Retailer’s Patriotism Questioned for Selling French Wine

Feb 27, 2003
George Anderson

By George Anderson

Steve Silver, owner of Pearson’s Wine in Washington, D.C., claims a customer recently accused him of being unpatriotic because his store sells French wine.

Mr. Silver’s response: “I understand. I have a bit of that feeling inside of me, too.”

Tensions between friendly countries strongly allied behind the US and UK governments’ position on Iraq and those that oppose it such as France and Germany are growing. The political debate is also finding expression in commerce as Mr. Silver’s experience demonstrates.

In a newsletter to customers, Mr. Silver writes, “Please continue to make your own choices. If you decide not to consume certain products for ethical, moral or patriotic reasons, I understand.”

He adds, “We will continue to operate our wine shop as it has been, and as it has been evolving, since 1933. As I see it, the height of anti-patriotism, anti-consumerism — and anti-free commerce — would be to cease recommending the products we love.”

Moderator’s Comment: Should retailers stop selling
products manufactured by companies from countries opposed to the US position
on Iraq?

The choice of what to sell or not to sell is up to the

It is important to keep in mind, however, that although
the majority of Americans support the government’s view on Iraq, most (64% according
to a recent AP poll) want UN approval before launching an attack. Should this
mean patriotic retailers that back the administration 100% should refuse to
sell to consumers that support the government but with caveats?

The choice of what to buy or not to buy should be up to
the consumer. [George
Anderson – Moderator

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