Santa Claus and “Don’t Tread on Me” Out of Business?

Businesses don’t want to offend their customers. I get that. But when a business owner decides not to offend some customers, he may end up offending more customers. A business owner should be able to do anything he wants with his business. It’s his business.

I’m not for suing a private business for discriminating against an employee, even if I agree with the employee. If a business owner only wants to hire people who are over six-feet tall, then that’s his business. (The NBA does this all the time, but the height requirements are a little more rigorous.)

But some business owners are downright stupid. But they have a right to be stupid. It’s their business. Stupidity is not against the law, at least not yet. Two cases of stupidity caught my attention. One is about Santa Claus and the other about the iconic “Don’t Tread on Me” rallying cry. Here’s the Santa Claus stupidity:

For each of the past two years, hospital volunteer Frank Cloyes spent one day as St. Nick, spreading good cheer and snacks to patients sitting through chemotherapy treatments. The 67-year-old James Island resident, a retired insurance executive who calls himself a “gregarious guy,” paid for his own costume rental.

On Tuesday morning, a volunteer coordinator told Cloyes his services no longer were needed.

“Because of our state affiliation, we decided not to have a Santa presence this year,” Hollings spokeswoman Vicky Agnew said. Hollings is a part of the Medical University of South Carolina.

Decorations will be “more secular and respectful to all beliefs,” Agnew said. “We don’t want to offend a volunteer with good intentions, but we need to think of the bigger picture. People who are Muslim or Jewish or have no religious beliefs come here for treatment,” she said.

 An online poll was conducted asking, “Do you agree with the Hollings Cancer Center’s decision to ban Santa this holiday season?”

● Yes 1%: 46 votes

● No 98%: 2546 votes

 All in all, I would say that this was a bad business decision, catering to the one percent and offending the 99 percent. Stupid is what comes to mind.

Then there’s the story of the waitress who says she lost her job because she wore a Tea Party bracelet to work. If it’s true, then stupid is the appropriate word:

Megan Geller tells the [Northwest Herald] newspaper a couple she was serving at the local Outback Steakhouse took offense and complained. Geller said her mother, Tonya Franklin, got the bracelet at a Tea Party event, and a couple dining at the restaurant did not like it and asked for the manager, the Northwest Herald reported.

Again, this is a private business, and this particular Outback restaurant has the right to fire anybody for whatever reason (although the law says otherwise). If the bracelet incident happened as Geller states (the restaurant tells a different story), then this local Outback was stupid to fire her. A lot more customers could be offended. Here’s what not to do:

After Geller was fired, a group rallied in front of the Outback Steakhouse, waving American and Gadsden flags and accusing the restaurant of violating her free speech rights, the Northwest Herald reported.

If we want government out of our pocket books, then let’s keep it out of our businesses. I want the right to hire and fire anybody I want for any reason whatsoever. The idea that Geller’s free speech rights were trampled is nonsense. The First Amendment applies to the government not individuals.

If Geller’s story turns out to be true, the people of Crystal Lake, Illinois, can make their own decision on what they want to do. “To eat or not to eat?”

Case in point. “An Iowa baker who politely declined to provide a wedding cake for two lesbians based on her Christian values may face legal action from the couple.” If the two lesbians don’t like the views of the baker, then they should take their cake business elsewhere. It’s not this woman’s cake business if she can’t sell to whom she wants to sell. The baker is willing to forfeit money for the sake of her principles. Everybody should respect her for it.

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