Many major retailers, such as Walmart and Sears, have banned selling Confederate flags from their stores.
E-commerce retailers like Amazon, eBay, Etsy, Google Shopping, and Overstock have joined in banning the images of the flag. Prior to banning products with the flag, Amazon’s sales of the controversial symbol were skyrocketing.
Even Apple removed games in the app stores with the flag.
Governor Nikki Haley said it was “time to from the [Confederate] flag from the Capitol grounds” after the horrifying shooting at a church in Charleston, South Carolina. She said the suspected Charleston shooter viewed the flag in a “sick and twisted” way.
A controversy has stirred the nation over whether it is or isn’t appropriate to sell the Confederate flag. People who support the flag say it is an important part of American history.
But major retailers are worried about image, and making profits from the flags isn’t worth the consequence of being perceived as racist, Howard Davidowitz, chairman of Davidowitz & Associates Inc., a retail consulting agency and investment banking firm based in New York, told Business Insider
“This is no longer acceptable,” Davidowitz said. “And it went from being acceptable to no longer being acceptable pretty quick [so now] everybody is bailing out on it… no one wants to be seen as a racist or anything associated with racism.”
These retailers have to consider the people who would be offended. “Their image is tremendously important to them, with their employees, with their shareholders, with their investors,” Davidowitz said. “There’s no way they can be associated with this.”
“Number one, [you’ll be] turning off millions of customers if you sell [the Confederate flag], number two, [you’ll be] turning off your own employees,” Davidowitz said.
This is particularly crucial for Wal-Mart.
“Most of their employees are part time employees — many of them are minorities,” Davidowitz said, also mentioning that selling the flag “will demotivate” employees.
“If you’re Wal-Mart, there is nothing more charged than race. That is more nuclear than any of [Wal-Mart’s other] issues.”
However, Davidowitz highlighted that major retailer brands banning the flag will not put an end to sales of the flag in general. “They’re still going to be sold,” he said. “But they’re going to be sold by independent stores across America who are going to do a tremendous amount of business selling the Confederate flag.”