Why I will not do business with Penzeys Spices any more...
I received this email from the head of Penzeys Spices, a company that I have enjoyed products from for several years. I am happy he made known his beliefs and feelings about almost half of the voters in this country, so that I could make a more informed decision on where I spend my hard earned dollars.
Here is the relevant portion of the email from Bill Penzey.
Racism Update: At Penzeys we believe it's not the use of tools that set us on a different path from the rest of the animal world; what has set humanity in motion is cooking. In our nearly a million years gathered together around the fire, cooking shaped our bodies and transformed our minds. Cooking unlocked our potential and gave birth to reason, to religion, and to politics and government. The kindness of tens of thousands of generations of cooks created our humanity, but racism, sexism, and homophobia can all very quickly unravel all the goodness cooking puts out into the world. As the voice of cooks, we will never sit idly by while that happens.
You may have read Tuesday Night's email. In it I said: "The open embrace of racism by the Republican Party in this election is now unleashing a wave of ugliness unseen in this country for decades. The American people are taking notice. Let's commit to giving the people a better choice. Our kindness really is our strength."
Since I ask you to read my emails, I feel it's only right that I read each of your replies. In sifting through those replies it was clear that, though not intended, a good number of people seemed to sincerely believe that in my statement I was calling all Republicans racists. In the emails of those Republicans who voted for someone other than the party's nominee, I sensed genuine pain at having the strength of character to not go along with what was happening, but nonetheless be grouped in with those who were. I apologize for writing something that caused you pain; that is not the person I want to be. You are your party's future, and you deserve my admiration and respect, and your country's as well.
For the rest of you, you just voted for an openly racist candidate for the presidency of the United States of America. In your defense, most of you did so without thinking of the consequences of your candidate's racism, because for most of you the heartbreaking destruction racism causes has never been anything you or your loved ones have had to experience. But the thing is elections have their consequences. This is no longer sixty years ago. Whether any of us like it or not, for the next four years the 80% of this country who did not just vote for an openly racist candidate are going to treat you like you are the kind of person who would vote for an openly racist candidate.
You can get angry at everyone else for treating you like you just did the thing you just did, or you can take responsibility for your actions and begin to make amends. If you are lucky and younger family members are still coming over for Thanksgiving, before it's too late, take a moment and honestly think about how your actions must look through their eyes. Simply saying "I never thought he'd win" might be enough. But if you have the means, leaving a receipt from a sizable donation to the ACLU or the SPLC accidentally laying around where you carve the turkey, might go over even better.
Or, just do what you do best and volunteer. Through our customers' support, we've given away a lot of our Penzeys Pepper, the Pepper with heart. More often than not, those we meet cooking and serving food to feed those in need are Republicans. You really are a good bunch, but you just committed the biggest act of racism in American history since Wallace stood in the schoolhouse doorway 53 years ago. Make this right. Take ownership for what you have done and begin the pathway forward.
Here is the reply I emailed to him at the email he included above.
Dear Bill Penzey.
Thank you for your recent letter following the 2016 election. I am glad you chose to make your opinion of nearly half of the voters in this country known. Alas, since you believe I am a racist homophobe, I must point out that you in fact voted for the racist candidate, in Hillary Clinton. She holds up Margaret Sanger as a personal hero, Sanger, who openly embraced eugenics and sought to eliminate those she saw as lesser races.
Since I believe my political beliefs are incompatible with yours, I will no longer be doing business with Penzeys. I will not denigrate you for your political beliefs, but I will vote with my pocket book, and take my business elsewhere.
There are other companies selling quality spices. In fact, there is a competing family business in the Penzey clan, one that does not concern itself publically with politics. So, if you are disturbed at being called a racist, or other political flashpoint names by someone you have never met, based strictly on how you chose to vote, I urge you to carefully think of how and where you spend your hard earned dollars, because publically denigrating a significant portion of your customer base has consequences too.