

  10. michelechaves said at 8:50 am on October 25th, 2005:

    There was a time when I would get really outraged by this stuff, but I’m not sure I made any points nor did it do anything to help make the world a better place. We can only really speak and act for ourselves. We can’t control what others do. That DC firm, and the people who made the decision to take the controversial client, have to live with their choice and the repercussions—the potential that it’ll get out, hurt their business, undermine their credibility, etc. Why they’d want to live with that I’m not sure. They must be gambling people or they just didn’t think it through.

    Which leads to this question… how many people really think about their beliefs and the lines they will and won’t cross—in business or in personal lives?? How do people justify choices that may be harmful or that may seem to contradict other choices? How many people truly think critically, morally or ethically about their choices?

  11. deekay said at 8:50 am on October 25th, 2005:

    It’s a sick, corrupt world. If you don’t live on an island and become self-sufficient, you’re probably supporting someone who contradicts your beliefs. Who’s to say that organic farmer isn’t hardcore right-wing?

  12. mihow said at 8:50 am on October 25th, 2005:

    Excellent point, Deekay.
    Michele, I want to add another question to the queue, if you (universal you) ran a mid-size business and a group such as the NRA or PETA (or a group you’re opposed to) came to you and offered __ dollar amount to redo their marketing campaign would you take the money and run? Or would you, in all honesty, draw the line? In a nutshell, what’s your absolute poison and/or how much does your morality cost?

  13. michelechaves said at 8:50 am on October 25th, 2005:

    I can only say that, in our business, we have turned down work we didn’t think was right for us. We also left a partnership situation because the person we were negotiating with was a conservative who held bible study in the office. But, I do work for a non-profit that is run by Republicans - they are an education policy organization and I don’t find their cause objectionable. (I’m not opposed to everything Republican, just most things!) I did think about. If they were the NRA, I think I would pass on the work. I really do. I’ve worked for clients I didn’t agree with when I worked for another firm and it left a bad taste in my mouth - I tried to reason with the owners, but some people can’t be reasoned with. The best we can do is to work for yourself or for like-minded people—and they do exist.

  14. Doug said at 8:50 am on October 25th, 2005:

    Depends on how you look at it:

    “His oft-stated and oft-ridiculed goal is to end up in heaven and help others get there, too. He has committed to spending what remains of his $1 billion fortune on philanthropic endeavors that will help reach that goal.”

    Or…

    “The school [Catholic law school he set up] has had astonishing success in that its first class of graduates (2003) achieved the highest bar passage rate in the state of Michigan (93%), and its second class (2004) had an almost unheard-of bar passage rate of 100%. Faculty members include noted conservative legal scholar and controversial Supreme Court nominee Judge Robert Bork. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia assisted in developing the school’s curiculum, and the school’s first annual Ave Maria Lecture was presented by Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas in 1999. The school’s stated goal is to educate competent moral attorneys who will influence all aspects of the legal profession and advance natural law theory.”

    So, the money you give him will probably go to a good cause. But… his idea of a good cause is training brilliant lawyers to grow up in the mould of Bork, Scalia and Clarence Thomas. Probably irrelevant anyway, ‘cause your few dollars will be just a drop in the ocean.

  15. Charlie said at 8:50 am on October 25th, 2005:

    I think in some ways we’re conflating a number of issues. I can see why someone may want to boycott a company like Domino’s, but where do you draw the line? As michele points out, almost any publicly held company is going to have significant owners/shareholders whose politics differ from yours, and who may make significant private donations to causes you disagree with. Where do you draw the line? With company execs? Execs and directors? Major shareholders? What about he execs and shareholders of large financial institutions that also have an ownership stake? The fact is, given the nature of capital, you can’t control how it flows after you put it into circulation. Why punish or impugn the character of a hard-working franchise owner because of the politics of another person (even if that person profits from his labors)? It seems to me that this smacks of knee-jerk partisan behavior. Now, boycotting a product or company that produces or profits from something objectionable (pornography, say, or bullets) or pollutes the environmnet or exploits its workers or conducts inhumane tests on animals seems far more reasonable and defensible.

    Curiously, when Kerry and I were expecting our first child, we took lessons in the Bradley Method of husband-coached natural childbirth. The only Bradley-certified instructor within 100 miles was a right-wing evangelical christian, and our group had a variety of social and political perspectives. From our instructor’s perspective, natural childbirth fit into her faith and world view as much as it did ours, and we paid for her insight into this method. Does this make us duplicitous or corrupt? I prefer to see that despite profound politcal and partisan differences we were able to benefit mutually from the relationship. After our family, our instructor was among the first people I called to announce Henry’s arrival.

  16. Amanda B. said at 8:50 am on October 25th, 2005:

    Hmmm. I can understand not wanting to contribute to an organization or business that may financially support an extremist cause. However, I’m a bit confused as to why you would boycott a private business based on the political preference of the owner. I mean, my father owns a company and is very right-wing-ed. He uses his money to pay his bills, buy sneakers, etc., not fund protests at abortion clinics. (not that he would ever do that anyway) Does that make sense?

  17. Amanda B. said at 8:50 am on October 25th, 2005:

    Whoops. When I say “you” I mean the collective “you” not you-Mihow. I love you-Mihow.

    It just wigs me out when I hear people refer to “Crazy Liberals” or “Right-Wing Nuts”. Sounds very racist-esque.

  18. michelechaves said at 8:50 am on October 25th, 2005:

    I totally agree with Charlie’s comments and Amanda B’s. I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the language the left uses to describe the right and the way that has contributed to the nasty state of politics and personal discourse today. I’m as guilty as anyone, but I’m rethinking the use of words like evil, in particular, to describe conservative or conservative ideology. They believe in their perspective just as much and as passionately as we do. Evil isn’t a group or even the ideology (in general terms)—evil is the actions and choices of some, and those can be right or left.

  19. mihow said at 8:50 am on October 25th, 2005:

    I know I used to the word “Evil” to start off this post and I do hope that by now most people can tell when I’m teasing (even though I can’t post tone of voice). In this particular instance, i tried really hard to sound over-the-top in order for folks to really know I was speaking hypothetically and not trying to attack someone or a group of someone directly. I know that right-wingers aren’t crazy and evil. Hell, my entire family aside from myself happen to be Republican voters and back GW Bush. I can’t help it if they are indeed evil. I love them just the same. ;]

    The initial reason I wrote is really to find out information for the friend I referred to. This is actually taking place and I really wanted to see how folks felt about such a thing.
    Had to clarify. I don’t find either side particularly evil, ignorance runs rampant on both, but to be evil, well, that takes a certain kind of person.

  20. mihow said at 8:50 am on October 25th, 2005:

    Wow, I speak good.
    (Must proof-read before posting.)

  21. Fish said at 8:50 am on October 25th, 2005:

    I love those mafia-front-pizza places in new york! They all have great big italian guys in cheezy sweatsuits and lots of bling behind the counter, and the display has like, one half-eaten calzone and 3/4 of a pizza in it.
    Almost makes me miss the Bronx. Almost.

  22. michelechaves said at 8:50 am on October 25th, 2005:

    So how does your friend feel about it? I’m curious to know the pros and cons he/she is wrestling with. Why would they feel apprehensive about it? It is pizza, right? Or is the the guns & ammo subsidiary? Is this friend afraid of losing credibility with left-minded friends?

  23. mihow said at 8:50 am on October 25th, 2005:

    Well, I think it’s a scenario where they/he/she has already made up their minds and have pretty much decided to turn it down. But he/she/they wanted to know that they weren’t alone with their thoughts regarding Domino’s past practices. When I was talking to the person about it, I realized my first reaction was “Just say no” but then I couldn’t back that up legitimately. And neither could Toby Joe. But it seems risky enough, even after the fact to turn it down just because someone else further on might judge them/he/she for saying yes to this particular corporation. I dunno if I’m making sense at all. I am being elusive because I kinda need to be. I hate it when I do that.

  24. Charlie said at 8:50 am on October 25th, 2005:

    Since when does working for a publicly held corporation as an employee (or even taking money by contracting one’s services to it) suggest a tacit acceptance of some other private individual’s politics? If someone finds delivering pizzas objectionable, then they should not work for a company that is dedicated to establishing pizza delivery franchises. It’s not like Domino’s ever printed propaganda on its pizza boxes or gave free pizzas to abortion protestors (I know I never saw the pro lifers chowing down on free grub when I was out defending clinics in Buffalo during Operation Rescue’s Spring of Life in the early 90’s). Moreover, turning down an otherwise attractive and appropriate job because one would think that a stint at Domino’s might look bad on a resume seems more foolish than idealistic, because in this case the motivation comes not from some misguided ethical conundrum (“i have a hard time helping a company contribute to the fattening of America”) but how that job would appear to someone else. Is the position REALLY “I can’t take this job because I fear my liberal bona fides may be called into question by some future employer”?

  25. bkgunner said at 8:50 am on October 25th, 2005:

    So I take it I’m the only person to immediately call up DPZ and order in after reading this post? Especially on Twofer Tuesday!

  26. bkgunner said at 8:50 am on October 25th, 2005:

    So I take it I’m the only person to immediately call up DPZ and order in after reading this post? Especially on Twofer Tuesday!

  27. Charlie said at 8:50 am on October 25th, 2005:

    It’s twofer tuesday? hmmmm … I’ll have to tell kerry.

  28. michelechaves said at 8:50 am on October 25th, 2005:

    Thanks for an interesting discussion today.

  29. Closet Metro said at 8:50 am on October 25th, 2005:

    I “mostly” boycott Dominoes (I won’t order from them, but if someone say’s “Hey, man, have a slice” I’ll eat it). I had heard that the founder or CEO or whatever had said that poor people could afford to eat if they just ate horse grade oats. In hindsight, I’m guessing that that statement was taken way out of context, but who knows if it was even said?

  30. mihow said at 8:50 am on October 25th, 2005:

    Horse Grade Oats? What the hell? Are you serious?
    I had a feeling this post would inspire some folks to eat pizza. Go, bkgunner.

  31. greg said at 8:50 am on October 25th, 2005:

    i always thought people hated dominos because it was a “corporate” pizza shop that had one up on the “poor little guy” pizza shop. all the other stuff was the justification to hate them because of the former. unfortunately around me, the local guy survived and domino’s closed its doors….who knows, i love dominos and i hate the local crap, their home-made sauces give me mouth ulcers and acid reflux…domino’s watered down great taste never did that to me….so that being said, they must have been evil because i was addicted to the fact that their pizza tasted good and didn’t cause me any discomfort….it truly must have been some sort of conspiracy…….hehehehehehehehe

  32. ginar said at 8:50 am on October 25th, 2005:

    Around here Domino’s is the local guy, but i don’t care for it much. We tend to eat DiGiorno.

  33. mihow said at 8:50 am on October 25th, 2005:

    Gina, what do you mean? Is it a franchise owner? Or do you mean someone actually used their name and makes their own recipe?
    Dan was saying last night that Domino’s makes the best pizza in London. Maybe I’ll try it again someday. Who knows.

  34. ginar said at 8:50 am on October 25th, 2005:

    The guy who started the Domino’s chain, Tom Monaghan, lives here in Michigan. His 1st store was in Ypsilanti (or somewhere nearby). He has this giant estate out that way called Domino’s Farm. Then there is the Ilitch family, founders of Little Ceaser’s and owner of the Detroit Tigers baseball team franchise. They also own many historic buildings downtown and have the nasty habit of razing them in favor of parking lots. Pizza millionaires suck.


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