Shortly after the election, Bill Penzey, the CEO of Penzeys Spices, sent out an email decrying the results and the Trump brand of racism and hate that swept the country. It read, in part:
"The open embrace of racism by the Republican Party in this election is now unleashing a wave of ugliness unseen in this country for decades. The American people are taking notice. Let's commit to giving the people a better choice. Our kindness really is our strength."Right wing Trump apologists were beside themselves in fury and rage. They threatened to bring on a huge boycott and destroy the business.
Since I ask you to read my emails, I feel it's only right that I read each of your replies. In sifting through those replies it was clear that, though not intended, a good number of people seemed to sincerely believe in my statement I was calling all Republicans racists. In the emails of those Republicans who voted for someone other than the party's nominee, I sensed genuine pain at having the strength of character to not go along with what was happening, but nonetheless be grouped in with those who were. I apologize for writing something that caused you pain; that is not the person I want to be. You are your party's future, and you deserve my admiration and respect, and your country's as well.
For the rest of you, you just voted for an openly racist candidate for the presidency of the United States of America. In your defense, most of you did so without thinking of the consequences of your candidate's racism because, for most of you the heartbreaking destruction racism causes has never been anything you or your loved ones have had to experience. But the thing is elections have their consequences. This is no longer sixty years ago. Whether any of us like it or not, for the next four years the 80% of this country who did not just vote for an openly racist candidate are going to treat you like you are the kind of person who would vote for an openly racist candidate.
You can get angry at everyone else for treating you like you just did the thing you just did, or you can take responsibility for your actions and begin to make amends. If you are lucky and younger family members are still coming over for Thanksgiving, before it's too late, take a moment and honestly think about how your actions must look through their eyes. Simply saying "I never thought he'd win" might be enough. But if you have the means, leaving a receipt from a sizable donation to the ACLU or the SPLC accidentally laying around where you carve the turkey, might go over even better.
And they failed miserably.
Apparently, Penzey's email struck a chord with many Americans because business went through the roof:
According to that Dec. 1 email sent to customers, online sales are up 59.9 percent and gift box sales are up 135 percent since those remarks. Apparently, customer loss — even though there were promises of boycott on social media in protest of Penzey's comments — wasn't much of a problem for the spice maker.Looking at the company's Facebook page, the gentle reader can see that the accolades are continuing to pour in, supporting Penzey for his courageous stand.
"Willing to take a hit for what is right, we did what we did," the company said in Thursday's email. "In the two weeks since, online sales are up 59.9 percent, gift box sales up 135 percent. And we didn't have a catalog arrive in this window this year, while last year we had 1.1 million!
"Yes, maybe for the moment we have lost 3 percent of our customers because of the so-called 'right wing firestorm.' And, yes, they send emails of rage, and ALL CAPS, and bad language with the hope of creating the perception that they are bigger than they really are. But what we learned is that, in terms of retail spending, Donald Trump simply has no one supporting his views for America. He has no constituency."
When I was but a boy, my dear late mother made sure that I knew how to cook so that I could take care of myself when the need arose. Besides teaching me the basics, she also taught me the importance of using the proper ingredients. This included fresh spices from Penzeys. Since then, I refuse to use anything but in cooking my meals. It really is that good.
Kudos to Bill Penzey for putting his personal reputation and his business on the line in order to take a stand for Americans and American values. If only we had more business and civic leaders who show real leadership like he does.