Dear Businesses: Keep out of politics


I believe that businesses need to STAY OUT OF POLITICS!!

Few of us want a side of politics with our dinner or our hobby supplies.

say no to politics

As a young man, I remember one of my first business lessons I was taught.   “Do not get the business involved with politics.”

It was that simple of a lesson.  I asked why and was told:

It may seem that you’re doing a simple act, like supporting your friend who is running for office, or a basic statement of support.  But Jim, politics is a hot button issue and will divide a town against a business (and as a result, its employees.)

There are people will never purchase from a liberal or conservative.  People protest and boycott businesses that make political stands.  Let’s just assume that 50% is democrat and 50% republican.  Why would you upset 50% of your business?  It’s hard enough to get & keep customers, so why would you risk it?  You risk the financial security of the business which in turns risks our ability to keep people employed.

I was stunned.  I had never thought of it along those terms.  And to this day, I do not mix the two.  I have actually avoided companies because of their over-involvement in politics or their well-known political stance for even if I agreed with their views, I have customers and contacts who do not.

Read more on a related: Surveys show that Americans think corporate leaders should keep opinions to themselves.

acceptable partisan politics in business

People wonder “well, how much does it really matter though?”  For me, loss of one customer is to great of a price.  And how do I know that people react this way over a business being involved in politics?  Because I am one of those people and many of my friends are.  We boycott Chick-Fil-A, Exxon, Hobby Lobby etc.  We write letters of support to companies who support gay marriage.

You may be asking yourself, “isn’t that a double standard?”.   Perhaps it is, however let me clarify.

I think every company should treat every employee as an equal regardless of race, age, color, religion, national origin or ancestry, sex, gender, disability, veteran status, genetic information, sexual orientation, or gender identity or expression.  I support any company who supports my values and likewise, boycott any who doesn’t treat people equally.

However, I think shameless ploys for attention and support are not a reason to support a business either.   Chick-Fil-A should have kept quiet and out of the political arena.  The CEO wants to support conservative causes… that’s his right and prerogative.  Should he involved the company? No.  Should Burger King made the “Pride Burger” wrapper? No.  That surprises many of my friends, since I am a gay man.  However, I felt that it came across as less supportive and more as a shameless ploy for attention.

In business, it is much easier to stay out of politics.  Hire a good marketing company if you need attention.  Learn and listen to what your company’s HR department probably tells employees “Keep your political & religious opinions separate from your workplace/work-life in order to keep a comfortable working environment for all.”

Now what brought this on today?  News is spreading about a company/restaurant in Minnesota who has itemized their receipts to show a minimum wage fee.

Oasis Café minimum wage fee

After being blasted by the public, they have “an employee” standing up for the company and their decision on Facebook.  Here’s my response:

I respect your freedom of speech and right to charge whatever you want. However, I don’t want a side of politics with my food. It’s difficult to cry foul when a business makes a clear statement of their dissension from the policies of their government. By itemizing the minimum wage fee, it is obvious the company was making a political statement. Your company has entered the political arena and now must deal with the consequence of that decision. And as far as my personal opinion on the charge: For me, it’s not about the 35 cents. It’s about the statement. I think it’s a tough argument to indicate your company is a mom & pop company and basically “one of the people and not the big faceless corporation” when you’re passing on the cost of paying people a “fair & decent wage” to the average family and hardworking Americans. If a company wants to give the “hometown & part of the community” feel, then complaining about the minimum wage and using it as a opportunity to make a political stand and probably to make a profit off of it, well I’m not impressed and won’t be supporting your business on my many travels through the area.

To find out more about this restaurant’s decision, please see:

http://www.vocativ.com/money/business/minnesota-minimum-wage/

Read more on a related:

Business & Politics don’t mix: Surveys show that Americans think corporate leaders should keep opinions to themselves.

 

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About Jimmy

I am a quirky guy whose passions include reading, traveling, business and enjoying life to the fullest.

Posted on August 14, 2014, in Lifestyle, News & Politics, Opinions and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Comments Off on Dear Businesses: Keep out of politics.

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