It was all over the internet, and by "internet," I mean Facebook. You saw it. Everybody saw it. Guido Barilla, the 55-year-old chairman of the Barilla Pasta Company, one of the largest pasta manufacturers in the world, gave an interview on the Italian radio show La Zanzara. During the interview, Mr. Barilla, placed his semolina-encrusted foot in his mouth, and stated, "We won’t include gays in our ads, because we like the traditional family. If gays don’t like it, they can always eat another brand of pasta."
Holy shit, Mr. Barilla! Did you celebrate this narrow-minded proclamation by treating yourself to lunch at Chick-fil-A?
My wife numbered herself among those offended nationwide. Even though the Barilla Company exercised a little (very little) damage control by tweeting this message late in the day:
it was too late. Mrs. Pincus was incensed. She ransacked our kitchen cupboard searching for boxes of the insular pasta. Shoving several cans of soup aside, she extracted a single box of rotini emblazoned with the Barilla name. She then called her mother and explained Mr. Barilla's newly-revealed agenda. Mrs. P said she was coming over to take all of their Barilla products back to the supermarket. My wife was livid and on a mission.
Minutes later, we were raiding my in-laws' pantry. We succeeded in finding four boxes of the bigoted noodles. We headed out to our local Acme Market to take a stand.
We parked our car and stomped across the lot with a vengeance, a plastic shopping bag of Barilla pasta in hand. We burst through the doors and beat a path straight to the Customer Service area. Mrs. P was ready to give an earful when asked "Reason for return?" She planned to launch into a tirade about equal rights, human decency, prejudice, poor business practices, alienating customers, antiquated beliefs and anything else she could think of.
However, this evening's customer service was being offered by a disinterested young lady who was absent-mindedly poking at the lottery machine. As my wife approached, the young lady looked up with heavy-lidded eyes and asked, "Can I help you?" Forming the words seemed like an effort.
Mrs. P sunk. Her proposed lecture crumbled, stifled before it began. The young lady obviously didn't give a shit. About anything. My wife pushed the five boxes of pasta in the young lady's direction and said "I'd like to return these." And the conversation ground to an abrupt halt. The young lady scanned the items one-by-one and silently issued us a store credit for five dollars.
As we left the store, a dejected Mrs. P turned to me and said, "I guess they don't have a separate line for politically-charged returns."