Nordstrom says it will stop selling Ivanka Trump clothing and accessories, creating some questions about the future of the brand elsewhere.
That innocuous headline caught my eye Friday, because it confirmed the arrival of what FOX Business Network and SRN financial commentator Lou Dobbs brilliantly calls “Corporate Bullying.”
Naturally, Seattle-based Nordstrom stores won’t cop to knuckling-under to threats of “boycotts” by ad hoc online terrorists like the group #Grab Your Wallet. When I contacted Nordstrom headquarters to get the straight-skinny on why Ivanka Trump’s product line is really being dropped. I received the following homogenized, weasel-worded response from “Scott L.” in Nordstrom Customer Care center:
Thank you for being a long time customer and for sharing your stance on this issue. Nordstrom aims to be a fair and impartial business during these tumultuous times, and we definitely take every email, call, and chat about this situation to heart. Based on customer sales for the Ivanka Trump brand, we have decided not to buy it for this Spring season. Please be assured that this was not a politically influenced decision in any way. I will definitely communicate your feedback to our management, as we want to give equal attention to every customer’s stance on the matter. Thank you for your time.
Full disclosure: I do not personally know “Scott L.” so I have no portfolio for-or-against against him personally. But his response is both evasive and nonsensical for two reasons: (a) Nordstrom clearly is making a politically influenced decision by caving to irrational threats of boycotts from groups with little more than a website and self-generated letterhead and (b) the proof is in their announcement itself. If kicking Ivanka Trump to the curb is NOT political, I’d like Nordstrom to provide their announcements and press releases of any other product lines they have dropped in the past. I requested such a list and…..crickets.
Nordstrom’s thus joins the Rogue’s Gallery of businesses trying to appease fringe, Occupy Wall Street-types (most of whom are unlikely to have ever set foot in any Nordstrom’s store) who have ramped-up an outrageous, vengeful campaign against any business even tangentially tied to our 45th President.
Uber CEO Travis Kalanick abruptly resigned from President Trump’s Business Advisory Council—
a sounding board for top business leaders to communicate directly with Mr. Trump—after his company was under online attack accusing his drivers of (gasp!) seeking profits by giving rides to airport customers during a taxi strike by folks protesting the Administration’s immigration policy. Of course, a logical individual would have kept his seat at the table, and spoken out directly when in the President’s presence. But the new pestilence of Corporate Bullying dictated Kalanick drop off the advisory board entirely.
Then we have the case of small-business owner Casey Patten, co-founder of Washington, D.C. hoagie chain Taylor Gourmet. His offense was merely being photographed talking with President Trump at a White House meeting on ways to help small businesses succeed and create more jobs. That picture unleashed a Twitter barrage against Patten, including one call to boycott his stores “and make him a really small business.” So Patten—who has poured his lifeblood into creating businesses to employ and serve the predominantly African American community in the District of Columbia—is now Count Dracula in the eyes of these Corporate Bullying knuckleheads. They’re a direct outgrowth of the lawless mobs who burned down stores in Ferguson, MO and Baltimore and then woke up complaining they had to drive many miles to get their groceries or fill their prescriptions.
Make no mistake: #Grab Your Wallet won’t stop after bullying weak-kneed, high end stores like Nordstrom and Neiman Marcus into removing Ivanka Trump’s scarves and handbags from their shelves. The list of “targets” on their website reads like a Who’s Who of successful American businesses: Wal-Mart, Sears, LL Bean, TJ Maxx, Bed Bath & Beyond and “bookstores selling books by and about the Trump family” are on their blacklist. So is Welch’s Grape Juice, an advertiser on the now Arnold Schwarzenegger-hosted Celebrity Apprentice. Oh, and they’re calling on everyone to boycott NASCAR (good luck!) merely because their CEO endorsed Donald Trump for President.
In a perfect world, boycott threats from anonymous pipsqueaks like #Grab Your Wallet would bounce off successful entrepreneurs like bullets off the Man of Steel. But as we all know, we do not live in a perfect world. So companies with a view of the world similar to that of an ant head-for-the-hills if they receive an e-mail or a some phonecalls ginned-up by non-customers whose agenda will in no way enrich their bottom lines.
The irony is that succumbing to Corporate Bullying will only embolden the malcontents who refuse to accept the fact that Donald J. Trump is our elected President. And that Trump will remain so for another three years and 50 weeks of his first term.
The Associated Press—which loves to highlight any anti-Trump news—won’t carry THIS news bulletin, but it is worth considering: these Corporate Bullying kooks are not the only people in the United States who can vote with their feet if businesses upset them. If I were a CEO or the Chief Financial Officer of any company—large or small—I would really think twice before throwing in with online anarchists who reject both Capitalism and the will of the voters… versus the guy who continues to successfully plow forward in his mission to Make America Great Again.