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OCT carrier in a Texas Kroger store

Shannon Watts, paid spokeswoman for Michael Bloomberg’s Moms Demand Action gun control campaign, had planned to continue her crusade against companies that white suburban soccer moms care about by demanding that Kroger ban firearms from their stores. She had seen some marginal success with the likes of Starbucks and Chipotle, and she expected to be able to roll right along and declare a marginal victory with Kroger as well. Unfortunately for her, Kroger wasn’t playing ball. In a statement released Saturday, Kroger essentially told Shannon Watts to go away and stop bothering them.


Kroger – the world’s third-largest retailer, with more than $100 billion in annual sales – is the group’s biggest target yet. Company officials say Kroger just wants to sell groceries, not enter political debates.

“Our long-standing policy on this issue is to follow state and local laws and to ask customers to be respectful of others while shopping,” Kroger said in a statement. “We know that our customers are passionate on both sides of this issue, and we trust them to be responsible in our stores.”

There’s two things that we can take away from this latest refusal of a large corporation to bow to the demands of Moms Demand Action.

First, Moms Demand Action is nowhere near as powerful as it thinks it is. MDA had won some marginal victories with smaller shops, and the best they had gotten so far was a polite request for people to not bring guns into their stores. No one had banned guns as a result of Shannon Watts’ demanding, and it looks like no one will. The reason: there’s no consequence. If the stores had banned guns, they risk losing their gun owning customers. But if Moms Demand Action didn’t get their demanding way, then there’s no ill effects. MDA’s supporters aren’t nearly as rabid as the gun owners, and sales wouldn’t have been hurt. There’s no bite to Shannon Watts’ bark, and stores are starting to realize this.

Second, Moms Demand Action’s strategy is failing miserably. The plan seems to have been to slowly get more and more businesses to ban firearms in their stores, thereby creating a new normal and ostracizing gun owners. Key to this plan was getting the stores to play along, and they aren’t taking the bait. They know where their bread is buttered and are steering well clear of this whole debate. It could be that they understand the Constitution better than Shannon Watts and realize that what she is doing is wrong, but more likely they see Hobby Lobby as a shining example of a store taking a stand on an issue and losing big time in the court of public opinion.

Moms Demand Action is already a dying brand. Bloomberg has spent a ton of money trying to get their Everytown for Gun Safety campaign off the ground because he sees the end in sight for MDA already. This is just one more nail in the coffin, but unfortunately we’ll probably see more of Shannon Watts for at least a couple years. News organizations love MDA for the optics — white suburban housewives demanding an end to the horrible and despicable gun violence. It’s great TV, and so MDA will be kept on life support for no other reason than CNN wants someone to talk to when they want to push their gun control agenda.

We know the truth, though. Moms Demand Action has lost their fight, and they’re running out of steam.

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    • Depends on who you ask. Go listen to NPR and you’d think that Hobby Lobby was the spawn of Satan and about to close shop. Either way, a definite loss of a large chunk of potential customers.

      • If you listen to NPR you will find out that the Columbine shooters were motivated by their Christian religious faith. So much for NPR. Hobby Lobby has always been an openly “religious” company, I can’t imagine that they are losing too much, customer-wise. But I could be wrong, who can tell with the artsy-crafty market.

        • Yes and no.

          There are a lot of alt girls who are crafty too but they don’t care as much about silly political fighting.

        • Your talking about the artsy crafty spooky kooky women who wore tight sweaters and blue jeans. Long straight hair. Intelligent and independent but occasionally would ask for help carrying art supplies to their loft or wanted help fixing a Volvo older than they were and always brewed the best coffee. Are they still around?

      • I’m not sure that NPR listeners are really part of Hobby Lobby’s target customers. (How large is NPR’s audience anyway?)

        If they ‘lost’ in public opinion, they would be losing sales. Losing potential customers who never have shopped there has no impact on their bottom line.

      • I agree with your primary point that Kroger just wants to stay out of the political fray. For some businesses though, taking a stand on hot button issues is good for the bottom line.

        • Yep, when Dick’s got stupid, I stopped shopping there too. Let’s just say that I am very devoted to my hobbies, that I make a really good living where much of my money is disposable, and Dick’s lost a lot of money by pissing me off.

      • I agree with the first post Nick. I thought Hobby Lobby won in and out of court. The only people bothered by the ordeal were rabid leftists who probably didn’t shop there anyway so I don’t really get your analogy. They were a big company that stuck to their guns and did what they thought was right. Isn’t that what Kroger is doing?

    • @ Merits Guess we were posting at the same time. But I’m fighting an intermittent-keyboard issue. Anyway, I wasn’t just repeating you– not on purpose, anyway..

  1. Didn’t know that Hobby Lobby was taking it on the chin anywhere except–well, except in the same places that Shannon is “winning” in (like CNN, HuffPo, etc). And Chick Fil A is doing just fine, thank you. But the larger point holds I guess, even Chick Fil A is being more careful about publicizing “their” stand on controversial issues. Kroger (and anybody else Shannon wants to pester) would do well to issue a statement to the effect that they are merchants, not lawmakers, and if MDA doesn’t like people being able to legally carry an unconcealed handgun, they need to take it up with the appropriate legislature. Who could argue with that?

    • Yup. The Board (or other owners in the case of private firms) have just one piece of advice for their excitable, attention-seeking CEOs: STFU.

  2. All 3 of these moms and didn’t get enough money from Unkle Bloomy to make enough noise?? I guess they th
    Yah Im being sarcastic.
    If a store has said it enough times.
    Kroeger has,
    “We follow state and local laws”
    That’s not good enough for Ms Watts and her few friends.
    How about some plain English.
    Now get lost mommy.
    Go bother Piggly Wiggly next why don’t you.
    Best name anywhere for a food store…………………

  3. Waiting for one of Bloomberg’s Paid-For Ladies to carry through on their threats to fill a shopping cart full of perishables, then abandon it in a hidden corner of a Kroger’s before checking out.

    And being identified from security camera footage, hauled up on charges, and sued.

    Pass the popcorn.

    • They probably have tried it. There are no hidden corners in a grocery store. I worked at a Kroger owned store for 5 years and we knew that place inside and out, every nook and cranny. If they tried to leave a cart full of perishables the most likely outcome would be that the cart is found 10 minutes later and pushed into a walk in fridge or freezer until the items can be put back on the shelves.

      Actually the most likely outcome is the loss prevention folks or a manager would notice a customer with very odd cartload and follow them until they abandoned it, make sure they didn’t try to leave the store with any merchandise and immediately tell an employee about the cart so the items could be put back on the shelves.

      In short, if they did try it, there aren’t many ways it would even create an inconvenience, let alone make the news.

      These women are so impotent they have no idea how to effectively work towards their goals.

      • They’re working for somebody whose idea of effectively working towards goals is: throw millions of dollars around. When that doesn’t work, they’re about as effective as hen’s teeth.

  4. I have to agree with Merits here. Everything Nick has said is quite true. However Chick Filet and Hobby Lobby have taken conservative stances and by and large done just fine.
    To that end yes MDA is dying. They have money and connections to keep them going but let’s face it all of the responses have been non response. No real change.

    • We’re not big on fast food in our household, anyway, so we’re not a relevant demographic for Chic-Fil-A. Still, we did like it when they took a stand against the gay bullies who were hassling them. We were even moved to participate in the famous Chick-Fil-A Day. (I stand by my assertion that they make the best chicken sandwich on the market today, among major chains.) Still, when they turned around, caved in to the pressure, and started palling around with the gay groups, we lost all respect and have never returned.

      Regardless one’s position on the underlying issue, we don’t compromise with bullies and don’t support those who do.

      • I think reports of Chick Fil A “caving in” were greatly exaggerated–on purpose, by the same media that trumpet Shannon’s “successes”.

        • They are “Gay Bullies”. When they attempt to boycott a restaurant chain because the CEO has a different opinion on Gay Marriages, then yes they are “bullies”.

          It is fine to hold differing opinion and that’s what makes America great. However, when holding the differing opinion makes you the “enemy” and calling for a boycott to punish said enemy, the gay bullies got what they deserved.

        • So you don’t boycott Cheaper Than Dirt for gouging on AR mags?

          Also, the bully would be the restaurant putting up money to deny equal rights to a group of people. But of course, your persecution complex gets the better of you.

    • And how about MDA’s complete fail at Staples? I seem to recall Staples personnel kicking MDA “activists” out of their stores and telling the not to come back.

  5. Personally, I give Shannon Watts another 8 months, but I am an optimist. Depends on how badly the Dems get beaten in Nov. If Chickenpooper and Malloy’s heads roll, so will Watts.

  6. Kroger will get our support. I like Kroger anyway, with their sales, and selection, so with this stand, they have my respect and business. My family and I will tell the management and will telephone Kroger headquarters and let them know of our continued business as well. I was about to say that they were exampling good “common sense” but sadly, this sense is no longer “common.”

    • I am waiting for Shannon having to resort to stripping or doing soft core on showtime when bloomy’s $$ gets pulled. She is too addicted to the lifestyle now and frankly she has damaged the brand she tried to create. Her public relations business is toast.

      Speaking of Shannon, think she goes commando or wears a thing? Wall to wall carpet or hardwood floors? She may even agree to make a film w me soon enough. 🙂

      • I have noticed the changeover from carpet to hardwood began about 1970 in birth year.

        I bet wall-to-wall on this one…

  7. thats dudes hat is just awful.

    as opposed to the other two businesses listed, kroger just kept doing what it’s doing. it’s not funding xyz groups or trying to get exemptions from laws. it’s hard to have beef with someone just sticking to their MO.

  8. If MDA is on its way out, why do they get so much time here at TTAG?
    IMHO, I see way more of them than seems reasonable in my dailly updates lately.

    • They are America’s most vocal, persistent, pervasive and media-loved anti-gun group. And thus its most dangerous.

        • You nailed it there. I watched one video were she spoke once. Once. Talk about someone who lives in a delusional world… it was shocking. You could tell by the way she was talking she was lying to herself, trying to make her self believe her nonsense as much as everyone else.

  9. “We know that our customers are passionate on both sides of this issue, and we trust them to be responsible in our stores.”

    And with THAT, MDA will crow about their ‘victory’.

    The politically maligned don’t seem to understand basic economics. By pushing a political agenda on the business’s customers, they risk alienating a full 50% of the businesses customer base.

    Companies simply cannot risk that loss of income.

    Happily, Flat-Face is blissfully ignorant of that fact, at MDA’s peril.

    (Plus, Flat-Face is loads of fun to mercilessly mock and ridicule.)

  10. Hey, Derp?

    RF works for RF. His public personna on TTAG is geared to maximize page hits. If controversy generates those page hits, it’s a win for RF.

    RF is in it to win.

    (In 10+ years he’s gonna have to pay for a very expensive wedding for his daughter. He needs to start saving now.)

    • He’s probably got another divorce of his own in that time frame too.

      The man is a trooper and has to be driven.

      Shit, after my divorce I decided it was so much fun I was never going to get married again.

  11. Moms Demand Action = Paper Tiger
    Kroger putting their foot down and not letting MDA intimate them serves, as a great example about why the organization is on the way out.

  12. Even if MDA is entering it’s winter days we still have to be vigilant to safeguard our rights. This group may disband and their members go elsewhere, but their cause will not. Those bent on gun control will keep up their campaign, so we must keep up ours and keep our facts ready to combat their narrative.

  13. Using the word “rabid” might have been a misstep. All it takes is one control-c (or what ever Macs use more likely) and it’s all over Huffpo, WaPo, or CNN.

    If passionate seems a little blase then I suggest “ardent”. Google tells me it’s basically just a cooler sounding cousin to passionate.

  14. If MDA wants another hollow victory, they need to go after a place that liberals actually shop en masse. How about Whole Foods? Wait… is there even a Whole Foods in a state where open carry is legal?

    Sounds like a win!

    • We have Open Carry and Whole Foods. If I tried to OC there I am sure I would leave in a body bag thanks to panicked customers and overzealous cops.

    • We have a Whole Foods here in Baton Rouge, and there isn’t a “No Guns” sign on the door, so I guess open carry is okay. Nevertheless, the overwhelming stench of gluten-free patchouli from their obnoxious, quinoa-eating customer base keeps me from making a habit of shopping there.

  15. Kroger operates Fred Meyer, who sells guns. Their stores in Alaska are popular with the summer sportsman and open carry is accepted.

    • I did my part this weekend to support Kroger and their stance, I bought a pistol at Fred Meyer. Now if I could find a way to support the Seahawks without adding to Paul “the Jerk” Allen’s bottom line I’d be set.

  16. They trust their customers, but not thier employees. Not like that will stop me from keeping some stuff in my car

    • Walmart is the same way, and I’m not sure I blame them. Corporations can get sued if employees try to stop a shoplifting event the “wrong” way. Introduce firearms into the equation, especially if they are ever used…..and yeah. Even if the firearm use was to prevent a mass shooter or some such, the legal bills would stack up quickly.

  17. Re: Chick-fil-a a few years ago I had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Truett Cathy. Spent a good 2 hours he knew I had a pistol only question he asked was if it was American made & the price. He was more concerned with God, business & keeping America as a force in the world. Not shipping us to China. Extreme conservative. I think Charlton Heston & Ronald Reagan were more left wing than the man. He expressed no interest in politics other than saying he wished they would bring back public prayer & the government would stay out of religion & family

  18. These protests are obviously not about “gun safety”, as they won’t reduce one suicide, robbery, homicide, etc.

    It’s about marketing a name as a “winner”, recruiting new members, exercising local chapters so they don’t get rusty and become inactive.

  19. Why do I suspect that MDA members don’t frequent Kroger stores at all and the local organic market is the only place worthy of feeding their families.

  20. OK Let’s hear it for Krogers….I hate these companies run by panty waistted cowards who fold with the wind.

  21. As I said elsewhere, with Kroger’s response – and it’s seems pretty clear they are going to ignore any MDA pressure – look for MDA to quietly drop this one and pretend it didn’t happen. They write their own history. Defeats do not exist.

  22. Geeze People I support 2A whole hearty but use your freaking brain… Kroger has decided to leave it to state law… and stay out of the argument of this so please stop carrying a damn AK in their stores that’s the way to get them to shift policy.. you want to open carry get a good holster and carry your side arm…. If you want to educate pass out well written cards or materiel but please ask the Mgt for permission get good Pr show respect to the Mgt and customers that may be standoff from us … We want to win them over not scare them away .

  23. Interesting. The usual response is to make a meaningless change in policy and politely ask people not to bring rifles into the store. Apparently Kroegers resented the Golf Course Gnome enough to tell him to go Tallulah Bankhead himself.

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