Depending on how you feel about a border wall, Mac’s Fresh Market may be your new place to shop or new place to boycott.
I’d personally never heard of the Southern grocery chain before this week, but, according to Fox News, it has locations in Arkansas, Louisiana and Mississippi. In its circular this week, Mac’s decided to get a little religious and political — difficult territory for any business, especially when you consider that the folks at Mac’s decided to touch the political land mine that is the border debate.
“Heaven has a wall, a gate and a strict immigration policy,” a message at the top of the ad reads.
“Hell has open borders. Let that sink in.”
— David P. Whitley (@davidwhitley) February 9, 2019
You can probably imagine what some of the responses were.
“Nice ridiculous political message. I guess y’all don’t have foreigners in your heaven. Disgusting.”
“We are also checking out your racism and fake religion.”
“Please remove me from any mailers. I will no longer shop in your store. I find your mixture of religion and politics disgusting.”
“How about we build a wall around your store?”
Reggie McDaniel, the owner of Mac’s Fresh Market, says that he meant the message to be spiritual as opposed to political.
“If I used a political message — and I’m very aware it’s political — to highlight Jesus Christ, then I’m guilty of it,” he told KALB-TV.
“That’s my meaning of the whole thing … Are people prepared to go to heaven or are they not? I thought it was a perfect time because everybody is talking about the border, some people want it, some don’t want us to have one. The only thing I was shocked about was that it’s racist. I have never in my life been accused of being a racist. I’m 70 years old. I haven’t evolved into one.”
When asked about the customers who have vowed never to shop in the store again, McDaniel gave a very American shout-out to the free market.
“I appreciate them shopping with me, but this is America. They have the privilege of shopping where they want to,” he said.
“All I can do is tell them my case. If they want to describe me in some kind of way that I am someone who is not worthy to shop with, I’d be shocked.”
That’s certainly the risk, of course, especially in a hyperpartisan America where brand identity and politics are so often intertwined.
That being said, McDaniel is right — you have the right to shop wherever you want to. As for whether or not the advertisement will hurt his store, the customers KALB talked to didn’t seem to be going anywhere.
“It’s his opinion. People shouldn’t judge him by what he has to say, it’s freedom of speech,” Christian Pace of Alexandria, Louisiana, told the station. “I like Mac’s. They are a great store.”
“I don’t think it’s a big deal, people believe in what they believe in,” Derrycka Hall of Ferriday, Louisiana, said.
At least for the moment, the market has spoken, and it apparently doesn’t mind.