Back in 1983, 19-year-old Jimmy John Liautaud began the business that would blossom into Jimmy John’s Gourmet Sandwiches. With over 2,000 stores, Jimmy John’s is a powerhouse of a restaurant chain with cheap prices, catering options, and what seems like about a hundred locations in the greater Seattle area alone. And though company literature proclaims fresh ingredients and a focus on sustainability, there are some very serious reasons why you should stop eating their food immediately.
Similar to other sandwich chains, Jimmy John’s employees make close to minimum wage. However, Jimmy John’s differs in that the company requires all workers to sign an extremely strict noncompete agreement. This agreement states that employees are barred from working for a competitor for two years following their departure from the company, with a competitor defined as “any business that derives at least 10 percent of its sales from sandwiches and that is located within three miles of any Jimmy John’s outlet.” Though it is unknown if the company has ever tried to enforce this agreement, if it were enforced, it would mean a minimum wage worker with a food prep background would be unable to seek employment with another sandwich shop that might potentially pay them more. And according to this map provided by the Huffington Post, these same workers’ employment opportunities would be taken away completely in entire cities, including Chicago, Minneapolis, and Denver. When you consider that these sandwich makers likely don’t carry any trade secrets, the noncompete agreement doesn’t make much sense.
In 2008, Jimmy John contributed $10,000 to Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s political campaign. At first read, this doesn’t seem like a big deal. A bit of background is in order. Captain Joel Fox, also of the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office, refused to reveal the names behind the Sheriff’s Command Association (SCA) donors of Joe Arpaio’s campaign (one of whom was Jimmy Liautaud), only caving in when he faced a $315,000 fine. Turns out that Fox, along with Chief Deputy David Hendershott and Deputy Chief Larry Black, were part of a three-man scheme to illegally funnel money to the Arizona Republican Party. According to reports, Republican Party leaders took more than $100,000 from the SCA, put the money into an independent-expenditure committee, which then put the money toward ads targeting Arpaio’s opponent. Later investigations also show that Fox benefitted from a “dual standard of discipline” under Hendershott and Black. During their reign, internal investigations sat for years without punishment, and at least one deputy committed a criminal act while on administrative leave.
It seems there are photos popping up everywhere of trophy hunters posing with their kill, gun in frame, grinning ear to ear from a job well done. To animal rights activists, it’s a cruel, disgusting, and barbaric practice. It’s also one that Jimmy Liautaud seems to enjoy. Smile Politely published photos of a 2010 safari hunt in which it appears Jimmy Liautaud himself is posing with a dead elephant and leopard. For those of us not familiar with trophy hunting, those who partake often pay local governments in need of cash to give them permits to kill animals such as impala, black bears, zebra, giraffes, and baboons, as well as endangered species like elephants, leopards, lions, and white rhinos. Though many trophy hunters claim their efforts are aiding conservation, it’s extremely difficult to understand how killing endangered species is helping conservation. To learn more about trophy hunting, visit the In Defense of Animals site.
Though some people love Jimmy John’s Gourmet Sandwiches for taste and convenience, it’s seriously time to find another establishment for your lunch fix. Jimmy Liautaud has illegally contributed funds to the Arizona Republican Party, hunts endangered animals for thrill and fun, and his restaurant chain forces workers to sign a strict noncompete agreement which diminishes their chance for future employment. But if you can’t get enough of the J.J.B.L.T., perhaps you can comfort yourself with the fact that their minimum wage-earning deliverers ride bicycles to deliver your lunch instead of driving.