10 Reasons to Boycott Taco Bell

by Gidget Thursday, Nov. 29, 2001 at 11:00 AM

Article from Southern California Latino website on Taco Bell Boycott Campaign

errorView online version at www.latinola.com/tacobell.html

Yo No Quiero Taco Bell

Ten reasons why you should join the boycott

by Gustavo Arellano - Web Published 11.27.2001 -

Here are the ten reasons why you should join the national boycott against Taco Bell organized by the Coalition of Immolakee Workers (CIW) in order to expose Taco Bell and its nefarious ways:

1. The food sucks.

Something about the sterility in which Taco Bell prepares its food frightens me. Good Mexican food must be prepared in a suitably unsanitary environment. The best example is the chorizo my aunt's family prepares every Christmas by killing the pig in the backyard of her house with a rusty knife, flies swarming towards the still-warm tripas and the bucket of blood kept to the side being saved to make untold delights. At Taco Bell, all meat products taste like the cellophane wrapper in which their culinary conduit comes wrapped in. I don't think Taco Bell knows that chorizo comes from pigs or even what chorizo is.

2. Dipsy, the Taco Bell Chihuahua.

If you don't think that Dipsy was a stereotype on the magnitude of the Frito Bandido and an affront to all Latinos, can you show me your steenkin' badge that says you're a cultural tonto?

3. Taco Bell exploits its restaurant employees.

Taco Bell employees earn minimum wage, receive next to nothing in benefits, work ridiculous hours and wear dorky uniforms. Many of its restaurant workers are teenagers who are working their first job but a growing number of Taco Bell's work force are immigrants who must raise families off of the meager wages that Taco Bell pays them. Taco Bell's work record is terrible: it recently agreed to pay $9 million to settle a class-action lawsuit alleging that it cheated thousands of California employees out of overtime pay. For a company that posted sales of $5.2 billion in 1999, this is inexcusable.

4. No, really: the food is bad.

The first time I sunk my mouth into one of their gorditas, I nearly drowned in the grease that came gushing out of it. And don't get me started on their "churros", which approximate the taste of wet wood.

5. Taco Bell is based in Dante's 10th circle, Irvine.

The Taco Bell corporate headquarters are located in a large glass building in Irvine, a city that houses Satan in one of its countless corporate towers. The lobby at the headquarters is meant to look like an authentic counter-- sans the exploited workers, of course.

6. Taco Bell refuses to take responsibility for its Florida tomato growers, who treat tomato pickers slightly better than prisoners (and in the "Old Sparky State", that's saying something).

For the past 20 years, Taco Bell's major tomato grower in Florida (6 L's Packing Co.) has paid its tomato pickers (who are mostly Mexican, Mayan, and Haitian men and women) the same wages: 40 cents per 32-pound bucket of tomatoes picked. This averages out to around $7,500 A YEAR. On top of this, the workers receive no health insurance, pension, paid holidays or vacation, or even sick leave. Nor do they have the right to unionize. In order to achieve some sort of financial relief, the CIW has asked Taco Bell to pay a penny more for every pound of tomatoes that it buys from 6 L's and have that penny pass directly to the workers' pockets. This would double workers salaries to about $14,500 a year--still below the poverty line but at least a step in the right direction. Taco Bell has refused to even meet with the workers, claiming that it has no responsibility towards the individuals that pick the tomatoes that fill their reprehensible chalupas.

7. Taco Bell is part of a faceless corporation.

Taco Bell is owned by TriCon Global, which also owns Pizza Hut and Kentucky Fried Chicken (now known as KFC because -- if you believe the urban legend -- they no longer use chickens but some genetic mutant with no head that tastes like chicken), and is the world's largest restaurant system in terms of units. Everyone knows that faceless corporations are bad -- unless you live in Irvine.

8. Even when helping out the community, Taco Bell insists on corporatizing it.

Taco Bell sponsors a "Taco Bell Discovery Science Center" in Santa Ana, which has an exhibit titled "How to Brainwash Kids into Eating Imitation Ethnic Food" (ask Taco Bell President Emil Brolick where it is: 949-863-4500). Taco Bell has also set up a non-profit foundation that supports a joint program with the Boy's and Girl's Club of America. Its name? TEENSupreme. Can I have a medium soda with that, hold the commercialism?

9. Boycotting Taco Bell would force people who enjoy Taco Bell food (may God have mercy on their palate) to eat Mexican food.

Taco Bell does a great disservice to the most delicious food on the planet by offering a pale imitation of it. Boycotting Taco Bell allows us connoisseurs of fine Mexican cuisine to start propping up our favorite joints as real places to eat Mexican food.

10. I mean it: the food is HORRIBLE!

I once ate a burrito that I swear was made of a tortilla composed primarily of recycled paper. And I tried to eat a taco once, but its genetically modified shell tried to bite off my nose.