Will Hobby Lobby Feel Financial Blowback from Customers?

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Hobby Lobby

July 7, 2014; Warwick Post

Hobby Lobby won its case at the Supreme Court, allowing closely held corporations to refuse to pay for some forms of employees’ contraception on religious grounds, but will it feel a financial blowback from customers unhappy with their politics? Small demonstrations are popping up at Hobby Lobby stores around the country; in Rhode Island, for instance, 70 picketers showed up at Warwick’s Hobby Lobby hours after the decision was made, and on Monday dozens of protestors handed out condoms, IUDs crafted out of colorful pipe cleaners, and coupons to competing stores at the grand opening of the Burbank store in California.

One Burbank protestor said, “If we don’t stop and point out to people that our rights are being taken away, apathy will take over and people will just let the corporations run over them.”

But a Hobby Lobby shopper responded, “I think everyone has a right to stand up for what they believe in…I don’t have a right to force my beliefs on you and you don’t have a right to force your beliefs on me.”

Exactly the point, some might think. Carolyn Mark of the Rhode Island chapter of the National Organization for Women said, “The Supreme Court’s decision in the Hobby Lobby case shows a shocking disregard for the religious liberty of working women who should have the right to make their own heath care decisions in concert with their doctor and their faith and not to have those decisions made for them by their employer. This decision will most certainly embolden those forces in our society that wish to withhold a full range of health care options for women.”

Boycotts are, of course, a traditional part of our social change arsenal. Is the strategy likely to be used here, and to what effect?—Ruth McCambridge

  • brainsbe

    I don’t and won’t shop at Hobby Lobby, but then I have avoided WalMart for more than 15 years, meet many others who do also, and it doesn’t seem to get WalMart’s attention.

  • Ken

    Fascinating that you cannot write a piece without being factually wrong about the fundamental issue involved. Hobby Lobby did not object to any form of “contraception,” defined as things that prevent conception – you know – the usual meaning of the word. It objected, as millions of Americans do, to only FOUR of the TWENTY items on the list. Those four, including IUDs and the “morning after pill” prevent a fertilized egg from realizing whatever end nature has in store for it. As such, they are not contraceptives, they are methods of birth control or some form of abortion. I invite you to please continue the practice immediately evident by the political Left’s spasms in responding to this issue of now referring to ANY method of birth control, including abortion, as “contraception,” daring folks to object and labeling those who might take issue with such a gratuitous redefinition as “unscientific.”

    You then compound your misrepresentation of the issue by suggesting that “women” are somehow prevented from “making their own health care decisions” by virtue of the Hobby Lobby decision. At BEST, all you can say is that any women prevented from making their own health care decisions were so prevented because of ANOTHER decision they were free to make – to seek out and accept and remain in a job at Hobby Lobby. Why is one decision one they get to make but not the second? Do you really think so little of women? Do you really think so little of the rest of us?

    Finally, you get to your point, “Will America side with savaged women awash in a sea of powerlessness and bereft of choice and rights and punish Hobby Lobby by not shopping there?” Perhaps a better question would be “Will America side with those who truly are having their rights stripped away from them by deciding to spend a little of their precious money at Hobby Lobby as opposed to somewhere else?” I suggest the second option has a far better shot at making its way into reality. Or so the fate of Chik-Fil-A would suggest …

    Knitting and chicken sammich, anyone??

  • Deb

    Hobby Lobby, you really need to get your shit together and stop supporting countries that practice child labor or killing a newly born baby because you are only allowed 2 and other acts of violence towards others. You support this by selling stuff from these countries to support a culture in America that is based on consumerism. All this in order to make a giant profit in your pocket. There are much bigger things to fight for then to control your employees thru insurance. And what can of snarling worms did our government just open up with this decision? Holy mackerel!

  • Collina Tee

    Will it hurt? Maybe not the owners; they have more money than they can count, and may not need the stores’ revenue as much these days if their portfolio is diversified. And maybe not in the Bible Belt, from which Hobby Lobby never should have strayed if it was worried about the inevitable nightmare that its judicial activism will bring to direct sales. My best guess: there were be fewer or no big box stores for Hobby Lobby in blue states, like NJ, soon. They’ve likely poisoned the brand for a big portion of online shopping, too; and they’ve lost the intangible benefit of the #HobbyLobby hashtag.

  • Kristen

    IUDs kill sperm, not eggs. By that logic, any ejaculation not into a vagina is “some form of abortion.” Along with that, you suggest that people can just up and quit their job for not offering the health care they desire. When was the last time you looked for a job? It’s hard out there, especially for those with no official education or who lack the necessary skills for other jobs. And then they have to get a job that actually offers benefits instead of cutting them off right at the 30 hr max to cheat them out of it. It’s harder than it seems.

    Oh, and by bringing up the “Left,” you sound sort of ignorant. It’s not a left vs. right battle, and suggesting otherwise comes off as you giving more power to the flawed bi-partisan condition our government is in.