Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Yo, Kroger. Is the craven coward thing paying off for you yet?

The following is addressed to the decision makers at Kroger / Fred Meyer, whoever you are and wherever you may be, who have now simply removed entirely gun and ammo counters, even from a store in Alaska, in response to partisan political pressure.  Let me be really clear here:  if you had a hand in promoting or making this happen--then "you" in what follows means you, personally.

Listening?  Good.  This part is important:

You are invertebrate, 
craven cowards.  

Get that?

Do you even know what the word craven means?  It really is not possible to use the word more literally.  Or more sincerely.

Harsh, you say?  Hell yes, what you've done is harsh.  Oh, me, you say?  Ha!  I'm just being honest.  It's not even comparable to say that I am responding in kind;  I am being far more polite than that.

Let's be clear about one other thing, too:

You chose this path.  

You did not have to, but you did anyway.

Oh, don't get me wrong.  I'm not saying the choice shouldn't have been yours to make.  It's your business, and I'll defend your right to make your own business decisions until my dying breath.  Even if those actions are spineless, contemptible, and misanthropic.  (Liberty does not require decency, or even mutual respect.)

But the flip side of the freedom to make your own choices, is that then you own them--at least in the eyes of decent people, who do not presume to mind the business of others.

And you do own this misanthropic abomination you now call policy.  You have chosen to hock a giant greenie at untold thousands of customers, quietly loyal to you for untold years, to the tune of untold millions of revenue dollars, across product lines going far beyond guns and ammo.  And you did it in despicably craven deference to a simple loud-mouthed mob, self-arrogated minders of other people's business, crusading with nearly comic religious fervor to forcibly impose prior restraint upon millions of people who have harmed no one.  (You are aware, I presume, that the public face of this lynch mob, prior to the transparent co-opting of its tragic celebrity by veteran partisan zealots, and its subsequent miraculous conversion into instant national gun policy experts, was best known for being unable to resist eating Tide Pods on a dare?)

You do understand, I presume, that their coercion tactics have been wildly successful on you thus far?  I mean, let's not mince words:  they told you what to do, and you could hardly heel-snap into line fast enough.

So, here are some questions for you, now that you've made this bed and have to lay in it.  Even if you're not real happy with me at the moment for being so honest and all, you really should consider what the answers are.  (Truth, and reality, do not require your agreement, nor even your consent.)
  • Do you really believe that, having caved without any real effort at all on this demand, that they will leave you alone now?  Do you?  Because either you do, or you don't.  If you don't believe it, then what's the payoff supposed to be?  If you do believe they'll go away now that you've caved, then you're as stupid as you are spineless--and QED that's saying something.
  • Do you actually buy the stank these meddlesome piddlewits are pimping?  I mean seriously:  this crowd talks as if they are selling their ideas on the basis of some sort of calculable performance, but try this experiment if you want to learn something:  ask any of these people, if they truly believe in this notion of performance, what their "tipping point" is--that point at which their chosen statistic or metric goes the other way and will cause them to agitate against forcible prior restraint, and for actual liberty.  Just watch what happens.
  • Do you think we--both the actual "gunnies", and other liberty-loving types for whom guns may be unimportant but principle still is--will simply not notice what you've done?  The complete removal of the entire gun-and-ammo counter is actually an up-the-ante move from the more well-publicized decision to ignore state law and further restrict sales based on arbitrary age.  (In my local store, the age-restriction sign still hangs above the now-simply-not-there gun counter, mockingly.)  I suppose this idea shouldn't be that surprising, since you've so clearly chosen to throw us under the bus in preference to your new policy-shouting besties, but will your gamble pay off?
  • Did you trade up, in spitting on people like me to welcome the hipster polypragmatoi?  Or did you maybe miscalculate and trade down?  If I were you, I'd pay attention to that.
  • Do you even know how many of your customers you've pissed off, by pissing on?

You could have told the meddlesome nitwits to pound sand in a hundred ways, and you could have simply ignored them into the irrelevancy they so richly deserve in a hundred more.  You didn't.  You capitulated immediately, with not even an obvious objection, much less any meaningful resistance.

The right to make that choice was, and is, yours.  The right to call it out as contemptible, craven cowardice, and pure antipathy to your customers, is mine.  

And here's the final rub:

It was pointless.

Yes, pointless.  No good will come of it.  If you don't understand that yet, don't worry, you will some day.  (I suspect there is a lot you haven't yet figured out about political crusaders;  if you think I'm a pain to deal with here, just you wait.)  

In the meantime, ponder this last question:

What will you do
when you figure out 
you've been played 
for nothing?

The late Mike Vanderboegh--a much missed voice in this tiresome age--used to love to quote Frank Zappa at moments like this, and it is with Mike in mind that I (as an unabashed Zappa fan of my own) offer this Frank-ism in parting:

Do you love it?
Do you hate it?
There it is,
The way you made it.

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