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Crossroads for Retailers: Ethics vs. Profit

Do you believe in boycotting or pressuring a store if it sells a product you don't believe in?

Maybe you saw the story about a group that pressured a San Rafael convenience store to yank some highly sweet alcoholic beverages known casually as alcopops off its shelves.

The Novato Blue Ribbon Coalition for Youth supports such efforts and is working to make Marin an alcopop-free zone. High-octane drinks such as Four Loko, Tilt and Sparks are obviously marketed to young people and cater to Marin's reputation (justified or unjustified) as a hub of youth binge drinking.

The coalition recently had a significant moral victory in another pressuring campaign against a business. The Tilly's apparel store at shopping center in Novato, which caters mostly to teens and young adults, had a window display that depicted a party atmosphere, with red cups strewn on the floor and big sign in the background that said "Get Tanked."

When several teens tied to the coalition approached store management about the inappropriate nature of the display and helped plan a protest in front of the store, employees were told by the corporate office to get rid of the "Get Tanked" window display. The protest was then turned into a public "thank you" session and attracted significant media attention.

So here are some questions for you:

  • How do you feel about public pressure on merchants to sell or not sell a product?
  • Should retailers have every right to sell whatever legal merchandise they want?
  • How much should ethics be considered before a merchant sells a product?
  • Do you believe in public boycotts?

Share your comments below.

Loree Draeger May 03, 2012 at 07:56 PM
Yes, I believe in ethical behavior @ all levels: personal business corporate government. Sad there r those who will sell/do anything 2 make a $. Believe in right/responsibility to organize and peacefully protest. Congrats to NBRC 4 Youth. U r action4 a better society. Loree Draeger

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