No, this is not about Roe v. Wade. There is plenty of debate about that in other places. The only comment I will make about that is we should all be respectful of everyone’s freedom to have their own opinion about this very divisive issue. What this post is about is freedom, the freedom to choose who we give our hard-earned money to when we are a customer.
Two situations I have experienced in the past few days have precipitated this focus on freedom. Of course, the freedom theme this week is also about our country’s freedom, with the 4th of July holiday already in full swing. We should be so ever grateful that we have the freedoms which are granted in our Constitution, those that are protected by our courts. Until they no longer are. As we have seen recently, those can change. I am not making a political statement, just a factual one. Whatever we feel strongly about we need to diligently protect.
Free speech is one of our freedoms. Yet, there are times that our right to free speech can be offensive to others. When that happens, we have a decision to make. Are we going to be silent, or are we going to speak up for what we think is right? And are we going to spend money with businesses that offend us? I have decided that this is a Values issue for me, and if a business acts in a manner that is contrary to my Values, I have a decision to make. There are certainly degrees of this dissonance, and we should not take things to the extreme. The two situations I experienced recently bothered me so much that I had to speak up, and also decided to not do business with them.
The most recent situation occurred this morning at the open-air market at our beach. I am leaving names out, to protect those involved. My point is not to turn others away from these businesses, just to be aware of situations that are not consistent with their values, and to take whatever action they deem appropriate.
A vendor who I wanted to purchase an item from at the market did not accept credit cards. That was not the problem; a lot of small businesses make that decision. The reason he gave for the decision was the problem. He blamed Joe Biden for his decision, loudly proclaiming all that Biden has done to ruin business. He is not the first businessperson who I have heard sing this Joe Biden song, so maybe he was the tipping point. And I am not making a political position of this. My concern is one of customer service. Why would a businessperson take the chance to offend or alienate any of his customers? It seems arrogant to me to assume that one can make a negative remark about any political person publicly, and not offend some customers. Since Customer Service is one of my core values, and this vendor violated his customer service responsibility, I decided I would purchase the product I needed from someone else.
The other situation occurred a few days ago. In a gift store that I love, I noticed towels and napkins with the “F” word printed all over them prominently displayed. I abhor any profanity, but the word I am most offended by is the “F” word. I see no reason for a gift store to have such merchandise. I would be embarrassed if my grandchildren saw that word printed on products in a store in which we were shopping. Consider me a prude if you want; I draw a hard line on this. Why have we turned our heads to this profanity, allowing it to insidiously invade? Should we not walk with our feet, taking our business and our money elsewhere? I decided yes and will not support this business ever again.
Yesterday I was working in my antiques booth and realized that I am not walking MY talk. I had accepted books from a local author to sell on consignment a year ago. While organizing the books in my booth I found those two books and realized the subject matter is against my values. The subject matter is adultery. I immediately decided to return the books to the author, since I do not want others to think I condone adultery. (I may only have cookbooks left once I clean out all the books that include this all too prevalent behavior!) Then I remembered books I have been reading. I have enjoyed books by one author who writes about a beach area in the northeast. Recently I have become bothered that most (maybe all) of her books are about affairs. While they are interesting and easy beach reading, this all-too-common theme of hers is not consistent with my values. I must hold myself to the same standard (or higher!) that I hold others to. I will no longer read books by this author, and I am removing all of her from my sales area. I am not mentioning this author’s name since my purpose is to not drive other business away from her. My purpose is to encourage others to make sure that a business they support is consistent with their values, not mine.
I hope that I am not sounding “preachy.” I know that I err on the side of being too serious and thinking too much. But I think we sometimes go through life and don’t think deeply enough.
Our freedoms should be protected. The freedom to do business with those whose overall values are consistent with ours is an important freedom.
Land of the Free and Home of the Brave. Happy Birthday, America.