Schnucks bans solicitors from outside its stores
The Salvation Army bell-ringers will not be making an appearance outside of one Midwestern grocery chain this coming holiday season. Nor will the Girl Scouts be setting up tables to sell their cookies. St. Louis-based Schnucks has banned solicitors from the front of its 100 locations for the time being, ostensibly to provide their customers with a more pleasant shopping experience. But some suspect that there is more to the new policy than meets the eye.
The Salvation Army and the Girl Scouts may be casualties of a political back-and-forth that has embroiled the chain for some time, reports the Columbia Daily Tribune.
Earlier this year, the grocer brought in a third-party logistics provider to replace 200 of their recently laid-off union warehouse workers with non-union workers. The Teamsters, who have been boycotting and picketing the grocer, filed an unfair labor practices charge with the National Labor Relations Board in order to be allowed to hand out literature in front of the store. They argued that if the Girl Scouts and the Salvation Army could set up outside the building, they should be able to as well.
Now nobody is allowed to hand out anything in front of Schnucks, though the chain is not confirming the relationship between the new policy and the labor dispute.
Regardless, some customers in areas that Schnucks serves are not broken up about the absence of seasonal solicitors. Discussing the Schnucks situation on his blog, WQAD meteorologist Eric Sorenson described the uncomfortable feeling of pressure when accosted by a Salvation Army ringer, especially when one isn’t on the same page as the organization politically.
The Salvation Army, on the other hand, considers having to put the brakes on a years-long partnership with Schnucks a “big blow,” according to an interview with a representative in the Belleville News-Democrat. Last year the organization raised $478,000 from its bell ringers in front of Schnucks stores in the St. Louis area alone.
- Schnucks bans solicitors including Girl Scouts, Salvation Army at stores – Columbia Daily Tribune
- The Eric Factor: Schnuck’s gives bell ringers the “heave-ho” and I’m okay with it – WQAD
- Schnucks stops solicitors from seeking donations outside its stores – Belleville News-Democrat
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Do you find solicitors outside retailers’ doors to be an intrusive or appropriate part of the shopping experience? What do you think of Schnucks’ decision?