Mixing business and politics is — more than likely — unwise. Whether you favor donkeys or elephants or some hybrid, you´re bound to tick off a sizable portion of your customer base if you go broadcasting your views instead of selling your wares.
A luxury car dealer took out a full-page ad in this morning´s Atlanta paper to publicly announce it is using its ad space to protest an editorial cartoon. In a political environment as polarized as the one in this country right now, I´d say this was an ill-advised decision.
There´s a barbecue restaurant near where I live that plasters its political views throughout the eatery, with photos and slogans covering the walls and with photographs of one party´s politicos glued to every tabletop.
My husband and I went there once, and we haven´t returned. True, we´re on the opposite side of the political fence from this restaurateur, but honestly I´m not sure politics reflecting my point of view would have aided my digestion, either. We went there wanting barbecue, not attitude. In Georgia, there´s no shortage of barbecue restaurants, so we stick to non-partisan hog cookeries when we crave pulled pork.
“Flo, I’ll take one barbecue sandwich, chips, slaw and a sweet iced-tea. Hold the politics.”
We live in the country, and stores out here in the boonies are few and far between, so we do shop at a nearby country store that proclaims the owner´s political opinions throughout the premises even though his opinions differ from ours. When you´re out of "therapeutic papers" — as toilet paper was called in "Broken Trail," this week´s Robert Duvall western on AMC — then you don´t much mind the politics of the person selling them. Put another way, perhaps retailers who feel the need to air their politics should do so only if the closest competitor is a 40-minute round trip away.
In general, it seems to me that retailers who keep their political views to themselves are smart because customer money carries the same value, no matter the politics of the spender. So, why take the chance of losing a customer because you can´t keep quiet about your politics?
There is a distinct difference between a political forum and a commercial establishment. And the first law of any commercial establishment is that customers are always right — yes, even if they vote differently than you do.