Meet Loren Spivack. An entrepreneurial sort, Spivak leased space for a kiosk in the Concord Hills shopping mall of Charlotte, NC, and sells bumper stickers, posters and other little doodads. Just another energetic American, trying to make a buck.
Spivack, however, committed the "sin" of selling bumper stickers with CONSERVATIVE ideas, ones that say things like "Impeach Obama" and "Work Harder, Obama Needs The Money." His kiosk - Free Market Warrior - also sells things with pro-life messages and criticism of various government agencies.
This caught the attention of a young airhead named Jennifer Ibanez, who doesn't like criticism of her political messiah, so she did what the education establishment has taught her to do: Instead of arguing on the merits, she calls the political criticism "racist." She and her girlfriends threatened to not shop at Concord Hills if the kiosk were allowed to stay in business.
Unbelievably, it worked. As you can see in the story here, Simon Property Group - the owner of Concord Hills - has told Mr. Spivack that his lease will not be renewed at the end of July because the items he sells aren't "neutral" enough.
Now, I understand the Simon Property Group is a private business, and it has a right to choose who will and won't be a tenant. But their outrage seems pretty selective. The Charlotte TV station covering the story noted that other stores in the mall sell t-shirts and other merchandise "so crude we've chosen not to share them."
In other words, Simon Property Group isn't opposed to profane, off-color messages, it's just opposed to conservative messages. Not very "neutral."
Well, just as Simon Property Group - and by the way, the group's owner, Mel Simon, is an Obama contributor - has a right to decide who their tenants are, we also have a right to decide where we shop and how we spend our dollars. And for my friends in Minnesota, there is a way to strike back.
According to Simon Property Group's web site - http://www.simon.com/ - the company owns three properties in Minnesota; The Albertville Outlet Mall, Maplewood Mall and Southdale. I used the "Guest Services" link on Simon's web site to let them know that I will never again shop at any of these three malls unless Free Market Warrior's lease is renewed. I realize it's a drop in the bucket - or even less - to a huge corporation, but it's my little way of trying to take a stand.
If you don't live in Minnesota, the http://www.simon.com/ site has an easy search function to show you what properties they own and operate around the country. It would nice if they heard from a number of us.