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A Fight Turned Fatal After Two Men Got Into An Argument Over A Popeyes Chicken Sandwich

The craze for Popeyes Chicken sandwich just got ridiculous

Fans of chicken went mad earlier this summer when fast-food restaurant chain Popeyes Chicken launched its first-ever Chicken Sandwich. It didn’t take long for the greasy fried goodness to launch a wild haze of long lines, feuds about whether Chick-Fil-A did it better and a slew of shortages. The hype over the restaurant’s newly beloved chicken sandwich got real, real fast. But the restaurant’s recent re-release of the Chicken sandwich has many wondering if it’s really worth it? Particularly considering because recent news coverage of the new food item has been about life and death.

On Monday, a man at a  Maryland Popeyes was stabbed to death in what appears to have been an argument over the newly re-released Chicken Sandwich.

Police say that the 28-year-old-man who was stabbed to death outside of the restaurant around 7 p.m. on Monday evening had gotten into an encounter with another man over the sandwich. According to Prince George’s County Police spokeswoman Jennifer Donelan the stabbing occurred in Oxon Hill, Maryland — nearly 12 miles south of Washington D.C.– and occurred when one of the two men began to use the other of cutting in from of him in the line while waiting for the chicken sandwich.  

It didn’t take long for the argument to make a turn for the worse when it spilled outside of the packed restaurant and into its parking lot.

According to police, authorities were contacted to come to the scene around 7 p.m. local time. Soon after, the 28-year-old victim was taken to a local hospital and was pronounced dead a little around an hour later.

According to ABC News Donelan told reporters at a press conference Monday night that  “homicide detectives are hard at work on this one, but we have been able to determine preliminary that this is related to the release of the sandwich here at this restaurant.” The spokesperson went onto remark that “to get that angry over anything and to develop into this type of violence, again, is a very sad and tragic day.”  

In response to the stabbing, Popeyes released a statement to ABC News saying that it was “very sad to hear about the tragedy.” 

“We do not yet know whether this was the result of a dispute over one of our products or something unrelated, but there is no reason for someone to lose their life on a Monday night in a parking lot,” the spokesperson told ABC. “Our thoughts are with the victim’s family and friends and we are fully cooperating with local authorities.”

Sadly, it’s not the first time the simple food item on the Popeye’s menu has caused problems.

During the sandwich’s original release in August and September, a group of people stormed a Popeyes in Houston Texan with a gun over sold-out chicken sandwiches. At the time, police reported that a group of people rushed a Popeyes with a gun after they had been told at the drive-thru window the restaurant was out of the popular sandwich. 

According to a statement released by the Houston Chronicle, Houston police Lt. Larry Crowson told the outlet at the time that “When the manager told [the customers that the restaurant was] out, one of the males became upset and pulled a pistol and demanded a chicken sandwich. The manager again informed them they were out of sandwiches.” 

At the time, employees at the restaurant were able to lock the doors of the store before the attackers were able to get inside. 

In a separate incident, a man from Tennessee sued Popeyes for “false advertising” of the chicken sandwich because they had failed to restock the sandwich.

Reports that Popeyes has increased employee demand has also been born from the frenzy around the sandwich. Debate about the treatment of workers has also arisen as an issue. 

While there has been plenty of comedic content around the Chicken Sandwich Wars, an image of a tired Popeyes worker pointed out the very human aspect of this capitalistic push when the sandwich first came out. While Popeye’s makes bank off of the mania surrounding their new sandwiches, their employees are facing an increase in labor without increased financial compensation. 

The hourly pay rate at Popeye’s ranges, on average, from $7.29 to $12.33 an hour depending on state minimum wage. With all the free online hype that Black Twitter has given this sandwich, Popeye’s has received about $23 Million in free press. Obviously, the chicken chain has benefitted financially from this exchange but has made no move to compensate the workers who are making it possible. The unfair division of work and profit is very obvious and is nothing to joke about. 

Twitter wasn’t feeling this call to meme-ify the exhausted employee pic.   

TWITTER / @DANAVIVIANWHITE

Twitter user @DanaVivianWhite summed up exactly why this attempt to meme this situation is in such poor taste. As her tweet suggests, this worker likely spends a whole 8-hour shift on her feet without the benefits of vacation time or even a livable wage. The instinct to dehumanize her pain and turn it into a mock-able Internet moment is a grossly inappropriate one and it shows the lack of sensitivity that people have towards service workers and the suffering of Black women in particular.  

Other users pointed out the irony of this image circulating on the Internet during Black Women’s Equal Pay Day. 

TWITTER / @PORTIA_BARTLEY

The exhausted female worker meme came into being around the same time as Black Women’s Equal Pay Day — a day when we reflect on the wide wage gap that Black women face. Other than Latinas, Black women are the most unequally paid group. It takes an additional 8 months for the pay that Black women receive to equal what their male counterparts make in a year. For this meme to be introduced to the Internet on the same day as Black Women’s Equal Pay Day is not only shameful, it’s completely insensitive to the struggles of these women.  Instead of making this woman into a meme, energy should be put into helping her and treating her like a human being.

TWITTER / @DANAVIVIANWHITE

Sometimes it’s easy to forget that the people we see on the Internet are real and are experiencing real pain. They are entitled to compassion and respect — especially this woman. Instead of making her exhaustion and labor into a joke, we should use it as a motivator to fight for greater wages and benefits for overworked employees. This picture is not meme material but it should be shared as a reminder that these employees deserve much more than they are getting.

This woman isn’t the only one to feel the exhaustion of the demands being put on Popeye’s workers.  

TWITTER / @WHYSLEXMAD

Service workers are some of the most disrespected employees and Popeye’s employees are getting an extra serving of abuse from frustrated customers. Abusing overworked, underpaid food workers is disgraceful. It is not their job to take the disrespect of their customers. No one is paid enough to deal with this. 

These employees don’t have options. Often, they aren’t able to look for another job if they are unhappy with their current one. Workers like the exhausted woman are stuck in their situation but it is one that they don’t deserve. We don’t have to make it worse by denying their pain and turning their suffering into entertainment.  The new Popeye’s sandwich might be delicious but it’s not worth the human struggles. If the chicken chain doesn’t soon find a way to compensate their workers for their labor, they will see a backlash from employees and concerned customers and they will lose the Chicken Sandwich Wars. 

Geesh Louise guys, I never thought I had to say this but stop the violence. It’s just a sandwich.

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