Locals Protest Beer Sales at Bi-Lo

Mar 11, 2003

By George Anderson

Members of the North Lafayette (GA) Baptist Church and others are unhappy with
Bi-Lo’s decision to beginning selling beer and wine coolers at the chain’s store
in this community.

Pastor Bud Martenn of the Bethel Memorial Baptist congregation told WTVC 9
(the local ABC affiliate), “We believe that a supermarket should be a family
friendly place where families, wives, women, children can shop.”

The group has organized calls to Bi-Lo headquarters and circulated petitions
to reverse the chain’s decision to sell alcohol.

WTVC reports “Bi-Lo’s Manager of Consumer Affairs Curtis Johnson says customers
dictate what’s on store shelves. And, so far the beer and wine coolers have
been selling.”

Moderator’s Comment: How should Bi-Lo deal with the
concerns of those in Lafayette, Georgia that have a problem with the chain selling
beer and wine coolers?

We’d first express regret that the decision has caused
anyone in the community to take their business elsewhere.

As a retailer, you sometimes sell products that some shoppers
find objectionable for various, perfectly valid individual reasons. In this
case the issue is alcohol sales. For other consumers it could tobacco, birth
control, R-rated videos etc.

Consumers need to follow their conscience. As a retailer,
you would hope that differences of opinions on products would be sorted out
at the checkout. If consumers do not buy a product, a retailer will not sell
it – no petitions or news coverage needed. [George
Anderson – Moderator

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