Friday, May 29, 2009

A Sad Day



We did our traditional Memorial Day video post last weekend, as the day is commonly celebrated now on the last Monday in May. (If you missed our Memorial Day 2009 video, the video has the first song written for Memorial Day and it is worth watching.) But it was originally celebrated on May 30th and the local VFW will be out today and tomorrow distributing the famous Buddy Poppies as is their tradition.

So our Jan walked the 2 blocks this morning to her twice a year post at the local Ingle's supermarket. Ingle's is the only American-owned supermarket chain left, so there is certainly no conflict of interest with American veterans. But at 12:30 PM, 2 1/2 hours into her 4-hour shift, and as traffic was picking up, the manager, Chris, came outside with the bad news.

Yesterday it was okay to distribute Poppies outside Ingle's. But today Chris received an email from Corporate through his District Manager. No more solicitations. No Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, church groups, etc .... and no veterans organizations. The VFW permission was rescinded and Jan was politely "evicted" from her post, with apologies to the VFW from the local manager.

Now Jan doesn't blame Chris. To be blunt, Chris has to do what he is told or he will lose his job. Whether he agrees or disagrees, he has to follow the dictates of Corporate Ingle's. She understands his dilemma. But what was Corporate's rush? Something about "potential liability" and one incident at one Ingle's, location unknown. Who was involved in the incident? Wasn't Jan! Probably wasn't the VFW either. But now no one can solicit contributions outside any Ingle's supermarket throughout six southeastern states.

Bob Ingle, you used to have a heart. We understand that times are changing but some of your stores are located in small rural towns where selling donuts for church projects or raising funds for small organizations in front of local supermarkets has long been a part of community life. Goodness, even the small fire departments have had "Boot Drives" outside of Ingle's over the years. And the VFW ... where would you and your corporation be without American vets, Bob?

There are a lot of vets in this town. Jan always runs into those who donate small change or a dollar or two -- with tears in their eyes for those who served and are no longer with them.

A woman going into the store almost broke down because she recently lost her father, a vet, and is going through a tough time financially. On the way out, trying to smile, she asked Jan, "Could I have a Poppy for my daughter in the car?" She started digging in her purse, " I might be able to find some change." Jan handed her one and said, "Don't worry, everyone gets into a financial bind sometimes." The tears started, "That's just what he would have said." And Jan got a hug. That's the type of interaction Jan says makes standing/sitting around a parking lot for several hours worthwhile.

Cutting Jan off during the busiest time of the shift hurt donations, but the VFW will survive. Tomorrow, instead of walking to her post at Ingle's, Jan will have to drive to Wal-mart. That irks her, since she has been penny-pinching to try to make ends meet.

But Jan isn't angry, she's sad. Sad that an American-owned company has forgotten why they prospered. Loyal customers. Small town community involvement. But now, Ingle's stores are no longer allowed to donate any item to an organization for a door prize. Jan learned that back in early April when the word came down from Corporate, just as the local Humane Society was seeking small door prizes for the benefit car show. Now Ingle's wont allow any organization to do a fundraiser outside their stores.

So, Bob Ingle, if we knew you would read the messages, we would ask readers to send you an email asking why this sudden (sudden is an understatement!) radical change in policy and whether you would consider restoring good public relations with the communities where you have stores. One bad experience killed the program? Must have been one he** (we're not allowed to use that word) of an incident. This is Ingle's Markets website.

Yes, this is a very sad day. We should honor our veterans, not chase them off in the middle of a fundraiser. (To clarify, Jan is not a vet, her brothers are. She's with the VFW Auxiliary so she can help the local VFW. ) So if you see a vet distributing poppies tomorrow -- anywhere other than Ingle's, of course -- we hope you will give a donation to help the organization.

27 comments:

  1. Our local stores have been so good about supporting community projects. Now I'm afraid this will spread to other stores like so many changes do.

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  2. We don't understand why they would want to stop a good thing like that.Then again a lot of things happen that make us sad and we don't understand. We're sorry to hear this Jan.

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  3. This really ticks me off. This store is disregarding the contribution of our men and women who have and are serving. We will be writing an email to Mr. Ingle.

    And I will not only buy one poppy tomorrow, I'll buy 10.

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  4. Mom can't believe that Jan wasn't allowed to finish! The whole point of a community store is to aid the community.

    Woof

    velcro

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  5. That sukhks -

    I'm furtunate our lokhal chain is good about things as well as having a khart to leave pet donations -

    Let's hope he listens to his KHUSTOMERS that keep HIS store in business -

    Let's hope he's not next to a khrysler or gm dealership - he'll REALLY feel lonely -

    Hugz&Khysses,
    Khyra

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  6. Talk about losing sight of the important things! We're sorry to see this sort of thing happening. Mum always tries to contribute to fundraisers for community organisations, 'cos she says that often they're doing stuff that no one else will do, or filling in the gaps that government organisations miss. She never misses buying a poppy either. Thanks for helping out Jan,

    Purrs

    Gypsy & Tasha

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  7. Lynne Stevenson5/30/2009 1:02 AM

    Sounds as if Ingles is going the way of Starbucks and other companies who refused to help the soldiers overseas with free samples and cut rates on their merchandise...There is such a thing as being "too politically correct" sometimes...

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  8. This is so sad................we supposes they were worried about being sued or something, but we thinks they were wrong.

    We will be on the lookout for poppies, so we can support the VFW.

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  9. I suppose the days of building community are fading. I can't imagine how a corporate organization can find this move to bring more business into their stores. I wonder what they were thinking...

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  10. That just stinks! Plain and simple. Great post, you guys.
    Tail wags,
    Storms

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  11. It seems there are lots of organizations, patriotic, service-oriented, religious, et. al., that are being quashed. Only the government is allowed to solicit your funds, I guess. They can't have my Temptations green papers, though!

    I'd buy a poppy from a vet no matter where he/she was..I admire and thank them!

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  12. This is not only sad, but Mama thinks this is disgusting. It's a good thing there are no Ingle's in our part of Connecticut or Mama would be throwing rotten eggs at the store.

    Corporate America always seems to step on the little guy.

    Love -

    Hershey and Kaci

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  13. Sorry to hear that they won't let you help the Vet's. Our local store often has groups selling stuff or the poppy guy. .

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  14. That is a crock! Corporate doesn't know anything about the local merchants and the communities that they try to set up rules.
    I don't understand the reasoning behind this. If there are organizations soliciting and you don't want to contribute just be nice and say not at this time. I wonder if some have complained, that is because they are cheap and don't want to support any good cause. Maybe you will be able to find another place that will be more giving of your time. This is all for such a good cause.

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  15. It is always the one bad apple that spoils the basket - that's probably what happened here - at least other places are still allowing it. T.

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  16. This makes me very sad! I just don't understand some people at all!

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  17. We're very sad to hear about this. Mom's definitely on the lookout for poppies in our town now.

    Thank you all so much for your kind words over the loss of Mom's Gramma last week. We're so blessed to have such great friends.

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  18. oh boy... we are very sad about this. We hope that you can celebrate with your happy babies instead.

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  19. That is sad news. There doesn't seem to be any community anymore when it comes to stores. All of the big ones are alike from city to city and they get their orders (good and bad) from "corporate."

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  20. We saw your comment about The Cat Who. The humans in this house like to listen to the books on CD while they are driving to their walk for the Monty dog ... they get them from the library. They also have a bunch of them books!!

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  21. Oh, Jan -- I have tears in my eyes. I'm so sorry to hear this. Seems more and more "corporate" is valued over "community" every day, and it's just so sad and misguided. :(

    Hugs from The Ballicus Mom and purrs from MaoMao, Dorydoo, Marilyn MonREOW and Brainball.

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  22. I'm sowwy to heaw that..so unfaiw..so many things change and not fow the bettew. I hope the vets can still fundwaise and weceive the honow they desewve!
    love and smoochie kisses
    ASTA

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  23. Please give Jan a hug for us.. we don't understand why some things happen.. :(

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  24. When I worked at Target, they stopped all that as well. They claimed it was an insurance issue and didn't want to be responsible for patrons that got hurt while "avoiding" or "donating". Bottom line (coming from a management of retail for over 20 years) Big corporations and little corporations (if there is such a thing left) do not care about the little people or how it effects them. =(

    Laure

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  25. That is shocking and sad. Politics gets in the way of good deeds and kindness too often. You'd think that Mr. Ingle, or whatever his name is, would honour the brave men and women who fought for his freedom. Not nice!!

    Poop to him.

    xoxoxo
    Chef

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