retail news in context, analysis with attitude

The Cincinnati Business Courier reports that Kroger has been "caught in a firestorm after customers at stores in Texas and Louisiana complained that cashiers wouldn’t serve them because they wore pro-police T-shirts."

In short, it appears that the cashiers had experienced problems with the police and were offended by t-shirts that said "Police Lives Matter/All Lives Matter” and the like. The incidents not nationwide coverage, and the Blue Bow Foundation described as "a Houston-area nonprofit aimed at supporting law enforcement officers," said it would pull "its link to Kroger’s rewards program after the incident. Blue Bow, like many nonprofits, had an arrangement that gives the foundation a donation when supporters use the Kroger rewards card."

And, Blue Bow released a statement saying that "we do not condone and cannot support an organization that refuses to immediately and unequivocally stand up for officers, their families or anyone who supports them.”

Kroger released a statement: “We were disappointed and sorry to hear about the incidents in Alexandria, Louisiana, and Spring, Texas. We’re especially saddened by how this incident reflects on the 431,000 Kroger associates who work hard to serve every customer in communities all across America.

"We’ve taken steps to ensure this doesn’t happen again - and we are reminding associates that is our responsibility to honor our company values of Diversity and Inclusion and treating our customers with Integrity and Respect in every interaction, every day. Our goal is always to create a welcoming, hospitable environment for all customers."
KC's View:
This is what happens when employees start thinking they can act in a prejudiced way against customers for their own personal reasons. A checkout person should no more be able to not deal with a customer wearing a "Blue Lives Matter" t-shirt than they should be able to reject taking care of a customer wearing a "Black Lives Matter" t-shirt, or a "Vote Trump" t-shirt, or a same-sex couple that wants to buy a wedding cake.

The willingness to be intolerant of other people's opinions is just spinning out of control, and I'm not sure how we as a culture move back to a more accepting time with more civil discourse.


There are those who think that the checkout folks should have been summarily fired. I get that, though I do think that the better way to go is to educate them about the value of diversity and inclusiveness. In the end, though, employees have to know that they are representing something bigger than just their own feelings and opinions ...