I know that this isn't unique to Fred Meyer, but this time of year, the Salvation Army has its volunteers out at stores around the country. Today, when shopping our local Fred Meyer, I saw that SA had people at every door, and I made a point of mentioning to the manager that their policies are anti-LGBT and that their high level staffer had recently called for death for gay people. He sort of snuffed at me and literally walked away saying "I'll pass that on". I was so angry I wrote this letter to their corporate office (after the jump).
As you may or may not know, the Salvation Army, while doing otherwise good work, has a policy of discrimination against gay and lesbian people. To make matters worse, recently their media director said that gays and lesbians should be put to death.Shortly thereafter, I got what reads like a form letter.
So you can imagine my shock when people representing this group were stationed at every entrance to your [my location] store. Your store manager, [name withheld], was extremely rude when I (and my wife) pointed out that they were effectively endorsing a group that is spreading such hate. He said this wasn't the time and place and then walked away without taking my name or allowing me to register a complaint.
I am not gay, but we have friends and family who are, and it is very offensive to have a store that we shop with so often fail to see why we were so upset with Fred Meyer giving them a vaunted space in their store.
I find it hard to believe that if they had discriminated against any other group that Fred Meyer would continue to allow them this courtesy. I am furious that my complaint was met with such handwaving and contempt by the store manager, especially since we shop there so often. We should be valued customers and our opinions should be important to you. If they are not, then we'll find somewhere else to shop that doesn't support the murder of our gay friends and family.
Thank you for taking the time to contact us with these concerns. Each of our stores is deeply tied to the community it serves. Across our company we support local organizations rooted in the communities where our customers and associates live and work. This includes supporting more than 30,000 grassroots community organizations, including The Salvation Army and LGBT non-profits.I responded back:
Kroger is a proud supporter of all our associates. We provide domestic partner benefits for all employees. Our company's core values include diversity and inclusion and Kroger scored an 85 out of 100 on the Human Rights Campaign Equality Index.
Unfortunately, this is deeply unsatisfying. You do not have LGBT volunteers standing in the entranceways of your stores, but you do have volunteers for an organization that is deeply offensive to some of your customers, and who employs a high level staffer who openly suggested murdering gay people. I think you must not comprehend how deeply troubling this is in light of the horrible massacre that just took place in Connecticut.So here I am. I don't expect a viral wave of people boycotting Fred Meyer, but I do hope that if you see the SA manning the doors, you'll join me in letting the store know that this troubles you and that there any more worthy charities who don't advocate death for our friends and families.
I will not shop with you again until you change this policy. And I'm going to publicize this as much as I can in order to affect this change. I'm going to urge members of the blog community, and my friends to stop shopping with you. It is not OK to support groups that preach hate, unless you endorse that hate as well. If the Klan were holding food drives for the needy, you would not welcome them into your store. I regretfully must say that we will shop elsewhere from now on and will urge others to do so as well.
Thanks for letting me vent.