Friday, February 27, 2015

50 Shades of Easter

On February 20th I visited our local branch of the Books-A-Million book store chain, and saw this display (pictured to the right) just inside the front door. My immediate thought was "50 Shades of Grey to celebrate Easter? Really?' Within minutes I tweeted the picture to the Books-A-Million twitter account with the comment "Really, @BooksaMillion? Really? Your recommendation for Easter is 50 Shades of Grey? #50Shades For Easter? Really?"

Within 30 minutes they responded: "Thanks for bringing this to our attention! It appears there was a misunderstanding. Could you tell us which location this was?" When I informed them of the store location they responded again "Thank you, I'll pass this along to my team so that we can get this resolved." I was hopeful that the offensive display was a local choice, and that the corporate office would reverse it.

Six days later (yesterday) I stopped by to see if the display was still there. It was. I tweeted @BooksAMillion again: "A week later this display is still up. Will anything be done? Does Books-A-Million support associating Easter with 50 Shades?" So far I have not received any response. If I do, I will update this post to include that response.

I also posted the picture yesterday to the Facebook page of the local store in question, with the comment "Based on this display in your Jackson MS store, should we assume it is consistent with your company values to associate the Holy Day of Easter with porn? Please take this down." Their response to me as posted on Facebook was as follows:
"As I personally am inclined to agree with your view, I would happily take down this display. However, Books a Million corporate does not view E. L. James work as porn, nor does a vast percentage of Americans whom purchased the book and/or viewed the movie. It is BAM policy to display seasonal titles at the top of our ranks and top selling items beneath. We do apologize for any discomfort this pairing may have caused and invite you to make a complaint with our corporate offices at your earliest convenience"
Notice that I was not trying to get them to stop selling the books. I know every book store is selling the books. I only asked them to remove the display associating it with Easter. Whether or not the book is considered pornography (and I do so consider it), we should all be able to agree that promotion of the book is is not appropriate for celebrating the Resurrection of Christ .I appreciate the store representative saying that he/she agrees with me, but can only conclude from the comment that the chain management considers Easter to be only a "season," not a holy day, and that the company has no problem associating Easter with the 50 Shades books and movie.

If this matters to you, please keep this in mind when making book purchase decisions. I do not think I will not be purchasing any more books or other items at Books-A-Million,