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Should a business owner be able to refuse service to anyone for any reason?

 
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Should a business owners be able to refuse service to anyone for any reason? I am not talking about supporting laws for against this statement just whether or not a business owner should be able to do it.
 
pollinator
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Yes.

You can't legislate someone to not be an asshole, buyer or seller.

 
steward
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Been that way for a long time...

Businesses with some reason behind it:
Must be this high to ride the ferris wheel.
No shoes, no shirt, no service.
Coat and tie required.
Members Only.
Pool use for hotel guests only.

Sales restricted by law:
Must be 21 to purchase
Under 18 must be accompanied by parent or guardian.
Prescription only
ID required to purchase

Historical trends are common:
Whites Only (USA, South Africa)
No Jews (Germany)
No Muslims or No Hindus (India)


Discrimination exists in many forms all over the world. To think it can be legislated out of existence is a utopian fantasy. Race, gender, religion and political party affiliation top the list, but the reasons are virtually unlimited. Should a devout Christian bakery be compelled to produce a wedding cake for a gay couple when it flies in the face of their beliefs? In such a case, regardless of the outcome, there will be an injured/insulted/victimized party. Does one person's values outweigh those of another simply because one hung a shingle and opened a shop? Does society fine the bakery for refusal? This empowers the gay community to flock to the place, order cakes, and put them out of business with fines because they believe a 'truth'. Must the gay couple shop elsewhere? This empowers a community to collectively refuse service to that couple because of their beliefs/lifestyle/existence. Any law either way would simply invite further conflict. It may seem like a problem without a technical solution, and for now, it is. In the long term, education is the solution. Discrimination is a facet of hate. Hate is the product of ignorance. There will always be fools. It has been said that we live in an enlightened age. In reality, we have a long way to go.

 
Sam Barber
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Should business owners be punished for refusing service to a customer?
 
R Scott
pollinator
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Sam Barber wrote:Should business owners be punished for refusing service to a customer?



The market will. They won't get the money from the customer. If they are being assholes, it will get around. If it is the customer that was the asshole, that becomes obvious, too. There are asshole customers that are such a pain and time-suck you always lose money dealing with them. So good business is to not deal with them.

What would this forum be like if Paul couldn't kick anyone out?
 
steward
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It's my personal opinion that if a business owner wishes to refuse service they should say so up front and publicly and be willing to deal with the potential blow-back. No law is as effective as a peacefully gathered group of people pointing at a bigot and making the public aware of his/her idiocy.

You can't force a person to make a cake but you can make potential customers aware that the baker is prejudice in some way. Some customers may wish to disassociate with that baker while some people may come to his side and support him. Remember Chick-fil-a?

What if credit card companies and banks started to refuse to do business with business owners who were outwardly prejudice?
 
Sam Barber
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I agree I believe that that is how we should deal with people like that and that we shouldn't pass a laws to do it.
 
gardener
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There is a point where it becomes an issue of trespass. An unruly customer is ejected from a business and is told not to return. Paul at the farm directs someone to stay off his Farm and they continue to return or use his roads. How would that be handled Sam?
 
Ken Peavey
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Craig Dobbelyu wrote:
You can't force a person to make a cake but you can make potential customers aware that the baker is prejudice in some way. Some customers may wish to disassociate with that baker while some people may come to his side and support him.



This opens up a can of worms in the form of slander and libel. If you label someone a bigot or whateverphobe, and do it publicly, you'll be paying the guys rent for a while.

Robert Ray wrote:
An unruly customer is ejected from a business and is told not to return.



This is a common reason for refusing service. In my younger, intemperate days, I was the customer in question. But what if the customer looks, acts, dresses, smells like everyone else except for a bumper sticker that says 'I like Ike', or down with _____. Can I refuse service to a cop because I don't like authority? Can I refuse to serve the guy with gold bling teeth because I want gangstas in my restaurant? How about refusal to serve the mother of the guy who's brother molested my friends sister? Laws are enacted to protect property and rights, not feelings.

Let's say a law is proposed to make it a crime to refuse service because of race/creed/religion/nationality/gender preference/political alignment. Such a law would unfairly impact small businesses, leaving large corporations, with service policy is handed down from the directors and management, unaffected. The law is tailor made to shut down mom and pop shops. Won't that get the 99% unglued! I can still circumvent the law by refusing to serve the guy because I don't like his shoes or eye color or hair style. The fact that all these people I refuse just happen to have blue skin or worship the Great Eye is unrelated.

 
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How about cases where a person with a prescription goes into a locally-owned pharmacy and tries to fill it. The pharmacist refuses to fill the prescription because they "believe cancer is only curable through juicing", "it's not ADD, it's bad parenting", "they don't believe in pain pills"....

What if the local water source was controlled by someone who refused you service?

In general, a law that says a business owner can refuse service for whatever reason doesn't really bother me. But I live in a big city with lots of options. I think I might mind a whole lot more in a small town with few options.
 
Robert Ray
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The scope of "anyone for any reason is pretty broad". I've never refused service right off the bat, there are customers, clients that at some point aren't worth the effort or time required to work with them. An example a customer who is in arrears and owes me 2600.00, has been shopping at another store in town and running up a bill there so he isn't asked by me to pay his bill. He needs a part that I just happen to have and it's the only one in town.. Am I going to sell it to him if he doesn't pay his account off.........nope. So that's a reason.
If we're talking about the recent Arizona Legislation, I didn't agree with that.
 
Ken Peavey
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After a long day of protesting outside in the cold, at great distance from your store, 2 members of the Westboro Baptist Church come into your diner and ask for a cup of coffee.
If you ask them to leave, which of you is the hater?

Outspoken member of the Illinois Nazi Party go into a diner for a cup of coffee. The only server on duty is Bucky, according to his nametag. Short for Buckman Liebowitz. The nazis don't know he's Jewish or that the owner of the place is black. Is there a cause of action here?

Mr Silver owns a building down on 7th St. A muslim church group wants to rent the building and use it as a mosque for prayer.
Scenario 1: It is 7th street in Albany, NY, across from some warehouses and next door to some attorney.
Scenario 2: It's 7th street in Manhattan, across the street from the World Trade Center.
In the 2nd scenario, upon whom will the public direct their rage?

Nancy is 80 years old, has lived in her apartment in peace for 30 years. A young couple moves in, throws loud parties. Nancy complains repeatedly. The landlord warns them to keep it down. A month later, a baby is born and they can't afford the rent because of unexpected hospital bills. The landlord, doing his job as an employee of the corporation, files eviction papers and changes the lock on the coldest night of the year. Let's say Nancy and the landlord are white and the young family is black. How does the press report the story?


 
Jennifer Wadsworth
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Robert Ray wrote: If we're talking about the recent Arizona Legislation, I didn't agree with that.



Robert - the great, great share of Arizonans disagreed with that too and we are considered a conservative state (although we are becoming a darker shade of purple by the day). That bill was put forth by a well-backed minority group. That same group also introduced a bill that stated that citizen-approved (voted on) initiatives that became law should be put up for a new vote every 8 years because "new people who move into AZ might have a different opinion and need to be given the chance to vote".

Hell's bells - why don't we just vote on whether or not to keep the constitution every so many years!
 
Robert Ray
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I'm sure that the majority would have had a problem with it Jennifer. But it is easy to see that a small loud minority can mis-direct legislation.
 
Craig Dobbson
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Ken Peavey wrote:

Craig Dobbelyu wrote:
You can't force a person to make a cake but you can make potential customers aware that the baker is prejudice in some way. Some customers may wish to disassociate with that baker while some people may come to his side and support him.



This opens up a can of worms in the form of slander and libel. If you label someone a bigot or whateverphobe, and do it publicly, you'll be paying the guys rent for a while.



I can see what you mean there. I'm generally not the type to go name calling or outing anyone for being ignorant. I like to think that as time goes by, people's views change an they become more accepting of different people. Either that, or they go out of business because people don't want to be associated with them.

Remember the pink slime thing? An entire industry was shuttered because the truth about it came out. It's not the same as being "less tolerant", but it shows the power of information sharing in an age when it's hard to hide anything from the public for too long.

I think that in most cases as long as you're telling the truth about the facts without being belligerent and name calling, you can publicly let your opinion be known so as to inform others who may not be aware.
Most businesses succeed or fail based mostly on word of mouth. I've heard it said that a person tells two people when they've had a good experience with a business and they tell twenty people when they've had a bad experience. Businesses can't afford to piss too many people off. (unless they are the only game in town) With the internet and social media, the public can rapidly draw attention to any business that they either like or dislike. I'm sure most people running businesses know this to some degree or another. I assume some people are still learning those lessons. They don't need to be called bigots or _____ists. But I also think it's helpful to business as a whole to set a better standard not only in the quality of products, prices, and service but ALSO in how they treat ALL PEOPLE.
If there is an awesome product available from two different retailers for the same exact price and I know one of those companies is headed by a person who thinks some people are second class citizens... I shop with the other guy. I'm also going to tell everyone I know why I made that choice. To me, that seems like the right thing to do.
 
Ken Peavey
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Rather than spread the word that one company or store is less, I would go the route of saying the other store treats people better.
 
steward
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I honestly believe that a business owner should have the right to refuse business to whomever he chooses.
(And for whatever reason he chooses.)
Just as I have that right as a customer to choose where I will do business.

It is his money, and livelyhood at stake, the government should not be meddling in it.
If he makes a poor decision, he stands to go out of business.

But, it should be his decision to make, not the government's.

In the bar business, it is common to "86" an unruly customer - kick him out, and tell him not to come back.
If you do it too often, it can backfire, just as it can if you don't do it often enough.
Every business owner should have that right.
If he uses that right unwisely, he stands to lose. That's his business.

 
Craig Dobbson
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Ken Peavey wrote:Rather than spread the word that one company or store is less, I would go the route of saying the other store treats people better.



I like the online models where you can rate a company or product on a scale and then provide pros and cons.

I think having all the data, good and bad, is more useful to me than just having one half of the data set. I always read the one star ratings on Amazon but I also look at how much of the total ratings the "one star" ratings make up. If .01% of the ratings are low, then I consider them outliers or trolls. IF it's more like 10% bad ratings, then I'm not likely going to buy from that vendor.

I can understand that a bar has to 86 somebody once in a while and I would never bash them for it. But if they are discriminating against 10% of their potential customers for no good reason (my opinion) then I don't go there. If somebody asks me why... I tell them. " I'm not into spending money at places that don't treat everyone with the same amount value". It's just not my scene.
 
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I discriminate quite often in the course of doing my work. There are certain neighborhoods that I prefer to not work in. The Gordon Head area has not been good to me. Most calls lead to a customer who is looking for advice on what to do or how to do it themselves. Oak Bay and Fairfield have been good to me. Almost everyone who calls, actually wants me to do the job. It's more cultural than economic. Although Gordon Head has many valuable homes, I've found that many don't value the work that I do. The majority of unwanted customers have heavy accents. I usually ask to speak to someone younger. Usually this is a teenager who was raised in Canada. I ask them whether their parents are likely to spend any money. Most are quite helpful. Some describe the job and send cell phone pictures. Others admit that the chances of any work being done are slim at best. I thank them for their time and make a decision on whether to continue. I turned a lady down yesterday, because she was very evasive when I asked if an elderly neighbor would be home, so that I could ask if they really wanted a tree removed. She also said that the oak trees in question, were not legally protected, but said that no proof was available and she would prefer to have it done at dusk, so as to avoid detection. Red flags everywhere. ☺
 
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