Friday, March 6, 2009

Boycotting Barnes & Noble?


The beauty of the internet and the digital world is that we can get information at a moments notice. No longer are we confined to wait for the local nightly news to bring us what we need to know. With that, the dangerous side of the internet and the digital world is that we can get information at a moments notice. Erroneous or inflammatory information can be disseminated instantaneously. The current Barnes and Noble flap is what brings this to mind.

Below is a copy of an email that has been circulating and sent to my email inbox several times this week along with the picture of what the email is explaining. Some of you may have it already.

FW: Barnes & Noble - Racism???

Subject: Racism still exists obviously

Let us not be lulled into a sense of complacency, due to the recent political success of President Obama.

Racism still exists in this country. Like all things, nothing is perfect on this planet, in this world.

We have an obligation to be active on issues that simply cannot be ignored.

Along these lines we should all actively spread the word of how Barnes and Noble apparently feels about black people or at least our President.

Please forward this to as many people you think should be aware of this and would be offended by this.

Boycotting Barnes and Noble will show the economic effect of people who will not tolerate racism.

Barnes and Noble had this as their store front display in Coral Gables FL in the Miracle Mile Mall. I am totally disgusted and I think it is important that we all find a different place to buy our books. Obviously this is a place of extreme ignorance. How far have we really come? God bless.

Barnes & Noble does acknowledge that this event did occur, albeit not by their store staff but by a customer who was probably still upset over the election. I even go so far as to speculate that it was someone who got tired of the race baiting regarding the N.Y. Post editorial cartoon that depicted a dead monkey who had wrote the stimulus package. Barnes & Noble even expressed outrage over the character reference to the President. Liberals often have "knee-jerk" reactions to anything that "offends" them and often calls it racism. Racism can exist if you have been harmed by a "racist" act. So who was harmed by this display?

Many of the threads of emails that I received called for an immediate boycott of Barnes & Noble bookstores. "Knee-jerk" reaction. Please explain to me why Barnes & Noble should be penalized for something that they indicated was not of their doing and have issued an open apology for it. [Then why apologize? Because some of you will not let it go at all.] Please explain why any of the cashiers at the Barnes & Noble in Atlanta or any other city have to suffer because of something that occurred in Coral Gables, Florida.

How you ask? Let's say that the boycott is successful and it results in a 30% decline in total revenue for Barnes & Nobel as a company. Successful boycott you would say! Management's reaction is to pare down expenses to offset the resulting losses in sales. So the company starts to manage is biggest expense of operation; that is payroll. That is the human side of your supposed boycott. Now the company decides that it no longer needs to employee 45 people per store but will make do with only 25 - 30. So at max 15 people go to the unemployment lines and that is just the stores. But your boycott was successful. Now multiply that number by the 799 stores that Barnes & Noble operates plus add in the distribution centers and joila! Now you see the total human toll. The young worker that utilizes this job to pay his college tuition, the warehouse associate that feeds his family, the stock associate that supplements her income are now for the worse. But you were successful because of a book about monkeys.

In these "tough economic times" Barnes & Noble seems to performing well. You race baiters should do some thinking before sending email chains to your friends and relatives. Barnes & Noble just declared a quarterly cash dividend for it's stockholders, yet you seek to punish them. If you own 1000 shares of their stock you would see a $250 check coming your way by the end of March of this year. You may not own any Barnes & Noble stock outright but your 401K or mutual fund may as part of its mix. The Chairman of Barnes & Noble, Leonard Riggio, currently serves as the Finance Chairman of the Host Committee of the NAACP's Centenial Convention slated for New York City. His family is still helping to build homes for Hurricane Katrina victims (17,000 New Orleans evacuees are still living in hotels at taxpayer expense). If you want these things being done by this company to stop then go ahead with your boycott and I wish you all the best. By the way Barnes & Noble is not seeking any government bailout money and in my opinion tends to lean to the left for its political views. Conservative thought books are often hard to find and are not displayed as prominently as those of more liberal authors.

Barnes & Noble has not offended me and if the store associates were responsible for the display then I am still not offended because, I am not a Monkey neither is the President. Get over yourselves already. Every criticism of Obama is not racist.

That's my word! Post yours!





10 comments:

Anonymous said...

I agree, I received the email also and immediately knew that it could have been the store manager, a cashier, even a customer who did the display or inserted the book. Barnes and Noble near me had a great Black History Month table including the Obama family, they have blacks, college aged students, and senior citizens that work there (so I believe they do not practice hiring discrimination). I don't intend to boycott them.

Ron B said...

@anon
Anyone could have. But to penalize the collective organization without proof that the leadership has those views is just insane. Thanks for the post.

Julie said...

What a wonderful post. What good does it do to boycott another store forcing it to close down and create more unemployment. People are so busy looking for things to feel victimized for there are creating their own problems. Besides, I don't have TV and have no intention of giving us a good bookstore even though in the past they have shown they lean way over to the left of issues.

Ron B said...

@Julie
Thanks for your posts. If you keep crying wolf for every slight then when a true racist act occurs no one will be listening. Organizing a truly effective boycott against any organization requires some planning. This will go no where since it is just someone yelling fire.

j.b. said...

A coworker said I might not want to go to Barnes & Noble anymore and showed me the email. Right away I thougt it was to blatant if it was the company so I did a search myself and found your blog. I don't think the headquarters called the store and said to be this display together, come on! It was obvisiously a manager, an employee, a customer or better yet the person who took the picture. I can go in Barnes & Noble right now mess with there displays and take a picture of it. Why don't people look below the surface? I don't know whos more ignorant the person who did it or those quick to jump to conclusions.

j.b. said...

I meant to say in my post in the forth line down: "I don't think the headquarters called the store and told them to put this display together using these specific books." sorry for the flub.

Ron B said...

@j.b.
I would have to say that the person that jumped to the conclusion would be the more ignorant because they did not stop to think at all. Companies spend too much time and money to build up the goodwill of their organizations to destroy it with a blatant act. If a person wants to boycott a company they should be ready to prove that the company purposefully did wrong. Thanks for your post and taking the time to at least research before jumping on the wagon.

Raychele said...

It's quite obvious that Barnes & Nobles as a company did not organize this. They would be stupid to do something like that

Ron B said...

@Raychele
You and I obviously know this but there is a faction in our society that does not think rationally nor with any intellect but will go off "half cocked" to label everything from monkey cartoons to monkey books as racist. Go figure! What a shame! What a shame!

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