October 7, 2013

Boycotting Hobby Lobby

Terry Firma (Friendly Atheist) recently asked whether Hobby Lobby should be boycotted for not selling Hanukkah supplies. I'd say no, and Terry seems to agree:
I’m pretty sure the 561-store chain doesn’t sell glittery pentagrams and cute Ramadan calendars, either. There’s no law that says a store owner has to cater to all demographics, religious or otherwise.
Pentagram
Pentagram (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Of course, if I was determined to have "glittery pentagrams" and they refused to stock them, I might opt to shop somewhere that did. For the record, I prefer my pentagrams inverted and without any glitter. Some might say that my decision to shop elsewhere is a boycott, but I'm not sure I agree. I tend to see it as making a personal decision to support businesses that don't regularly make assesses of themselves and avoid those who do. That means that I do what I can to avoid supporting businesses that push fundamentalist Christianity. And as someone living in Mississippi, that means I don't do much shopping!

A far more interesting question about the Hobby Lobby issue is whether they should be boycotted for how their employee allegedly treated the Jewish customer who asked about Hanukkah merchandise ("We don't cater to you people"). I think this employee should face consequences of some sort as should the person who allegedly suggested that their Christian corporate culture justified what sounded a bit like bigotry. If there are no consequences, and some decide they are not satisfied with Hobby Lobby's apology and want to boycott them, I'd see little wrong with their doing so. It would be tough for me to join in since I decided years ago that they'd be seeing none of my money.

What do you think? Should companies like Hobby Lobby face boycotts for incidents like this? And is there a meaningful difference between making a personal decision not to support a business (like I have with Hobby Lobby, Chick-fil-A, and a few others) and boycotting a business?

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