Tuesday, October 18, 2011

A Desperate Plea- Stop Changing Things

We are pretty loyal to the places we shop, the restaurants we frequent and to the denomination I choose to serve in.  Brand loyalty is a big deal in the corporate world.   Once you have a loyal customer or consumer, you have to do a lot to push them away.  When humans find something we enjoy or like, we stick with it.  Even though change is in the very nature of creation, many of us like consistency.  I've heard stories of people driving hours to get their favorite Bar-B-Q.  Living in the Kansas City area, I am not surprised by that passion.  Brand loyalty goes beyond just agreeing to repurchase items from the same company.  Real brand loyalty drives people to share their experiences and invite others to be apart of their positive experience with the brand.
On the other side of that are the negative reactions that people have to certain brands.  Few people will share positive experiences (unless they are way over the top experiences) because we expect a positive experience with the things we like.  But, if you have a bad experience somewhere, you are more than likely to tell others about it.  No matter how many good experiences you've had, we will tell others "don't go to that restaurant, the service is awful".
One of my all time favorite places to eat is Wendy's.  I love their burgers.  For me, they are almost as good as a "gourmet" burger.  For fast food, I choose Wendy's.  We did not have a Wendy's in my hometown, so going to Wendy's was a big deal.  The toasted buns, the square, juicy hamburgers-Dave Thomas naming the company after his daughter.  The frosties are amazing.  The chili is awesome (I mean really, who else serves chili all year long?).  And the fries.  That is what I remember from my first few experiences at Wendy's (the burgers, fries, frosty, chili).
Since then, I have been a die hard, loyal customer.  Even during the bogus food scares in California (of which most don't remember).  I had chili the day some lady accused them of putting something disgusting in the chili, and the day afterward too.  Why?  I am loyal.
Lately though, my brand loyalty has been strained.  Why?
Change.
I never thought I would be someone who would gripe about change.  Most of us have a "roll with the punches" attitude, but a few things have me not as fired up to go to Wendy's these days.  Here are the things that have changed, or I miss at Wendy's.

5. The buffet from many years ago, where did those go?
4. What happened to Frescatta Sandwiches- those were amazing!
3. Baked potatoes with cheese/bacon- gone.
2. The pickles now taste exactly like the ones from Five Guys
1. They changed their fries ;0(

Those are just a few small things, but they add up to a few big things.  I now have to go elsewhere to get fries because the "new" sea salt fries are not my favorite anymore.  They are not dippable in the chili or frosty.  I love them less, which in Biblical Jesus terms is pretty bad.
See, I am a nut about Wendy's.

Hopefully by now you realize I am not just talking about Wendy's.  Change is life.  How we react and deal with those changes reveals the content and character of our hearts.  I'm sure that the changes in our lives are sometimes purposeful.  When we better understand the changes around us, we more easily accept them and sometimes become champions for change.

When change comes without warning, almost with an aggressive, haphazard or fumbled delivery, we shy away from the change.  Sometimes we end up on the other side against the change.  Most people in this world are reasonable, and if spoken to in a manner of respect and love, they will hear out why changes are being made.  They are may not agree with the changes, but they will go along with them because they were respected enough to be considered.

The #1 reason most people will walk into a new church is not because of word of mouth, or they thought the website was cool.  Most of them are in a time of transition and they are seeking a place to experience God.  They are motivated to go.  They haven't been coerced or made to come, they made a choice to try and change their lives.  And what do many of us do with the gift of someone new?  Not enough.

I pray for you during your times of transition and times of change.  Some changes are blessings, some seem like the end of days.  Let the changes in your life be purposeful and filled with meaning.  Help others to move through their times of change as well.

Oh yeah, hey Wendy's, please bring back your old fries.   I know they were ranked 3rd on the list of America's favorite fries.  It's ok to be in third place.  McDonald's and Five Guys are just better.  After 41 years you changed to be like someone else.  Be yourself.  Be unique.  I still love Wendy's, but I love them a bit less these days.

Go in peace and go with God!