Tuesday, September 7, 2010

An Open Letter to J.P. Licks

Dear J.P. Licks:

Let's get a few things out of the way before getting to my complaint. To begin with, I love your ice cream and I love the fact that your company originated in Boston. To be able to sate my appetite for great ice cream while supporting a local business is, in my opinion, a beautiful thing. When Coldstone Creamery opened up across the street from your store in Newton Centre I made it a point to go to your store and told my friends to do the same in order to support your business. In other words, I am a loyal J.P. Licks customer.

Which is why what I saw in your Newton Centre store last night was so disheartening. The line was, as usual, out the door (you can't keep a lid on great ice cream). While I was waiting for some Coffee Oreo I noticed one of your employees (I will not describe this person because I do not want to get her/him in trouble; that is not the point of this letter) excitedly take a picture of someone's shirt. Having drawn attention to said item of clothing, I was curious as to what was on it. You can imagine my dismay when it turned out to be an Irish Republican Army shirt, with a graphic of an AK-47 emblazoned across the front.

I immediately became angry. Whether or not you agree with the IRA's political views (Britain's history on the Emerald Isle is nothing to aspire to) any individual with a modicum of morality understands that wanton violence along religious lines is, in a word, wrong. The Troubles in Ireland were a horrendous time in the nation's history, with atrocities being committed by the IRA and Loyalists alike. Summarily, no side in the Troubles can claim the moral high ground.

I would not be writing this letter if a confluence of events did not happen. The first of which was the taking of the photograph of this man's shirt. The second event was the fact that said employee treated me and my girlfriend rudely when we came to order. Alone this would be unacceptable, but the fact that this employee had seemingly supported such a morally depraved organization as the IRA and then treated me in this manner is what prompted this letter. Perhaps if I had worn my Muammar Al-Gaddafi shirt I would have received better service.

You will be happy to know that this incident will not preclude me from eating J.P. Licks in the future. I will continue to patronize your establishments. I just wanted to make you aware of this situation and I hope it will prevent something like this from happening in the future. To see an employee wearing the J.P. Licks uniform excitedly take a picture of a shirt supporting a violent organization responsible for civilian deaths in such a dark time for Ireland left a bad taste in my mouth, despite your array of delicious ice cream.

Matt Kane

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