Update on "Inquiring minds want to know"
Since then, we've confirmed that did in fact happen, and also that a second restaurant, Hog Heaven over on Guess Rd., also did the same. There's a rumor that a third restaurant also responded to the Indy by having the distribution racks removed, but i haven't been able to confirm that, so i'm going to let that slide.
Of more interest to me is this post that Kevin's got up at Bull City Rising this morning, sharing the comments made by the owner of Mellow Mushroom to a BCR reader in response to a question about this incident.
I've gone out of my way to reiterate that Mellow Mushroom, or indeed any business, is fully entitled to control what newspapers ro other media are distributed within their premises. Neither the Indy nor any other publication has any guaranteed right to distribution inside someone else's business. So this is neither a civil rights nor censorship issue.
What it is, in my opinion, is a rather poor business decision, and, based on the comments published over at BCR today and attributed to Mellow Mushroom owner Casey, one that is copletely lacking in justification.
Here's the email:
Hi Will, I am Casey and I own the MMs in the area. I regret you do not agree with our decision about the Indy. It had absolutely nothing to do with the article but rather the picture on the front cover that was eye level of children in our waiting area. We have carried the Indy for so long I forgot it was there until a soccer mom complained about it. After a few more comments/complaints we removed them. Personally it takes a lot more than a newspaper to offend me. We understand and appreciate that Mellow Mushroom attracts all walks of life as customers as well as employees. We also know that is what makes the concept so successful. However, any business in the service industry should do everything they can to make sure no one is offend or complains for any reason.
The Indy is an adult newspaper and has become more so over the years. Since Mellow Mushroom has grown from the small college town stores to becoming more family oriented, we decided it would be best to remove the Indy.
We greatly appreciate your business.
I'm going to try and unpack exactly what it is about that rationalization that is so offensive to me. Maybe Casey will stop by and read this, and understand that he's going to have to work a bit harder to avoid offending his potential customers.
First, there's no reason to identify the source of his complaints as "a soccer mom." As i mentioned in Kevin's comments, i spent about 6 years as a Durham soccer dad. Soccer parents in Durham, and i suspect elsewhere in the country, are no different from the rest of the community. Pretty much every imaginable family situation existed among the various parents on the teams my daughter played with, including inter-racial and same sex couples as well as single parents. So, i don't appreciate being tarred with the "intolerant" brush by virtue of the fact that my kid played soccer.
Second, and more critical, is the implication that "families" only count when children, especially children whose eye level is the same height as an Indy rack, are involved. Kevin alludes to whether or not it would be a good thing for a group like Focus on the Family to take a look at the Mellow Mushroom's roots in the college stoner culture and make a decision as to whether that's a good thing for the family oriented folks who belong to that organization.
There's the rub.
Families with small children make up only a part of the spectrum of family arrangements that people live in. That a business owner can so casually toss off a remark like "Since Mellow Mushroom has grown from the small college town stores to becoming more family oriented, we decided it would be best to remove the Indy," without considering for a moment the notion that the number of families excluded far outwiehgs the number of families included, shows how much more work remains to be done within our culture.
For me, i can say that Casey has made it pretty clear that he doesn't want my business.
Obliging him shouldn't be much of a problem.