The following appeared on a local business marquee the day after the 2102 presidential
election: "My Country Was Born in 1776. It Died on November 6, 2012." The owner states that he was hoping to inspire debate and to
"get people into the store." In this, certainly the most contentious
presidential election in my life time, the country was bitterly divided.
Neighbors versus neighbors, friends versus friends, wounds have been inflicted
that will not soon be remedied. We have been barraged by negative campaigning,
repeated phone calls, Facebook rants and so on and so on. But tell me this- is
it really a good idea to mix business and politics (at least our political
views)? I have heard about not mixing business and pleasure but I think this is
another thing to add to the list. More specifically, is it a good idea to
express our sentiments so vividly when we know that controversy and polarization
Surely, those who feel as he does, that the election
results were a major defeat for this country will bond with him in angst, anger
and resentment. Likewise, those who are appeased by the outcome will reject his
beliefs and might well incur bitterness, disgust or offense. But when all is
said and done just what type of impact will declarations (yes, we do have the
freedom of speech) such as this, have upon a business? I suppose that would be somewhat
difficult to quantify but I am speculating at the very least it will polarize
customers and lead to second guessing.
I am of the mind that situations such as this pose a
significant risk to the business as a whole. I firmly believe that we should be
free to express ourselves. When a lively debate ensues between friends and
acquaintances it does indeed afford the chance to learn new perspectives and to
become more tolerant and accepting of our differing opinions. When it comes to
business I feel our core efforts are best devoted to promoting the business in
a customer-oriented fashion. Sure, my personal opinions exist and judiciously
expressing them is important as long as they are relevant to my business goals.
On the other hand there are some things that my clients and the public just
don’t need to hear.
Whew, that was a departure from my usual approach.
Typically I try to inspire thought and while I may have done that I admit I got
carried away with this topic. Yes, I not only felt the business owner went too
far but I also take offense to what he said. Come to think of it I gues a response like mine is just what I was worried about.
Any thoughts? I promise not to
Water Trough is taking a break next week to enjoy the Thanksgiving holiday. I
hope you and your families are able to celebrate the thankfulness for having