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News from the Plains: All this RED can make you BLUE

Hobby Lobby means never having to (really) say you're sorry
by Barry Friedman

Why is this so hard?

"We sincerely apologize for any employee comments that may have offended anyone, especially our Jewish customers and friends. Comments like these do not reflect the feelings of our family or Hobby Lobby," he said.
For the love of the Old Testament, that's it ... may?

Spine, party of one, your table's ready.

Anyway, that's Steve Green, president of Hobby Lobby, sort of, kind of apologizing for what one his employees said to a customer who asked about the availability of Hanukkah items.

“We don’t cater to you people."
Apparently, though, Green figures not all Jews would have a problem being called "you people"; hence, the less than full-throated mea culpa.

And it's not like the cashier blamed the customer for killing Christ.

Worse, it's a canned response that both mitigates the offense ("not reflect the feelings") while patronizing those offended ("especially our Jewish friends").

Great, you didn't mean it and Jews are too sensitive.

"Our family has a deep respect for the Jewish faith and those who hold its traditions dear. We’re proud contributors to Yad Vashem, as well as to other museums and synagogues in Israel and the United States."
What a self-aggrandizing putz!

(I sincerely apologize, for that last comment may have offended Steve Green.)

As for what the store stocks and what it doesn't, Green reminds us, as Michael told Sonny about killing Sollozzo, "It's not personal. It's strictly business."

"We select the items we sell in our stores based on customer demand," he said.
Fine.

This was never about menorahs and dreidels anyway--nor even half-assed apologies. But it is about the hypocrisy of selling Jack-O-Lanterns and Skull and Crossbones rubber stamps that are made in China, where Christians are persecuted, while trumpeting how Jesus is the guiding light behind your success; it's about pouting when you don't get your way and are asked to act like a craft store and not a church; and it's about trotting out and hiding behind your personal faith when your company insurance plan is required to cover Depo-Provera shots for, say, one of your Jewish cashiers.

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Comment Preferences

  •  The radio report I heard said HL is looking (16+ / 0-)

    into a market test of "Jewish" items in the NY/NJ stores. right....

    No idea why any sensible caring person would shop at a HL. Anytime a friend mentions shopping there and I give them some HL background, well that is one less customer. And I love to throw in a bit on Domino's

    "You are what you write, not what you look like."

    by PHScott on Mon Oct 07, 2013 at 04:19:00 AM PDT

  •  interesting distinction between active vs passive (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    PHScott, gffish

    discrimination.  Even here at Kos, where no one would argue that a merchant has a constitutional right to refuse service to someone of a certain racial, religious or ethic background, they argue the same merchant is free to stock his stores as he sees fit and if he chooses to exclude certain merchandise, then so be it.

    However, is the reverse also true that a merchant is free to display whatever merchandise he pleases, regardless of community standards?  Just bringing this up as the corollary to everyone has a right to stock a store as he chooses.  However, communities have always held, in the case of porn for example, the right to to take merchandise from a shelf.  Can a community now demand a merchant stock certain items or that, for example, that restaurants offer halal or kosher alternatives?

    I am just wondering but in the meantime it seems Chick Fil A and HL are making some grandstand bonehead business decisions.  Here is another such decision:
    http://www.thecarpetbagger.org/...

    •  ehh South Carolina... I'll stop at Sean Brock's (0+ / 0-)

      restaurants next time I go thru anyways. Better and healthier food, local sources.

      Meanwhile we here in Tallahassee have a Whole Foods opening Oct 9. Time to figure out them - lots of organic and local suppliers - hype or reality? And what happens to the longtime local stores serving this market?

      "You are what you write, not what you look like."

      by PHScott on Mon Oct 07, 2013 at 04:49:40 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  "Michaels" people, "Michaels" (13+ / 0-)

    "Michaels" is a great store for people who like to sew, craft, and sketch.... like myself.

    It's unburdened with Christo-fascist leanings and it's open on Sundays :-)

    This was never about menorahs and dreidels anyway--nor even half-assed apologies. But it is about the hypocrisy of selling Jack-O-Lanterns and Skull and Crossbones rubber stamps that are made in China, where Christians are persecuted, while trumpeting how Jesus is the guiding light behind your success; it's about pouting when you don't get your way and are asked to act like a craft store and not a church; and it's about trotting out and hiding behind your personal faith when your company insurance plan is required to cover Depo-Provera shots for, say, one of your Jewish cashiers.
    That's beautifully said, by the way. Nailed it!
  •  I'm happy they're stupid. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JeffW

    There are thousands of lovely gift shops, small businesses, that depend on Hannuka sales to keep themselves open.  

    I'm not looking for a love that will lift me up and carry me away. A love that will stroll alongside and make a few amusing comments will suffice.

    by I love OCD on Mon Oct 07, 2013 at 07:06:09 AM PDT

  •  Freedom From Religion Foundation (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    BadKitties, JVolvo

    did an excellent job this year of countering the annual HL "Christian Nation" full page ad by purchasing space in several national markets with ads that countered the twisted history HL tries to sell.  And if you go to FFRF online, they have an interactive history page where you can see how HL took quotes way out of context.

    If they can lie so easily in their ads, then I don't put much trust in anything their CEO says or does.

  •  Who cares? (0+ / 0-)

    You're talking about an alleged comment by an (alleged) lower level employee.
       Hobby Lobby has drawn unfavorable publicity because of its (ridiculous) stand on insurance coverage for birth control.
    So, many progressives instinctively hate the business.
       But it's just a store.
       As to their merchandise selection: If you are unhappy with it, shop somewhere else. If there really is that much demand for the items you cite, the loss of customers will hurt Hobby Lobby. If not, their stocking decision will have turned out to be correct.
       There are many, many, religions in the US. It isn't reasonable to expect retailers to carry merchandise for every single one. How many Festivus poles do you see in stores? How well are hobby stores meeting the demand for Wiccan items?
       McDonalds doesn't serve halal or kosher food. Is that a problem for you?
       

    •  I care. It's not about Judaica. (0+ / 0-)

      It's about their continual foot in mouth disease as a company by denying female employees (most of their staff) access to birth control because of the owners religious views, their over the top claims of Christian persecution and  this was just another strike against them in a list of self serving bullshit.

      And don't call me "you people."

      •  The "you people" thing wedgies my shorts, too (0+ / 0-)

        I ran up against that very phrase, coupled with "too sensitive," right here on KOS Tuesday evening, in a comment on a front-page diary thread.  Hard to believe ignorance is so persistent.

        I'd recommend your comment, Mortifyd, as well as others in this thread, but the time limit has expired.

        Romae in die non combureretur.

        by Not A Bot on Wed Oct 09, 2013 at 02:46:13 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  A trip to Hobby Lobby. (0+ / 0-)

    I checked out one of their stores some months back when the controversy started. I had not even heard of them before. I went to a store not planning to buy anything, but rather just to do some reconnaissance to see what they were about. With a name like Hobby Lobby, I thought they would be a hobby shop, with all sorts of do-it-yourself things, and a lot of techo-geek stuff, and I found it was more of home decorating and arts and craft type store. The name they chose wasn't particularly descriptive.

    The first thing that caught my eye upon entering, there was a sign stating they were closed on Sundays out of respect for their employees to worship. No acknowledgment of the fact that many of their employees who attend religious services do this on other days than Sunday. Jews, and some Christian sects worship on Saturday, and Muslims worship on Friday. Of course, we know that to those of the ilk that own HL, Jews don't count, Muslim count even less, and as far as those Christians that are not THEIR type of Christian are not Christians at all. And it's not hard to imagine what they think of atheists and agnostics.

    Looking up and down the isles at the decorative stuff was quite a revelation. Most of the stuff they sold looked like it belonged in a very traditional type house out of the fifties and was decidedly conservative looking. Traditional  decor, and plaque proclaiming that God is watching over the house. All the religious stuff, naturally, was aimed at traditional Christians - nothing for Jews, Muslims, Wiccans, Anostics. And the decorative stuff all fit in with the fifties look, nothing for those of us who choose to live in a different decade. Nothing for those then might want some decor proclaiming allegiance to the Grateful Dead, or Pink Floyd.

    HL certainly may be shooting themselves in the foot by ignoring a big chunk of the market, and thereby cutting themselves off from many potential customers, but I certainly defend their right to do so. But they shouldn't be surprised if those customers they ignore choose not to spend their hard earned money there. I for one, saw little I would want to buy even if I wasn't already pissed off about this company. But I certainly can't stand by and say they have a right to interfere with the health care choices of their employees.

    Just another underemployed IT professional computer geek.

    by RhodeIslandAspie on Mon Oct 07, 2013 at 08:00:52 AM PDT

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