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Apr 08 2013

Christian hypocrisy and profiteering at Oklahoma Joe’s

It’s very common for restaurants to partner with local causes, declaring a special night where some percentage of the profit from the evening will be kicked back into the charity. It seems like every week I’m getting an email from some university organization teaming up with Pizza Hut or Pizza Ranch or some place — it’s a good deal for everyone involved, because the restaurant gets extra business, the organization gets a few dollars, participants get food.

So Camp Quest Oklahoma teamed up with Oklahoma Joe’s Bar-B-Cue and hosted a night where 10% of the receipt would support Camp Quest.

Except…

At the very last minute, the restaurant announced that they were a Christian business and refused to honor the deal. After all the promotion was done, they reneged on the 10% deal.

The owner/asshole generously offered to allow all the incoming atheists to spend their money at his goddamned business, but wasn’t going to honor the agreement to donate part of it to the cause. They benefit from the advertising, obviously, but got out of any payout — pure profit at the expense of the heathens.

Hemant is asking everyone to donate to Camp Quest Oklahoma to compensate. But then, he’s nicer than I am.

Allow me to mention Oklahoma Joe’s review pages on Yelp and TripAdvisor and Urban Spoon. I think it is only just that everyone warn other atheists and freethinkers of the unfriendly and bigoted atmosphere of this parasite’s restaurant. I wouldn’t want to make the mistake of going there if I were in town, and I’m sure other atheists would appreciate the information.

Donating to Camp Quest Oklahoma would also be nice.


JT is also promoting a little punitive internet justice.

46 comments

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  1. 1
    Cuttlefish

    Remember Chick-fil-a… atheists being against X may very well lead to long lines of people in favor of X. But at least they’ll know they are lining up with the intolerant assholes.

    So there’s that.

  2. 2
    yubal

    Parasitic behavior indeed.

    But at least a worm has a good excuse for its actions. Isn’t there a way to sue that guy to cover at least the cost for the promotion?

  3. 3
    sadunlap

    Just an FYI: Tripadvisor’s terms of use prohibit spam or anyone who has not had a first-hand experience from writing a review. Although I’m not sure how one would get caught, if we’re going to have a problem with dishonesty …

    Anyone who actually got duped is another story.

  4. 4
    TxSkeptic

    It appears that the Yelp users are responding appropriately.

    Oklahoma Joe’s BBQ on Yelp

  5. 5
    knut7777

    I suggested in my review that this was unethical business behavior, and that this business should not be patronized, nor should honest businesspeople deal with a man capable of such actions.

  6. 6
    TxSkeptic

    #3 sadunlap

    Good heads up, ’cause we know from the Reddit co-founder Aaron Swartz story that violating terms of service agreements can be considered by the DOJ as cyber terrorism.

    What kind of Orwellian world have we allowed to be created by the post-9/11 hysteria?

  7. 7
    unalienablebytes

    IANAL, but isn’t this actionable? It seems like this would be a breach of contract.

  8. 8
    carlie

    They will now complain that atheists are performing a “witch hunt” against them, and they are being persecuted JUST LIKE THE JEWS, and etc. and etc. Yes, these are the same people whose actions were specifically to boycott something they didn’t like, but it’s ok when they do it. It’s persecution when it’s done to them.

  9. 9
    Jadehawk

    IANAL, but isn’t this actionable? It seems like this would be a breach of contract.

    I was thinking along the same lines. How formal are these partnership agreements usually? Was there anything that could be regarded as a contract that would be actually worth pursuing legally?

  10. 10
    Ben

    Camp Quest Oklahoma should at least speak with an attorney about pursuing legal action against Oklahoma Joe’s Bar-B-Cue. Many times, charitable pledges are exempt from the typical legal requirement of consideration in order to enforce a promise.

    http://info.legalzoom.com/nonprofit-pledges-legally-binding-24227.html

    An alternative theory on which to pursue a remedy without consideration is that of promissory estoppel. By allowing their name to be put on the fliers, Camp Quest reasonably relied on the promise to their detriment, as they directed those interested in donating to them to attend a restaurant that had no interest in following through with their promise to donate to them, when they could have instead chosen a different establishment who would follow through. The patrons also reasonably relied on the flier in selecting a restaurant in the false belief that Oklahoma Joe’s would be donating to their desired cause.

    http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/promissory+estoppel

    A third theory on which Camp Quest could seek relief is the doctrine of unjust enrichment. As P.Z. noted, Oklahoma Joe’s obtained the benefit from their false promise, and they would be unjustly enriched if they were not obligated to follow through on their part of the promise.

    http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/unjust+enrichment

    Of course, all of this pre-supposes that there was no formal written or oral contract, in which case this would be an open-and-shut cause of action.

  11. 11
    Rob

    Worth noting that Yelp’s automated review filtering has kicked in and is binning many of the negative reviews (17 ‘Quest’ related reviews filtered at this time – and growing by the minute).

    Shameful behaviour from Oklahoma Joe’s

  12. 12
    SC (Salty Current), OM

    It seems like every week I’m getting an email from some university organization teaming up with Pizza Hut or Pizza Ranch or some place

    So Camp Quest Oklahoma teamed up with Oklahoma Joe’s Bar-B-Cue

    Hemant is asking everyone to donate to Camp Quest Oklahoma to compensate.

    And you should all be ashamed.

  13. 13
    Jadehawk

    huh?

  14. 14
    Jadehawk

    oh, nevermind. I get it.

  15. 15
    Alverant

    Ugh, such disgusting behavior on the part of Joes. It reminds me of something that happened at work a few weeks ago. One of the guys in my department was selling snacks for his son’s school. I agreed to buy a package of jelly candies at $7. Then later I found out it was a christian school. But I still paid the money because I entered into an agreement and I believe that when it comes down to it, society depends on people keeping their word. I could have been a jerk and said, “No, it’s against my beliefs to help a christian school.” but I didn’t. I’m not going to buy it again if he asks in the future now that I know about it.

    I still haven’t gotten my damn candy yet.

  16. 16
    Rob

    I still haven’t gotten my damn candy yet.

    Maybe he feels he doesn’t have to honour the contract with a non-believer?

  17. 17
    rorschach

    By all means check if there was some breach of contract. But this whole boycott and downvoting business seems awfully petty.

  18. 18
    WMDKitty -- Survivor

    At the very last minute, the restaurant announced that they were a Christian business and refused to honor the deal. After all the promotion was done, they reneged on the 10% deal.

    It wasn’t even last minute — the restaurant announced this over an hour into the event.

  19. 19
    DrVanNostrand

    But this whole boycott and downvoting business seems awfully petty.

    I’m not sure how it’s “petty” to stop giving business to a restaurant and give it poor reviews because of shitty, unethical service.

  20. 20
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    rorschach:

    By all means check if there was some breach of contract. But this whole boycott and downvoting business seems awfully petty.

    Boycotting a company because it is bigoted is petty?
    Nice to know how queers and their allies *should* have dealt with Chick Fil A.
    But I guess when you’re not directly affected by the bigotry, or you flat out don’t care, that’s the proper answer.

  21. 21
    anuran

    If they had a formal agreement it’s actionable

  22. 22
    glodson

    It is astounding that they thought they could get away with this. Canceling the event an hour into it and trying to pocket the money.

    Yea, I believe someone should contact a lawyer.

  23. 23
    Crissa

    Isn’t it also false advertising?

    It’s usually easy to get out of something by saying it was a typo or apologizing, but this wasn’t a case of that: This was an owner interrupting after they got all the cash.

  24. 24
    unclefrogy

    you know it does not make sense to me all the cases with similar actions on the part of the business owners. They are I am sure all self professed conservatives, vote republican and everything. They would argue with you for hours and probably get pretty steamed up defending capitalism as the best system of all. Then they will do some thing like this and refuse the money always sounds a little anti-business to me. It does not sound like they really advocate a free market type of capitalism at all.

    uncle frogy

  25. 25
    Ariaflame, BSc, BF, PhD

    Oh they didn’t refuse the money unclefrogy, they’re the ones refusing to hand over the money they had agreed to.

  26. 26
    unbound

    As some others mentioned, this is very likely a case in which something can be done legally against the place as breach of contract. Having run a few of these myself with a some local businesses, there should be at least an e-mail (sometimes it is a one sheet document) that Camp Quest got explaining how it works with the restaurant which is proof of the contract.

  27. 27
    carlie

    I would think at a minimum they’d have to hand over the money earned for the fundraiser during that hour. Those people would not have been there to eat otherwise, and the change happened after they had already ordered and most probably eaten, thereby committing themselves to paying for the food. They literally took money under false pretenses.

  28. 28
    carlie

    …because I’m pretty sure you can’t say you’re collecting money for a charity and then not give the money to that charity.

  29. 29
    richardelguru

    Hee! Hee!! Take a look at the rating trend.

    Can you say ‘Nose dive’?

  30. 30
    lordshipmayhem

    As has been noted, this Oklahoma Joe’s is not the same as the one in Kansas City – they’ve disavowed any and all connection and indeed decry their fellow restaurateur’s actions.

    Plus, I’m being told that this is not only breach of contract, this is discrimination on the basis of religion, which for public venues like restaurants is illegal both at the state and Federal level.

  31. 31
    Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :)

    By all means check if there was some breach of contract. But this whole boycott and downvoting business seems awfully petty.

    For what amounts to attempted to attempted robbery by fraud? (Seriously, the business was initially going to just keep ALL the donations for itself).

    Can someone explain this obsessive discomfort some people have with there being consequences for people doing bad things?

  32. 32
    Worldtraveller

    I am not a lawyer, but I do play one on the internets.

    I don’t think CQ has a real basis for a discrimination suit, since they weren’t actually kicked out or denied service based on their religious beliefs. The breach of contract issue might have more standing, though, unless OK Joe’s wants to claim that CQ just had all those fliers made up with their name on it, and didn’t approve it. If anyone in CQ has something with a signature on it, or can get a signed and notarized statement from the print shop that the flyers were approved by the owner of OK Joe’s, then they might have a case. I think CQ would still have to prove some loss of donations or something…I’m not sure what punitive damages might apply.

  33. 33
    Jeremy Shaffer

    Azkyroth at 31:

    Can someone explain this obsessive discomfort some people have with there being consequences for people doing bad things?

    In my experience it’s usually because they don’t being called out for their own behavior when they do something similar or just as bad. I doubt that’s the situation with the poster quoted (they may just be an asshole) but that’s what it seems like in general.

  34. 34
    Gael Murphy

    Is there a reason that the restaurant owner did not know that the camp was for atheists? Was he informed about what the camp is before signing the agreement? Anyway, maybe promoting a pig killing operation to fund an atheist charity is not such a charitable idea. Killing for charity? Your life is no more important to you, than the life of a pig is to her. Are ethics just “might is right”? Or did a god create you in his image?

  35. 35
    Lars

    For a god to create anything in any image, said god would have to exist. Evidence suggests … (you can fill out the rest yourself, if you’re able).

    As for the rest of your red herring, fuck you very much.

  36. 36
    Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :)

    Not this shit again…

    Is there a reason that the restaurant owner did not know that the camp was for atheists? Was he informed about what the camp is before signing the agreement?

    1. Camp Quest is completely open about their mission, values, and target audience. They don’t usually use the word “atheist” specifically but they explicitly state they are a secular organization that promotes freethought and humanism.
    2. What makes you think he’s telling the truth about not knowing?

    Anyway, maybe promoting a pig killing operation to fund an atheist charity is not such a charitable idea. Killing for charity?

    Food for charity, dipshit. I don’t see you heckling anyone else for partnering with meat-serving restaurants for fundraisers…

    Your life is no more important to you, than the life of a pig is to her

    Hey, just because you don’t have any more self-awareness or intelligence than a farm animal doesn’t mean the rest of us don’t.

    Are ethics just “might is right”? Or did a god create you in his image?

    Point the first: it’s one of the options you’re pretending don’t exist, you dishonest little shit.

    Point the second: If there was a god, using its will as a source for ethics would be the ultimate case of “might makes right” This stupid argument actually made me laugh out loud the first time I heard it.

  37. 37
    rorschach

    Shaffer @33,

    I doubt that’s the situation with the poster quoted (they may just be an asshole)

    LOL, of course, because disagreeing on something makes one an asshole by default. Next up, some fuckmuffin will suggest that SC and I may as well join the slymepit, since we dare to disagree with PZ.

    If there is a god, please save me from skeptical minds like that of Shaffer and Azkyroth.

  38. 38
    tbp1

    Of course, IANAL, but I can’t imagine a business could be required to do a fund-raiser for any organization, whether they approve of their mission or not. Otherwise they could just be commandeered by any group that wanted to raise some money, and essentially have their money confiscated. Private businesses are perfectly free to use whatever criteria they want in choosing who to donate to, and this strikes me as essentially the same thing, just another way of contributing to a charity or other cause. If they had just said no in the first place, I think that would have been their right, and they wouldn’t owe anyone any explanation.

    That said, once an agreement is reached, it should be honored. It certainly seems that the business had ample opportunity to vet the proposal before accepting it. If they didn’t know what “free thought” and “humanism” meant, they had plenty of time to look them up before unilaterally reneging on the arrangement at the last minute. I’m not a mind-reader, but someone might conclude that they did it that way on purpose, so as to stick it to those atheist types.

    While it might be actionable, I doubt it would be worth the time, money, and hassle to do so (not my call, of course), which is too bad, really as that is exactly how jerks so often get away with stuff like this.

  39. 39
    unclefrogy

    here is some of my thoughts on this one.
    these kinds of fund raisers are not completely a contribution by the business because what they get out of it is hopefully an increase above their regular business from the fund raiser for which they give a small discount to the participants, they also receive some additional free advertising from the organizers and hopefully some new first time patrons a % of which might return to pay full price. That is how it works in a free market system.
    I will take it that it happened like it was said and they did cancel after they had already been running it for an hour because they realized that it was atheists and not the Unitarians or the democrats because they are stupid and or lazy and did not know. They are also automatically first reaction dishonest and did not want to give the discount in cash to the organizers but after some argument gave it back to the participants to donate directly.
    There is nothing in there behavior that is consistent with a free market as I understand it but their own prejudices and greed are very much in evidence.
    I have heard of many stories like this where right wing christian businesses act in none free market ways. It sounds to me like they really do not like free markets at all same thing goes for all bigots. Bigotry and prejudice are anathema to free markets
    where the market place becomes just another means of control and coercion. and not a source of prosperity.
    and they all vote republican?
    uncle frogy

  40. 40
    Lars

    before unilaterally reneging on the arrangement at the last minute

    An hour after the last minute, it seems.

  41. 41
    redmann

    Gael Murphy
    So killing chickens is OK when its for good Christians?

  42. 42
    Samantha Vimes

    I suggest anyone who ate there at the time bring the fraudsters a photocopy of their receipt and demand 10% be refunded to them, as they spend there with the assumption the owner would be honoring his agreement.

  43. 43
    Lofty

    This is probably as good a place as any to drop this item. A florist, the proprietor of Arlene’s Flowers & Gifts, who refuses to provide flowers for a gay marriage is being sued by the State attorney general for breaching equal opportunity laws..

  44. 44
    Thumper: Who Presents Boxes Which Are Not Opened

    How exactly did Gael Murphy manage to turn this into an opportunity to lecture omnivores?

  45. 45
    Jeremy Shaffer

    roschach at 37:

    LOL, of course, because disagreeing on something makes one an asshole by default. Next up, some fuckmuffin will suggest that SC and I may as well join the slymepit, since we dare to disagree with PZ.

    If there is a god, please save me from skeptical minds like that of Shaffer and Azkyroth.

    It isn’t your disagreement with anyone that might place you in asshole territory; it’s your classifying calls to hold people accountable for their dishonest (and possibly fraudlent and actionable) behavior as “petty” that places you there.

  46. 46
    firebirddp

    Looks like they made their own martyrdom day. https://www.facebook.com/pages/Support-Oklahoma-Joes-Broken-Arrow-OK-Day/517967071583122

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