UPDATE (October 2, 2013): Hobby Lobby has responded to the incident with an apology. The following is the full apology, copied from their Facebook page. Below that is the full text of my original article.
Hobby Lobby apologizes for any possible employee comments that may have offended anyone, especially our Jewish customers and friends. Comments like these do not reflect the feelings of the Green family or Hobby Lobby. We are investigating this matter and do not tolerate discrimination at our company or our stores.
Hobby Lobby is currently working with our buyers over our merchandise selection. Our customers have brought this to our attention, and we are currently evaluating our holiday items and what we will carry in the future.
Full original article:
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Looking to get crafty for Hanukkah this year? Don’t look to Hobby Lobby.
After noticing that the Hobby Lobby in her area didn’t stock any Hanukkah-related craft supplies, one crafter asked a sales associate, and was told:
We don’t cater to you people.
Yep. “You people.” Seriously? I haven’t encountered anti-semitism in a very long time, and reading this quote really took me aback. Surely, this has to be the attitude of a single store or store clerk. Unfortunately, that is not the case.
Blogger Ken Berwitz, a friend of the crafter who inquired about Hanukkah-related supplies, contacted the main office. According to a piece he published at Hopelessly Partisan, they said that they did not stock supplies for Hanukkah:
Because Mr. Green is the owner of the company, he’s a Christian, and those are his values.
There’s been a lot of drama over these comments, but Hobby Lobby appears to be keeping mum about it. As of this writing, they have been deleting any questions or discussion about Hanukkah supplies on their Facebook page, and the only statement they’ve released is that they are “evaluating” their “Holiday items,” which is hardly an apology or a promise to be more inclusive.
This isn’t the first time that Hobby Lobby has gotten itself into the thick of controversy. In 2012, the company sued the federal government for the right to deny its female employees access to emergency contraception as part of its company health care plan. That legal battle is still ongoing.
Hobby Lobby: Opting Out
Obviously, Mr. Green is free to run his company any way he likes, but if he chooses to discriminate against a group of people in this way, we as ethical crafters can also choose to take our money elsewhere.
Why should we as crafters care what the owner of Hobby Lobby is doing? Just like with any other industry, crafters are consumers. We consume craft supplies, and every time we hand over cash or swipe our credit cards, we are casting a vote. Obviously, where you shop is up to you, but I am definitely going to be staying away.
The great news? Many green crafters don’t have to buy nearly as many craft supplies. The recycle bin is our craft store! Need some other alternatives to store-bought craft supplies? Check out this list of unusual sources for green craft supplies.
Image Credit: Menorah photo via Shutterstock