I want it to be like the movies. I want to say that it’s not you, and that it’s me, and that as I’ve matured and grown my needs have changed, or whatever it is that John Cusack’s character would have said. But that’s not true. I’ll always need burritos. That hasn’t changed. You have.
I mean, we met in high school for God’s sake, it was stupid to think that this day would never come. I was 16, you were 15, and we had no idea what love was but that didn’t stop us from throwing ourselves into it face-first.
When my friends asked if I could spend the rest of my life with one restaurant, I always said it would be you, even though Cheesecake Factory is technically the right answer because they have like a million menu items.
I’d come visit before basketball practice even though I knew it was a bad idea. I came back for lunch the day after I threw up a barbacoa burrito in the middle of the gym floor, because that’s how much you meant to me.
When holidays rolled around I’d ask for gift cards just so I could have an excuse to see you.
When people said you weren’t authentic, I told them you weren’t trying to be.
When haters called your GMO ban an anti-science publicity stunt, I told them that you were a revolutionary, and that they just didn’t understand you.
We were growing up fast, but you were growing up faster, and we both knew it. Your 1,000 locations turned to 2,000 and quality control started to slip. It’s like you didn’t have time for me anymore.
You started to be so inconsistent that I hardly recognized you. Sloppily rolled burritos. Overcooked rice. I had raw chicken in my burrito once and I didn’t tell the manager because I didn’t want anyone to get in trouble. And then it happened again. And again.
This wasn’t the burrito I fell in love with, or the corporate culture that I defended to my friends even when they pointed out your multiple wage violation lawsuits.
Still, I stayed. I was falling out of love with you fast, and I knew damn well that I was, but refused to come to terms with it. There was still no one like you that I could see for a few minutes at lunch and instantly make the rest of my day better.
Let me make this clear, and it’s really important to me that you know this—this has nothing to do with… the incidents. Not directly anyways. It sucks that so many people got sick, but that could have happened at any restaurant. I truly believe you did all you could at the time, and I know that it’s been really difficult for everyone involved, but now you’re just a weird, gross shell of what you used to be.
You think you can tweet memes and dick jokes and get young people to like you? So what, I’m too old to be in your target demographic now? We’re literally the same age.
You think you can win my love and loyalty back with a rewards card? Chiptopia? Really? That’s not even a pun.
And now I hear from your friends that you’re opening a burger restaurant. Wow. Clap it up for Chipotle everybody, when the going gets tough, they run away from their core business model. Who else are you seeing? How many other concepts are there that I don’t know about?
But that’s all small-time bullshit. None of that would matter if your burritos still tasted like they used to. They don’t.
I went back the other day. One last time, just to make sure this is real. You’re pre-cooking your steak now? God, I just…. I can’t even look at you anymore. You said you were fast food with integrity. You said you were different than McDonald’s, but you’re not. You just don’t have the clown suit.
Chipotle, from the bottom of my heart, I hope you find your way back to being the honest, pure, emotionally consistent burrito I fell in love with. But you and I both know that will never happen.
Don’t call me,