While we are familiar with the get-woke-go-broke model, ‘’going stupid’’ is a new advertising ploy.
It has been a bit of a thorny time for businesses in this era of extreme activism. Some were lured into making virtue signaling pronouncements, ending up looking foolish or guilty in the process. Others have tried remaining neutral, running the risk of appearing either uncaring or somehow supporting racist views. Still others try to go fully proactive in their efforts, like one such business in Georgia, that led to messy results.
Civvies, in Savannah Georgia, like many businesses has been looking for ways to survive in the time of Covid. The trendy vintage fashion store (read ‘’used clothing’’) has resorted to taking refundable deposits of $20 to reserve an appointment to shop at their location, once it reopened following the shut downs. Then the protest movement reared up.
Since Black Lives Matter has become a force once again Civvies elected to make a decision in response — the store announced that it would be waiving this reservation fee for people of color. Non POC individuals – that is, whites — would still have the fee applied. This has created a firestorm of reactions, with people going so far as to threaten lawsuits over discrimination.
While this strikes as being well over the line of being a melodramatic response, the fact remains the store operators brought on this reaction. “Most of the feedback about our decision to waive this refundable deposit is racist because it favors Black people, indigenous people and people of color,” said store manager, Raine Blunk. More than the decision coming off as an entirely race-based policy in a time when there is a call to not to judge on race, the motivation behind this decision is also — as some say — problematic.
Blunk says the businesses main goal is to bring about equality to people of color. “They are at this time the most likely to be affected by the poverty,” said Blunk. “This is not based on a racial preference on Black people, indigenous people, people of color, it is based on a fact that that group of people are most likely to be affected by a loss of historical equity
And there it is, the soft bigotry of low expectations. The default mindset that anything seen in society that is categorized as negative is assumed to have an even more adverse effect on POC citizens is entirely in play. This sounds like it is directly in line with the personal stances of the owners and staff.
On Facebook they have been in full support of the BLM movement, and providing links to donate to the bail funds, to help rioters who have been arrested. The posting announcing their policy has been removed, but one commenter captured a screenshot of the post. There is also an indication of a heavily political mindset at the location.
While there is a flood of negative comments currently being felt by the store you can get a sense of the mindset from much older reviews. Looking back last fall there are comments to the effect that the activism is tangible. ‘’The staff is incredibly rude to anyone who’s isn’t visibly alternative/queer,’’ read on from last November. In October one wrote, ‘’I really like this store but was caught off guard when they wouldn’t sell me a shirt because of its “ethnic” background. Apparently I had to be from India to purchase a shirt made in India.’’ One other pithily wrote, ‘’Not sure if this place was a thrift shop or a subsidiary of the DNC.’’
So we can understand the drive for the management to become more visible in its activism, but what makes less sense is why any company reliant upon revenues would take steps to repel potential customers. This temptation to do the right thing and appear a ‘’proper’’ business continues to be the ever evolving challenge for companies in 2020.