Fri, 15 June 2007
The level of incompetence and outright ignorance in corporate America never ceases to amaze me, especially when it comes to corporations' relationships with their GLBT employees and/or customers.
That ignorance reached a new low this past week when Kroger supermarkets in Nashville, Tennessee decided to pull Out & About, a gay weekly newspaper off their shelves. According to this article originally printed in The Advocate and reprinted on PlanetOut.com, the newspaper was pulled due to Kroger's corporate policy of not displaying publications that promote "religious, political, or other specific agendas." Yet, as the article points out, Kroger has allowed other publications such as Nashville's alternative newspaper The Nashville Scene to remain on its shelves.
Having lived in Nashville, I can attest to the statement that the Scene does get political, and the publication leans hard to the left. Out & About, like most gay publications that deal with politics to any extent, is also very left-oriented--or at least it was when I lived there. But, this is not about politics, folks. It's about Kroger's lack of spine when it comes to any amount of controversy and Kroger's dedication to doing whatever it takes to preserve their bottom line.
Kroger bowed to pressure from groups like the American Family Association and agreed to put metal covers over the front of its checkout displays of Cosmopolitan, thereby obscuring everything on the front cover but the title.
Kroger bought part of the stores from Kessel, a locally-owned privately held grocery chain when the owner decided to retire. Kroger promised that the name would not be changed, only to go back on that promise and change the name within six months of closing the deal.
Kroger has also had a longstanding reputation of keeping food on its shelves WAY past the expiration date, although they seem to be doing better with this now.
This new action by Kroger very likely has less to do with any policy of not displaying politically slanted material than it has to do with the fact that Nashville is home to the Southern Baptist Convention, at least two religious publishing houses, two very large religious universities--David Lipscomb and Belmont, and churches almost literally on every street corner. The churches in Nashville have always done whatever they could to control the political and social landscape, and this event would seem to have their fingerprints all over it. I have no proof, but I feel confident that this is the case.
So, in short, when it serves Kroger's bottom line, they will do whatever it takes to keep complaints to a minimum, no matter who gets shoved aside in the process. This is not a wise move on Kroger's part, and it now has gained them some negative publicity. Well, here is some more.
I am asking my readers and listeners to boycott Kroger and all of its brands until the Nashville stores return Out & About to their newsstands. Companies like Kroger speak only one language: money. If we are to get their attention, we have to make a serious dent in their sales and teach them that the GLBT community won't take this lying down.
Here are some things you can do:
*If you have any one of Kroger's stores near you, I encourage you to call and tell them that since some of their sister stores have decided that gay publications are not welcome in the stores, then Kroger is obviously not in need of the business that GLBT people bring into their stores, and you will be all to happy to shop the competition. See below for a complete listing of Kroger's store portfolio
*If you have a Plus discount card, cut it in half and mail it to Kroger's corporate headquarters, along with a letter explaining your reasons for doing so. See below for the address.
*If you have a Kroger credit card, consider closing your account. Credit is a big moneymaker for any company, and they won't like the sight of losing that interest revenue.
*If you have stock in the Kroger Company, then don't sell it yet. Stock holdings equal votes at shareholder meetings, and this could be used to leverage Kroger in the near future.
*Above all, stick with this. Corporate America doesn't listen to the little guys enough, and we have to make a lasting impression.
*If anybody has suggestions about how else we can send a message to Kroger, then please comment here or email me.
Together we can make a difference.
Smith's Food & Drug Stores
Quality Food Centers (QFC)
JayC Food Stores
Pay Less Super Markets
Food 4 Less
Fred Myer Jewelers
Kroger Personal Finance
Kroger's Customer Relations address ist:
The Kroger Co.
1014 Vine Street
Cincinnati, Ohio 45202-1100
Category:Extras -- posted at: 3:19am EST
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