Do I look fat in this kind of restroom opinion? Do my beliefs about healthcare make me look sallow? Does this shape of concern about immigration play up the size of my feet? Back in the day, "does it look good?" and "can I afford it?" were the things people thought when trying on clothing. But these days bring forth a whole new set of questions that beg to be answered before the decision to buy is decided: Who designed this, and what do I think of his or her politics? Do I think that this store should have dropped that designer? If I don't want this thing, should I purchase it anyhow, in support of this or that cause? Harry S. Truman had left his haberdashery store behind him long before he hit Washington; John F. Kennedy had not a clue what his father was doing; but the advent of Donald J. Trump, with all of his brands and his cohort of children, most of whom run them, has weaponized commerce as a factor in politics in ways never thought of before.
In Virginia, a NOW chapter is urging a boycott of Wegman's because it carries Trump wines. Shannon Coulter (no relation to Ann) wants a boycott of everything —steaks, wines, ties. tchotchkes, the clothing line run by his daughter Ivanka — her site, "Grab Your Wallet" posting spread sheets online "of dozens of companies that should be boycotted," as the Post tells us, "including notations about why." In response, conservative women are shunning the stores that are shunning Ivanka. One is making the rounds in the malls so she can do it in person, and dropping out of a yoga class she was taking when the instructor offered discounts on classes taken before the Jan. 22 pussyhat post-inaugural protest and gala, assuming perhaps that most of her clients would probably want to attend.
In more fitness news, the founder of Solidcore, a popular gym in the Washington area, did not take it well when she found out Ivanka herself had taken one of her classes, sounding as if her sanctuary had perhaps been defiled, and proposing a "meeting" in which she would presumably lecture the president's daughter. She'd do better to meet with herself and ask if she's running a business or a lobbying group for her favorite causes. Or she could look up Dan Cathy, CEO of Chick-fil-A fast food chain, who served up a side dish of politics along with the chicken, and found out that the two do not mix. Politics divides, but business should be about expanding the marketplace, and 'keep the customer satisfied' does not accord with haranguing the customer about his beliefs.
In the end, the attacks against them had failed; the efforts to shut down their stores were shot down by legal scholars (most of them liberal) and sales went up in the course of the protests, and perhaps because of them. In return, Chick-fil-A bowed out of politics, curtailing its statements on policy matters and greatly reducing its funding of advocacy groups. The views were not changed, but they were no longer connected to company policy. "Going forward, our intent is to leave the policy debate over same-sex marriage to the government and the political arena," was the company's last word on the case. Splendid advice, and may everyone take it. May we now go and buy what we want?
Noemie Emery, a Washington Examiner columnist, is a contributing editor to The Weekly Standard and author of "Great Expectations: The Troubled Lives of Political Families."