Talking Politics in Your Retail Store

As we approach the end of the never-ending political campaigns, it’s hard not to get involved in conversations about the merits and defects of the various candidates.  Fortunately, I have no opinions, so I’m not tempted. 

Seriously, thanks to Doug Fleener and his Daily Retail Experience Newsletter (Check out Doug’s blog here.) for pointing out that your store is no place to carry on political discussions.  For one thing, most Americans are really tired of this campaign season and will enjoy visiting a politics-free-zone, e.g. your store. 

You probably have strong opinions, especially since the outcome of this election could have a dramatic impact on small business.  Chances are that about half of your customers share your views.  The other half don’t.   Even if you find a kindred spirit who wants to discuss what a lousy so-and-so a particular candidate is, even though you may be solidly on the same side of the red/blue divide, other customers within earshot may not agree.  You might drive a customer away and never even know it. 

As Doug says, "If you own your own store or company you can do what you want–but why risk alienating potential customers?"  I agree.  Here’s my suggestion.  If a customer wants to talk politics, very politely change the subject saying something like, "You know, all of this political stuff is really getting old.  It’s all so negative.  Let’s talk about something positive.  Take a look at this….." and show them your newest, most exciting item. 

No one gets offended and you’ve opened what could be a very profitable discussion.

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