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Hobby Lobby, Barilla Pasta, and Chic fil-A – Should Values Trump Marketing? [POLL]

Does a company's beliefs affect your shopping?
Michael Loccisano/Getty Images

Blogs are, for the most part, opinion pieces.

And you know what they say about opinions.

So this morning, after having had the pleasure of hosting the kick-off of the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Walk at Covered Bridge in Manalapan, a friend brought to my attention a blog written by a local resident concerning the Hobby Lobby Store in Marlboro.

The blogger’s issue was the lack of sensitivity shown to a Jewish patron as to why there were no Hannukah items on display for sale while Christmas items were already out.

According to the blog, (incidentally entitled “hopelessly partisan”), the author writes:

In the past few days two different friends told my wife they had gone into the new hobby lobby store in Marlboro, New Jersey and noticed that, although there already was a lot of Christmas merchandise available, there was none for the Jewish holiday of Chanukah (some people drop the “C” and spell it Hannukah. Same holiday).

One of our friends entered the store, asked where the Chanukah goods were, was told there wouldn’t be any, and asked why. According to her, the answer was:

“We don’t cater to you people”

Understandably irate, she called the home office, and was told, indifferently, that hobby lobby doesn’t have Chanukah on its list of holidays.

Since I did not hear this ugly exchange with my own ears, I was not personally certain it was the case. And that’s not good enough for this blog. So I just called the Marlboro hobby lobby and asked whether it would be stocking any Chanukah merchandise. I was told it would not. When I asked why, the answer – verbatim – was:

“Because Mr. Green is the owner of the company, he’s a Christian, and those are his values”

I’m taking the blogger at his word, even though I personally did not hear the exchange.

Perhaps the values attributed to Mr. Green are that he doesn’t need to market anything Jewish, nor for that matter, anything regarding Ramadan, Dwail, or the myriad of religions many residents of the state follow.

What IS of issue is the way store employees and higher ups answer the question as to why there are no Hannukah items.

Allegedly, “We don’t cater to you people”…or, “Because Mr. Green is the owner of the company, he’s a Christian, and those are his values.”

(Just as an aside, my wife recently visited the store and noticed a rendering of the Last Supper. Showing it to my 20 month old grandson, she noted, “…there’s Jesus having a Passover dinner!” So much for “Judaica!”)

Does that necessarily make Mr. Green, or any of the recent heads of companies espousing their values as “haters?”

And while you’re free to let others know of their marketing tactics, you still don’t need to shop there.

To wit, the recent statement by Barilla Pasta chairman Guido Barilla, who recently said, according to this:

“I would never do (a commercial) with a homosexual family, not for lack of respect but because we don’t agree with them. Ours is a classic family where the woman plays a fundamental role,” Barilla, 55, said in an interview with Radio 24 on Wednesday.

Barilla issued a statement on Thursday apologising, explaining that he was trying to say “simply that the woman plays a central role in a family.”

(My wife’s aside: So what if it’s a lesbian couple? Is a woman not playing a “central role in a family?)

Again, “hater?” Hater, much like beauty, is in the eyes of the beholder.

Then again, you can always buy Ronzoni!

Nor could we forget the recent brouhaha that resulted from Chic fil-A’s Dan Cathy coming out against same-sex marriage; resulting in a boycott by some, and by a Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day by others, which resulted in a temporary bump up in sales.

But again, does it necessarily make the individual chairmen “haters?”

And when their values are made known to the general public, whatever they may be, the bottom line is that you’re free to take your money wherever you want.

Question is: would you patronize businesses such as Hobby Lobby, Barilla Pasta, or Chick-fil-A when their chairman’s values are made public?

 

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