Freud Chicken

Fried-Chicken-LegJeb Bush said at a recent town hall, ‘Universities ought to have skin in the game. … When a student shows up, they ought to say, ‘Hey, that psych major deal … that’s great … but realize you’re going to be working at Chick-fil-A.’
— Slate, 10/29/15

“Welcome to Chick-fill-U, how can I help you?”

“I’d like a chicken sandwich, nothing on it.”

“Do you often find that you’re denying yourself little pleasures?”

“Excuse me?”

“Were you deprived as a child?  Did your parents withhold affection, or make their love contingent on good behavior?”

“I just want a chicken sandwich.”

“No one just wants a chicken sandwich.  You also want approval and unconditional love.  You can have pickles on your chicken sandwich.  It’s okay.  I will still love you.”

“Can I just pay for my sandwich?”

“No, you can’t, because human relationships are not just transactional.  There are feelings involved, and we have to respect those feelings.”


“Welcome to Chick-fill-U, can I ask what brought you in to see us today?”

“I’d like a double chicken sandwich, an order of fries, a cup of soup, and a mint chip milkshake.”

“Are you eating to cope with uncomfortable emotions?”


“Sometimes we turn to food in times of stress or anxiety, or even boredom, because it’s easier to soothe ourselves with calories than by truly addressing the issues underneath.”

“I’m just hungry, sorry.”

“There’s nothing to be sorry about.  Do you often find yourself apologizing needlessly?  Do you struggle with your self-esteem?”

“I really just want my food, if that’s okay.”

“There you go, minimizing your wants, asking for permission.  Sometimes we have to take control.  You can have your food, but I want you to practice being more assertive with strangers, and you should come back to see me again in a week.  Here is your milkshake.”


“Welcome to Chick-fill-U, would you like to eat at a table, or on one of our new couches?”

“I’ll just take two chicken sandwiches to go, and two Little Clucker kids meals.  And if I could get that as quickly as possible, that would be great — my kids are in the car.”

“Is parenting overwhelming sometimes?”

“Um, sure.  But can you please put the order in?”

“Let’s talk about you, not me.  Do you feel you communicate effectively with your children, or is that an area where you could improve?”

“We communicate fine.  But they’re hungry.”

“Hungry for food?  Or are they actually hungry for love?”

“They’re hungry for food.”

“That’s often what we think, but if we stop and analyze the situation–”

“Please give me my order.”

“Okay, but before I see you again, ask yourself next time — are my children asking for chicken, or are they really asking for me?”

“It’s 6:45.  They’re asking for chicken.”

“Maybe.  But we can’t always be too sure.”


“Welcome to Chick-fill-U, do you have an appointment?”

“An appointment?  No, I’ve just been waiting on line.  I’d like a chicken sandwich and a lemonade.”

“I’m sorry, we only have walk-in hours on Tuesdays.”

“I just want a chicken sandwich.”

“I’m also going to need pre-approval from your insurance company or I’m going to need payment at the time of service.”

“I’m happy to pay.  I just want some food.”

“Okay, a chicken sandwich and a lemonade, that’ll be $138.75.”

“The menu says $5.50.”

“That’s only if it’s covered by insurance.  If you self-pay, I have to charge the full rate.  I’m sorry.”

“Can I get a different cashier?”

“Actually, I’m the only one who’s currently taking new customers.  But I can refer you to someone at a different location.”

“I’ll just go to Burger King.”

“Good luck.  And remember, if you’re feeling desperate, please reach out for help.”

“Not desperate, just hungry.”

“That’s what they all say.”


“Welcome to Chick-fill-U, were you abused as a child?”

“I just want an order of 12 chicken nibblers.”

“That’s never all we want.  If you can come back in an hour, I can fit you in.”

Jeremy Blachman is the author of Anonymous Lawyer and the co-author (with Cameron Stracher) of the upcoming novel The Curve (Ankerwycke, June 2016).