Election season is now in full swing and politics is an especially heated subject this year. Wherever you look, there are visible signs – from lawn posters, bumper stickers, television commercials, and news articles to vocal commentary from your customers. I’m sure loud discussions take place at your local restaurants, standing in line at your pharmacy, and even waiting at the dry cleaners. Everyone seems to have a strong opinion about the candidates running for U.S. President.
As a small business owner, you are probably wondering what should be your role and how should you handle the political discussion at your establishment. You could voice your own opinion, possibly at the risk of offending your clientele? Or you could stay silent and keep the peace, which could lead some customers thinking you don’t care about your country and its future. It’s a tricky dilemma.
Some local businesses are making light of the situation, selling products that gently poke fun at the candidates. Recently, I saw a shop offering small plastic hands to represent the Republican nominee’s commentary about his hands. Others are offering t-shirt resembling a woman’s pantsuit worn by the Democrat’s nominee. And some shops are making the most of the candidates’ own words, such as a local book store with hats that say, “Make America Read Again.”
If you would prefer to avoid all possible discourse at your business yet show that you are in the know, you can add levity to the process. Some restaurants and coffee shops in my area posted signs that read, “No Politics Spoken Here.” Other businesses placed a large jar by the door with the words, “$1 for Each Political Comment.” (Even friends wishing to remain so, enforced a “No Politics” rule at a summer bbq I attended.)
So, as you can see, it’s a complicated issue. Whatever your views and that of your patrons, this election season is going to come and go. But your business is here to stay for the long haul. That’s something to keep in mind as we go through a potentially vocal political season.
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