Staples Inc. is running a marketing contest to help reward small businesses because according to the giant office supply chain, they’re “big fans of our small business customers because they’re vital to our communities.”
Those who enter the ‘PUSH it Forward’ contest can win one of three $50,000 digital marketing grand prize packages provided the participant explains what that money would do to help his/her business.
Well, Travis Vonseggern and Gill Jackson, the proud owners of Maple Creek Gunsmithing in Fremont, Nebraska, entered the contest. After all, they’re a small business that serves a local community and they would love to have a $50,000 digital marketing campaign to advertise the work they do: gunsmithing and firearms training, and the products they sell: guns and ammo.
On Wednesday, however, the two men found out that they were disqualified from the contest. Staples sent them a rejection email that read:
We’re sorry, but your small business entry into the Staples PUSH It Forward Contest has been rejected for the following reason(s): Entry contains content that promotes alcohol, illegal drugs, tobacco, firearms/weapons (or the use of any of the foregoing); promotes any activities that may appear unsafe or dangerous; promotes any particular political agenda or message; is obscene or offensive; or endorses any form of hate or hate group.
The email went on to state that Staples “reserves the right to reject any entry that they deem is not in accordance with the official rules.”
As one might imagine, the two were taken aback by the rejection. They’re both Army veterans, Vonseggern was awarded a Purple Heart during his service to our country, they’re both responsible business owners who sell constitutionally protected products and they’re both law-abiding citizens — yet here they are being put in a category with “hate groups” and political radicals.
“I was blown away,” Jackson told Fox News. “I couldn’t believe what I was reading.”
“They lumped us in with criminals,” Jackson added, angrily.
His partner was equally as irked by the email and echoed Jackson’s thoughts.
“Everything in our store is patriotic,” Vonseggern said. “For us to be classified as a drug dealer or obscene and offensive is hurtful to our feelings.”
In response to the email, Vonseggern and Jackson plan to do two things: first, take their paper and office supply purchasing business elsewhere, according to a Maple Creek Gunsmithing Facebook post, the two spent “a ton of money with them [Staples]” and they’re “never spending a dime in that store again” and second, alert the gun community of Staples unfair and arguably discriminatory corporate practices.
To help accomplish that latter objective, the two owners posted the rejection email to their Facebook page, “to let our customers know where [Staples] stands,” which was a smart move because now Staples’ snafu/bias against gun dealers has gone viral.
Fox News as well as other media outlets, i.e The Blaze.com, have picked up and syndicated the story. It was also confirmed that Staples corporate management did indeed send the email.
“The company policy clearly states they are not all the way pro-gun,” Vonseggern told Fox News. “They’ve got a little lefty in them.”
What are your thoughts? Will you still support Staples knowing that look at gun dealers as pariahs to a certain extent? Or, do you believe that Staples’ contest policy is appropriate and fair ?