Just a Little Sticker

Commentary


dreamalittledreamofmeIt was just a little sticker on a glass door of a restaurant. The sticker displayed a view that is the antithesis of mine. It bothered me. I found myself thinking about it instead of enjoying my meal.

It was on the front door, not my table. I bet a lot of people miss it when they enter. You would think I could just eat and forget about it.

I couldn’t.

I thought about the owner who put that sticker on the door. How could he think that way? I’m not saying he shouldn’t be allowed to display the sticker. Of course he is entitled to his view. I wouldn’t even consider debating him on the issue. He isn’t a friend, or even an acquaintance. Everyday I live, work, and play with people who don’t have my views. A close friend has been on the wrong side of the Second Amendment debate since we first met almost 25 years ago. I enjoy my conversations with friends who challenge my views. It helps keep me sharp.

The sticker represented something different. This isn’t friendship, or a casual discussion at a club. This is a business advertising a position I find wrong. Should I support an establishment who is publicly for an issue I am so very strongly against?

This is my hard-earned money, and not a small amount. In 2008 alone, I bet I have eaten there 200 times. I thought how I was giving my money to someone who felt it was OK to do something I am against.

Effectively, I was supporting the issue with my money.

So, today was my last time eating there. As I left I didn’t intend to even mention it, but an employee mentioned she’d see me tomorrow. I told her it was my last time. Of course, she asked why. I tried to explain. But I don’t think I did it well. She didn’t see how a sticker on a glass door would keep me away.

I hope it makes sense now.



Creative Commons License photo credit: renedepaula
This photo is for illustration only and doesn’t reflect the restaurant.

20 thoughts on “Just a Little Sticker

  1. I wrestle with this all the time. On the one hand I don’t want to support political views I find extreme and/or offensive. On the other hand if it’s a local business, I want to support it. Which trumps? Political opinion, or keeping local dollars local?

  2. I wrestle with this all the time. On the one hand I don’t want to support political views I find extreme and/or offensive. On the other hand if it’s a local business, I want to support it. Which trumps? Political opinion, or keeping local dollars local?

  3. @dave – Supporting local business usually trumps political opinion for me. I’ve rarely agreed with most political beliefs in our two-party system. There is too much either/or for me.

    But expressing discrimination and hate is another story. I couldn’t shrug that off.

    Since I wrote this I’ve had some ask the restaurant and the issue. I haven’t answered because it wasn’t my intention to rally anyone against the establishment. I hope everyone can understand that. There are times to publicly boycott a company. This wasn’t one.

  4. @dave – Supporting local business usually trumps political opinion for me. I’ve rarely agreed with most political beliefs in our two-party system. There is too much either/or for me.

    But expressing discrimination and hate is another story. I couldn’t shrug that off.

    Since I wrote this I’ve had some ask the restaurant and the issue. I haven’t answered because it wasn’t my intention to rally anyone against the establishment. I hope everyone can understand that. There are times to publicly boycott a company. This wasn’t one.

  5. Once, in college, someone told me not to drink Snapple because it was owned by the Coca Cola company. He went on to explain that a particularly polarizing public figure he disliked owned stock in Coke. I asked him whether he stopped to consider the effect his boycott would have on the millions of elderly persons whose pension plans invested in Coke, and then enjoyed my kiwi strawberry cocktail. Clearly, at some point, the tenuous connection between the opinions of those we do business with and our affection for their products is too remote to worry about.

    Not knowing the issue makes it extremely difficult to generalize, but I would hope that this sticker does not place this business owner beyond the bounds of your conception of an ordered society. I’m talking about people whose opinions promote violence or whose business practices themselves are discriminatory. If so, by all means, don’t eat there, and tell your friends not to, either. If it does not, proudly and prominently wear your T-shirt or button expressing the opposite point of view while you enjoy your meal with the smug knowledge that you are making someone uncomfortable.

    I believe that most people who are wrong aren’t bad – they just don’t know any better. (When I’ve been wrong, that’s been the case.) If they have other redeeming qualities, such as the ability to deliver great food at good prices, I wouldn’t fault them for their opinions, however idiotic, as long as they aren’t violent.

    You could also write the owner a short, polite letter explaining your decision. I would not ask for the sticker to come down, just explain the decision and that you are sorry because you really enjoyed the place. The response, if any, will tell you about the character of the recipient far better than a sticker and may be enough that you can forgive an ill-conceived opinion.

  6. Once, in college, someone told me not to drink Snapple because it was owned by the Coca Cola company. He went on to explain that a particularly polarizing public figure he disliked owned stock in Coke. I asked him whether he stopped to consider the effect his boycott would have on the millions of elderly persons whose pension plans invested in Coke, and then enjoyed my kiwi strawberry cocktail. Clearly, at some point, the tenuous connection between the opinions of those we do business with and our affection for their products is too remote to worry about.

    Not knowing the issue makes it extremely difficult to generalize, but I would hope that this sticker does not place this business owner beyond the bounds of your conception of an ordered society. I’m talking about people whose opinions promote violence or whose business practices themselves are discriminatory. If so, by all means, don’t eat there, and tell your friends not to, either. If it does not, proudly and prominently wear your T-shirt or button expressing the opposite point of view while you enjoy your meal with the smug knowledge that you are making someone uncomfortable.

    I believe that most people who are wrong aren’t bad – they just don’t know any better. (When I’ve been wrong, that’s been the case.) If they have other redeeming qualities, such as the ability to deliver great food at good prices, I wouldn’t fault them for their opinions, however idiotic, as long as they aren’t violent.

    You could also write the owner a short, polite letter explaining your decision. I would not ask for the sticker to come down, just explain the decision and that you are sorry because you really enjoyed the place. The response, if any, will tell you about the character of the recipient far better than a sticker and may be enough that you can forgive an ill-conceived opinion.

  7. @Kemp “…I would hope that this sticker does not place this business owner beyond the bounds of your conception of an ordered society…”

    That’s a good way to put it. Beyond the bounds of my conception of an ordered society. The situation is moral in nature. (There is no indication of violence or employee discrimination.)

    I thought of your button and t-shirt idea, but I might make some patrons and staff uncomfortable and have no effect on an absent owner. The only way I could protest directly to him was with my absence.

    My style of this piece was to focus on the feeling rather than the facts. I know it makes it more difficult to understand my motivation. It wasn’t the first time I have been uncomfortable with some of the business practices there. The others situations I could explain away to a different belief set. I could live with them. This one I couldn’t.

    Yes, I know I’ve just made the explanation less clear.

    But I can tell you that Snapple is owned by Cadbury Schweppes.

  8. @Kemp “…I would hope that this sticker does not place this business owner beyond the bounds of your conception of an ordered society…”

    That’s a good way to put it. Beyond the bounds of my conception of an ordered society. The situation is moral in nature. (There is no indication of violence or employee discrimination.)

    I thought of your button and t-shirt idea, but I might make some patrons and staff uncomfortable and have no effect on an absent owner. The only way I could protest directly to him was with my absence.

    My style of this piece was to focus on the feeling rather than the facts. I know it makes it more difficult to understand my motivation. It wasn’t the first time I have been uncomfortable with some of the business practices there. The others situations I could explain away to a different belief set. I could live with them. This one I couldn’t.

    Yes, I know I’ve just made the explanation less clear.

    But I can tell you that Snapple is owned by Cadbury Schweppes.

  9. A short note: It was intentional that I didn’t display the sticker nor the restaurant. The random photo I included was merely to illustrate the article. I’m not even sure what city contained that blue plaid covered table.

  10. A short note: It was intentional that I didn’t display the sticker nor the restaurant. The random photo I included was merely to illustrate the article. I’m not even sure what city contained that blue plaid covered table.

  11. I experienced a similar situation two years ago when I discovered that my massage therapist had signed a petition that placed an initiative on the ballot that would amend our state’s Constitution. Passage of the amendment would affect me directly and my “family”, potentially depriving me the ability to protect my property and my person. Confronting the situation was difficult – she was an amazing therapist who had helped me tremendously with chronic pain from an old injury. But the idea of being in that vulnerable situation and giving my hard earned dollars to someone who took a stand to oppose my civil liberties and responsibilities was unacceptable. I kept my last appointment and told her the reason for terminating our business relationship – there were tears & apologies. I had given a face to the petition. She had no idea her signature could have such impact. I can only hope that I made a difference that day & perhaps, she’ll vote “NO” to that amendment on election day.

  12. I experienced a similar situation two years ago when I discovered that my massage therapist had signed a petition that placed an initiative on the ballot that would amend our state’s Constitution. Passage of the amendment would affect me directly and my “family”, potentially depriving me the ability to protect my property and my person. Confronting the situation was difficult – she was an amazing therapist who had helped me tremendously with chronic pain from an old injury. But the idea of being in that vulnerable situation and giving my hard earned dollars to someone who took a stand to oppose my civil liberties and responsibilities was unacceptable. I kept my last appointment and told her the reason for terminating our business relationship – there were tears & apologies. I had given a face to the petition. She had no idea her signature could have such impact. I can only hope that I made a difference that day & perhaps, she’ll vote “NO” to that amendment on election day.

  13. Anytime any business owner puts any kind of political or social statement in a prominent place they can open themselves up to this kind of issue. As far as I’m concerned, if I don’t agree with it I’m not going to spend my hard earned dollars there, whether it be a local business or a national chain. I too prefer to support the local guys, but I’m not going to give my money to anyone that displays something like that that I do not agree with. I’d rather not even know. Same goes for homeowners with election signs. I hate those yard signs, and once you put one up you open yourself up to all kinds of issues that would not have existed if you hadn’t displayed it. Is it going to change anyone’s mind anyway? No, it’s just the business/homeowner trying to justify their beliefs. Keep it to yourself, we’ll all be better off.

  14. Anytime any business owner puts any kind of political or social statement in a prominent place they can open themselves up to this kind of issue. As far as I’m concerned, if I don’t agree with it I’m not going to spend my hard earned dollars there, whether it be a local business or a national chain. I too prefer to support the local guys, but I’m not going to give my money to anyone that displays something like that that I do not agree with. I’d rather not even know. Same goes for homeowners with election signs. I hate those yard signs, and once you put one up you open yourself up to all kinds of issues that would not have existed if you hadn’t displayed it. Is it going to change anyone’s mind anyway? No, it’s just the business/homeowner trying to justify their beliefs. Keep it to yourself, we’ll all be better off.

  15. Depending on how foul or offensive the sticker was is a matter of opinion to a certain degree. To some the confederate flag is a symbol of history and pride, to others a hated reminder of discrimination.
    I agree with your choice not to spend your money there again. If it made you that uncomfortable or upset, definitely don’t go back. I’m sure there are other local businesses with similar products that will work nicely in the future.
    That’s the awesome thing I think we sometimes forget in America, we can choose what we like.
    PS With that said, Republican or Democrat, don’t forget to vote in November.

  16. Depending on how foul or offensive the sticker was is a matter of opinion to a certain degree. To some the confederate flag is a symbol of history and pride, to others a hated reminder of discrimination.
    I agree with your choice not to spend your money there again. If it made you that uncomfortable or upset, definitely don’t go back. I’m sure there are other local businesses with similar products that will work nicely in the future.
    That’s the awesome thing I think we sometimes forget in America, we can choose what we like.
    PS With that said, Republican or Democrat, don’t forget to vote in November.

  17. Hmmm. This is a tough issue. For example, I read this blog weekly and I disagree with many viewpoints posted on it.

    But, with that said, I think you need to ask yourself, “What does it look like to love this person?” Your concern for your viewpoint is valid, but if they are so wrong, you should consider how to make a friend out of an enemy.

    If they’re not friendly then you can move along.

    j

  18. Hmmm. This is a tough issue. For example, I read this blog weekly and I disagree with many viewpoints posted on it.

    But, with that said, I think you need to ask yourself, “What does it look like to love this person?” Your concern for your viewpoint is valid, but if they are so wrong, you should consider how to make a friend out of an enemy.

    If they’re not friendly then you can move along.

    j

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