Bravo to Staples for having a policy that allows their employees to refuse service to people with which they disagree. A few days ago, they called my flyer about our High School Government Course “Obscene, Pornographic or Dangerous.”
That’s right. According to Staples, teaching kids about the three branches of government and the First Amendment is “OBSCENE, PORNOGRAPHIC OR DANGEROUS.”
Anyone else see the irony in this? We Constitution loving, free enterprise supporting Christians believe the First Amendment allows private individuals and businesses to associate with whom they wish, do business with whom they wish, and yes, refuse to do either of those things if they wish. Yet, Staples refused to print our flyer for teaching people that Staples has a right to refuse to print our flyer.
You might have to read that last line again.
I must admit that I got a chuckle out of the whole thing. The Staples employee was pretty worked up about how WallBuilders and “Christian Patriots” believe our faith should be allowed in the public square, including politics. Guilty as charged.
Fortunately, I took my flyer to a printer that did not mind doing business with Christians and even managed to get twice as many flyers for about the same price Staples charged me, so all things worked together for good once again (Romans 8:28). Shout out to Loris Printing in Sandusky, Ohio!!
I sent Staples a letter congratulating them on their policy:
Bravo Staples!! Free enterprise, and also the First Amendment, requires that private businesses “have the right to refuse service” (Jonathon’s exact words) and I applaud your exercise of those freedoms and your support of your employees exercising those freedoms. I trust you also support the exact same rights and freedoms for the baker down the street, or photographer, or venue owner who would not want to bake a cake for my event, or take my picture at my constitution classes, or rent their facility to me for a Constitution Class. And then, of course, I’m sure you would protect the exact same rights for all of those private businesses to also not participate in something that violates their conscience, whether that be a Constitution Class or homosexual wedding.
Of course, each of us in private business has the right to refuse business and we must also live with the market consequences (not government force, but customer decisions to do business with us or not). When I asked your employees if they thought it was a good business decision for Staples to refuse to print Christian materials that encourage study of the Constitution, the response was, “Staples is based in Canada and doesn’t care about the U.S. Constitution.” Very interesting response.
Again, I absolutely support your policy and your right to refuse service to Christians, or any other category of individuals with which you disagree. We’ll be sure to highlight your policy, and its implementation, on our radio show and social media outlets.
Since Staples has such a problem doing business with Christians, perhaps Christians across America should do a favor for Staples and stop going into their stores or ordering online. Save them from the stress and heartache. Find a local printer like I did and you just might find a better deal as well. You can vote with your dollars and possibly even save some dollars.
Meanwhile, I’m off to teach another class on the Constitution and how wonderful it is to choose whom we do business with, even bakers and photographers… oh, wait…I guess that’s not true in Oregon or Washington and a host of other places where the intolerant left is using the force of government coercion to prevent the very thing I’m applauding Staples for doing.
UPDATE: I found out today that Staples still charged me for the flyers they refused to print. When I asked for a refund, they said I had to come back to the Sandusky, OH store (1,500 miles from my home) to get a refund since they had no way to cancel the charge or refund the charge. I guess this is Staples best effort to add injury to insult (yea, backwards in this case). For a chain this large to have such ridiculous customer service is pretty sad.
UPDATE 4/28/17: I’m traveling today, but my wife tells me that Staples called a little while ago and said they were refunding the charges to my card. Also, for those being told this was a copyright issue, here’s the email they initially sent:
Then I called and got the whole bit about the print shop employee’s opposition to WallBuilders, Christian Patriots, etc., etc. It was not until the next employee arrived later that afternoon that suddenly “copyright” was thrown out. Of course, we have full permission for everything on the flyers. But even at that point (too late for me to get the flyers from them, nor would I have entrusted my project to them after what I was told over the phone by their own employees), the employees were still ranting about separation of church and state and saying they have the right to refuse service simply because of their opinion that WallBuilders is wrong on the First Amendment. Well, God Bless them, I’m glad they have that right and they were bold enough to use it and live with the market consequences.
And just to be super clear on the “copyright” issue…that was a 2nd flyer (see below). They still objected to the the one above (the main one) even though it did not have the “ChristianCinema.com” logo on it. So, first the print shop objected to both flyers because of “content and demagoguery,” then much later after I had tried to go through management and gotten nowhere, a new print shop employee shows up and asked about the ChristianCinema.com logo on the flyer below. They sell our show. They want us to use their logo. They have given permission. And this was not the main flyer at issue anyway.
UPDATE 5/4/17 – Staples just apologized. Just got off phone w/Office of the President for Staples & they say “we messed up, no other way to say it, no doubt about it. Your flyer should have been printed.” Apparently, they have received a lot of calls and posts and emails. Kudos for them trying to make it right. Learning more about their policy and whether it’s implemented across the board, left or right. I’m told it is and asked for evidence. More details to come…will update post as soon as I have more information.
UPDATE 5/5/17 –
I’m cautiously optimistic that Staples corporate is trying to do the right thing here…and it’s because so many of you lit up their FB page. Isn’t free enterprise awesome! The market will correct things far faster and better than trying to use government force and coercion. I didn’t ask anyone to post online or call Staples, y’all did it on your own, which I think is fantastic! HOWEVER, it’s a half-hearted attempt from Staples thus far… literally half a refund and half an apology, so we’ll see.
Here’s exactly where we stand. The Office of the President did, in fact, call and give me what I perceived to be a sincere, serious apology. Funny thing is that the Staples FB page had been apologizing to me 3rd party for days without my knowledge. As so many Christians posted on their FB page, they started replying with this:
After reviewing Mr. Green’s complaint, Staples agree that the materials requested to be copied were not obscene, pornographic or offensive in any way. Our associate made a mistake and we sincerely apologize to Mr. Green for this experience at Staples. At Staples, we respect all viewpoints and are sorry for any inconvenience this has caused Mr. Green and his business.
The Office of the President made it very clear THERE WAS NO COPYRIGHT ISSUE, but the Sandusky store is still telling people that whopper to cover up the anti-Christian, anti-Constitution bias that took place there. Perfectly legal and constitutional for them to be anti-constitution… or at least not want to print flyers encouraging study of the document. But wow, that sure hit the pocketbook quick for them. I’ll let you know when they give me the full refund and a written apology.
Here’s the real question and the main issue…
IF Staples allows an individual employee to refuse to print Christian material as long as they find another employee to immediately do it, DO THEY IMPLEMENT THAT POLICY ACROSS THE BOARD for Christians and Muslims and others that would not want to print homosexual marriage material? I’ve asked that question multiple times and I’m told that they do, but I’ve asked for proof. I’m told that exact scenario has happened and I’m looking forward to seeing the evidence. If it’s true… if they truly do allow employees to refuse service based on violation of conscience (whether conservative, liberal, Christian, Muslim, or atheist), if all of that is truly true, not just lip service… then I will be giving my business back to Staples and encouraging others to do the same.
Now, for the fun part, Staples sent me 30 pieces of silver. Well, okay, not really silver, just a $100 coupon. Since I would feel like it was 30 pieces of silver if I spent it, I want to give it away. But let’s have some fun in how we do this. I’m going to post this on Facebook and ask for people to nominate the charity to which I should give the $100 voucher. If you really want to have fun, then nominate someone that will print something at Staples that really puts their policy to the test!!! Pro-Lifers, pro-marriage advocates, whomever you think would annoy the liberals the most!!
TAKE HOME LESSON = FREEDOM WORKS!!!
When individuals and businesses decide for themselves, do business with whom they choose, and take their business elsewhere when they choose, everyone is better off than if government dragoons are trying to force their decisions on all of us! (think bakers, photographers, etc.)
Two very real examples of the market winning stand out in this case.
First, a business said no to creating my product for whatever reason they wanted and I took my business elsewhere. No one sued or asked the government to come force others to do business with them (which is just like the spoiled brat on the playground saying “make Johnny play with me!!!“).
Second, when a business makes decisions that their customers do not like, the customers can let them know and if the business wants to keep those customers, it can correct course. Exactly that happened here. Christians stood up and let their voice be heard and Staples immediately knew this was an important constituency and a big part of their customer base, so they took action to make it right. Please keep this lesson in mind. Let your voice be heard… in politics, in the marketplace, in your church, at your local school. If Christians will stop hiding in the corner and actually stand for principle, act on principle, explain the principle, and teach the principle… we can win this culture back to common sense and liberty.