By Todd Starnes
Lots of folks around the Midwest are looking for another place to buy their butter beans after a major grocery store chain gave the Girl Scouts and the Salvation Army the heave-ho.
Schnucks, based in St. Louis, announced a new policy banning all solicitors — and that includes little girls selling Thin Mints and Tagalongs.
“Our primary obligation is servicing our customers by providing the most pleasant and convenient shopping environment,” company spokesman Paul Simon said in a statement to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “Because of this we have decided to end the solicitation of our customers or distribution of written or other materials at our stores.”
For the record, Schnucks is a privately owned company and the owners have a right to run their business however they see fit. But they might want to reconsider calling themselves the “friendliest store in town.”
Friendly stores don’t boot bell ringers or little girls selling cookies. I’m just saying…
Mr. Simon told the Post-Dispatch that the policy change is intended to “maintain and promote a safe, attractive, clutter-free shopping environment for our customers.”
I’m not sure that explanation passes muster — unless the customers have been accosted by ugly Girl Scouts or manhandled by bell ringers.
So, there must be another reason — and the Post-Dispatch has a pretty good hunch.
It turns out the grocery store chain is embroiled in a nasty fight with a local union involving layoffs. For the past few months Teamsters Local 688 has set up pickets outside the stores.
Schnucks won’t say if that’s the reason for their policy change – but you can pretty much connect the dots.
Dan Jennings is with the Salvation Army. He said they were mighty appreciative of the support Schnucks had given them in the past.
“They’re one of the best locations for us in the St. Louis region,” Jennings told the newspaper. “Our hope is that as people find out we’re not in front of Schnucks stores this year, hopefully people will be generous at the spots where we will be ringing.”
“We’ll continue to have to feed people, and this will make it more difficult for us to do that,” Jennings said.
It’s too bad about the Salvation Army. The money collected in those red kettles — helps a lot of folks.
Maybe, just, maybe – Schnucks will reconsider its policy — and unring the bell they’ve rung.
On a side note, I can understand their concerns. My neighborhood grocery store is cluttered with all sorts of liberal groups wanting us to sign petitions to save the kumquats or donate money to support left-wing community organizers.
I was once accosted by a representative from PETA – the animals rights folks. She demanded to know if I loved animals.
“Only if they’re deep-fried,” I replied.
PETA never bothered me again.