One of my Jewish friends is getting married and she was planning to go shopping for a wedding dress. When she called to make an appointment at a bridal boutique she gave her full name, only to have the owner of said boutique suddenly ask her if she was Jewish.
“Yes, I am.”
“Oh my, no, I’m sorry we cannot make an appointment for you.”
“Why not!?” She was shocked, to say the least.
“My family has very strong religious beliefs and we do not serve Jews as a result. I will not provide a wedding dress for a Jewish wedding, it goes against my beliefs.”
“I can’t believe this, I just want to buy a dress.”
“I’m sorry, you’ll have to go somewhere else.”
“Oh I will, but I’m going to tell everyone I know about this. This is completely insane.”
So she went home and she wrote about this on facebook, where I and her other friends saw it. Now I’m not Jewish, nor were many of her friends, but we were still really upset that someone would treat her like this. We all shared the post and told all our other friends about it. This post, as social media tends to do, went viral. Soon the boutique was getting calls and emails from angry people, many of whom had never visited the boutique, but were still very upset at the way this business owner was behaving.
As a result of the bad press, the business owner and her employees suffered economic setbacks due to people refusing to shop at the store after hearing about their treatment of my friend.*
Who is the bad guy in this situation? Sure my friend and I didn’t have to spread the news of this person’s treatment of her, but neither of us are responsible for the success or failure of a business, that’s the responsibility of the business owner. The business owner creates or kills their success based on how they treat customers, because word of mouth is really the best advertising a business can get.
That’s how the free market works and it’s exactly what I’ve said should be the response when a business practices discrimination against someone:
Now if you decide to discriminate against people (you won’t serve Jews, rent to gays, or hire black people) you may take a blow to your business. This is because of the free market, the same reason why I believe in your right to discriminate. The free market means that you are undoubtedly not the only restaurant, bakery, apartment complex, or landlord within a reasonable distance and if you turn away customers, who then go talk to their friends and family and tell them not the shop there for whatever reason (even if they aren’t Jewish, gay, or black. I’m white and still wouldn’t spend money at a KKK-run restaurant) that is not good publicity and chances are your local news will catch wind of it and you will end up with loss of business.
– Why I Support Discrimination
Discriminating for a religious reason doesn’t protect you from criticism or the repercussions of your discrimination. Which is why you should probably consider your business and your employee’s livelihoods when you are deciding who you are refusing service to and why.
This is a conservative idea, in point of fact. Don’t get the government involved, use the free market to create change where you see a need for change, etc.
So why, pray tell, do we have conservatives (gay conservatives at that) calling this action “fascist”** when a gay couple do this exact same thing?
A Christian bridal shop owner in Pennsylvania had a message for a pair of blushing brides-to-be: We don’t serve lesbians.
The unidentified couple tried to schedule an appointment at W.W. Bridal Boutique in Bloomsburg, only to be told by an employee that the owner currently “[does] not service same-sex couples.”
“We feel we have to answer to God for what we do,” owner Victoria Miller told The Press Enterprise. And providing those two girls dresses for a sanctified marriage would break God’s law.”
The rejected women turned to Facebook, where a post about the store’s behavior soon went viral.
Online listings for the boutique were soon flooded with one-star reviews.
– NY Daily News
Discrimination is just plain bad business practice, granted it is a bad business practice that I believe you should be free to practice without fear of the government punishing you through lawsuits or regulation, but it’s still a bad business practice. I do feel bad that someone has likely lost their business (and employees have lost their jobs) over this situation, but that’s how capitalism works. If you offend your customer base, you’re not going to keep making money.
What this Pennsylvania couple did is no different than the bad review I left on Yelp and Instagram last month for my old hair salon or the review I left on Best Buy’s facebook page when they refused to honor the warranty on my laptop. Sure this particular complaint grew legs and had a much more obvious impact on the bridal boutique than my complaints, but it’s really no different.
I wouldn’t sue Best Buy or that hair salon, but I sure as hell will complain about the way they treated me. This isn’t about bullying people who don’t believe in gay marriage (I fully feel a lawsuit is bullying), this is about a business providing extremely bad service, which offended many, and the consequences of that bad service.
I will support your right to discriminate as much as you want, but that doesn’t mean you won’t suffer for it.
*None of this really happened, it was actually just a fictional recreation of the actual events I’m bitching about in this article.
**If you think this is Fascism, you don’t know what fascism is.