Acting in Public against the Interests of Your Customers: Always a Mistake

 
 

The political environment in our country has been fraught for a long time and seems to be getting more intense daily. My personal feeling about this has always been that if you are in business, it makes no sense to alienate an entire segment of potential customers by showcasing your political beliefs. Years ago, when Rush Limbaugh first came on the air, the owner of a local bakery put a radio in the lobby of the bakery and posted signs praising Rush. That stopped when a longtime customer wrote a letter to the newspaper bemoaning the fact that he no longer felt comfortable going into his favorite bakery.

A few years ago, a group of Texas legislators worked very hard through a session to pass a bill requiring Texas employers to provide equal pay to women for equal work.

 

The bill, approved by both parties, went to the desk of then-Governor Rick Perry… 

who vetoed it.

 

He explained his veto by citing letters he had received from a grocery store chain and a department store chain urging him to veto the bill.

Perhaps the managers of the businesses did not know their letters would be exposed.

But surely they knew it was a risk?

Department stores are struggling to stay alive, and the grocery business is highly competitive. A segment of Texas women vowed never to shop at either location again. It isn’t even hard; there are plenty of other options. Who knows if any of this affected the bottom line, but why go out of your way to lose any portion of your customer base?

Patricia Bernstein