Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Dick's et al

At some point in the next week, I will buy something from Dick's Sporting Goods. I'm not sure what I'll get... a new yoga mat, perhaps, or some new sneakers. I would hope anyone who feels passionately about the need for gun control reform will do the same.

If you missed it, in my previous post I suggested that making changes to the gun culture in the United States will be a long and arduous process, but we can bring about those changes, just as we changed the societal norm of smoking a few decades ago. Instead of sweeping legislation (that I would love to see but seems improbable since so many politicians are more concerned with saving their seats instead of saving lives), we can turn the ship around by means of small, incremental steps with the goal in mind of not overturning The Sacred Second Amendment but rather limiting accessibility to mass-kill weapons and accessories and doing more thorough background checks (just for starters).

Last weekend, MetLife, a company that offers life insurance and other financial products, was the first to come forward and say, "We will no longer offer discounts to NRA members." Company executives stated that this policy change was made because "We value all our customers" (emphasis mine). Aaaaand BOOM, just like that, within 24 hours, a long list of companies followed, including major airlines, car rental companies, software companies, and so on. When I travel to Missouri in June, I will be reviewing that list of companies to find the airline and car rental agency I will patronize as a way of supporting their courage to do something, however small.

This morning, the CEO of Dick's Sporting Goods made an appearance on Good Morning America to announce that the company will no longer sell assault style rifles or high capacity magazines, nor will they sell a firearm to persons under the age of 21. Bravo. And so to support the company's brave step (because, yep, they know it will--at least temporarily while some folks throw temper tantrums at not being able to purchase all the pretty shiny destructive toys they want--reduce sales and result in a decrease in stock value), I will be buying something—anything—from the Dick's in Upland, California when I head out that way later this week.

Small steps... these are small steps. But they are similar to decisions made by owners of chain and independent restaurants a few decades ago that banned smoking inside the restaurant. Everyone said those businesses would lose business. In fact, studies have shown that restaurants and bars that have banned smoking (in some states, you can still light up inside your local pub) have not seen any decrease in revenue.

I imagine Dick's will see a small blip in sales... maybe... but maybe good-hearted folks around the country will do as I am doing, decide the kids need new sneakers this month or some cleats for Little League coming up in the spring or a really nice hoodie from The North Face or Field and Stream. Spread the word. Maybe we can make that happen, and maybe Dick's will see, in its next quarter financial report, that sales actually increased after this critically important, potentially life-saving decision.

Wouldn't that be cool? 

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