Return of the Prodigal Son by Pompeo Batoni - 1773

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Sunday, February 23, 2014

A Simple Phone Call

A Simple Phone Call

It’s that time of year – when people are blindsided by pornography in the grocery store aisle, in the form of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition.  Anyone who receives the magazine, by the way, can opt out of receiving the Swimsuit Edition and have their subscription extended by two issues.

This morning I went to the grocery store and saw, in the middle of the main aisle, a stand-alone display of the issue, whose cover can not be called anything but pornography.  I was actually shocked when I came upon it.  I figured I’d at least turn the front issues around backwards, but the back cover was just as bad. 

When I got home, I called the store and spoke to the manager.  I told him that it was bad enough I had to unwillingly see the cover, but as a father of four boys, I wouldn’t be able to bring my family back to the store.  His response both surprised and encouraged me.

He thanked me for calling and told me that the store is contractually obligated to provide the display.  However, once they receive a complaint, they are freed from that responsibility and permitted to put the magazine in a more inconspicuous place, with the cover….covered.  He promised to take care of it as soon as we got off the phone.

This may not be news to many people, but I found it enlightening.  How many store managers need only one phone call to clean up their stores?  Even if they don’t personally agree, as the one I spoke with seemed to, they know that no one will avoid a grocery store for not displaying the such things, but once they realize there are people who will when they do, no reasonable businessman would take the chance.

This is a great opportunity.  With one phone call, we can win back some dignity for the women in the magazine; we can protect the men who struggle with pornography, not to mention our own kids; and we can win one small victory over the devil for whom things like the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition can be a powerful weapon.