HOME DEPOT BOYCOTT BACKFIRES

A lady writes: My parents, who are real do-it-your-selfers, were sprucing up their basement. They picked out bright orange shag carpeting and then spread it over our lawn in order to measure and cut it. The neighbors watched curiously. After a while, the teenage daughter of one of the neighbors spoke up. “The families have taken a vote,” she said. “And I’ve been elected to tell you that if we have any voice in this, we would prefer you leave your lawn the color it is.”

In the year 1929, Bernie Marcus was born to a Jewish couple in New Jersey.  The new parents had recently fled a distant pogrom (an organized massacre of a particular ethnic group, especially Jews in Russia or eastern Europe).  Growing up poor in tenements (a set of rooms forming a separate residence within a house or block of apartments) Bernie graduated from high school with honours and applied to Rutgers University (a prestigious Ivy League school) in the hope of becoming a medical doctor.  But as Marcus writes,  “Prior to the establishment of the modern State of Israel in 1948, Jews in America were not considered full-scale citizens.  For instance, there were no corporations in America for which Jews worked (which is why Jews had to open up their own law firms and investments houses on Wall Street).  And so I was not able to get  into medical school because they had a 10% quota on Jewish students.  This really crushed me because I wanted so much to be a surgeon.”

Well, growing up in poor rental housing, you had to learn to fix things by yourself.  And so Bernie Marcus, along with fellow Jew, Arthur Blank, eventually joined together to start a one-stop/do-it-yourself gigantic hardware store called, The Home Depot.  Their first outlet, a cavernous warehouse with thousands of products, dwarfed the competition.  (Not that things were easy early.  Bernie tells of his wife not letting him shave in those early days, afraid if he had a razor in his hand he would cut his throat.)  But success did finally come.  Today, The Home Depot is the world’s largest home improvement retailer with nearly 400,000 orange-blooded associates and more than 2,200 stores in North America. The typical one averages 105,000 square feet and is interconnected with an e-commerce business that offers more than one million products for the DIY customer, professional contractors, and the industry’s largest installation business for the Do-It-For-Me customer.  And today Bernie Marcus is a multi-billionaire and a major backer of Donald Trump, because of Trump’s strong support for Israel.  (Marcus was the President’s biggest campaign contributor in 2016 and has vowed to spend as much of his $6 billion fortune as required to see that the Republican wins again in 2020.)  The above has led to a call by political opponents to boycott The Home Depot.  But such was doomed to fail from the start.  Why? Because if there’s one thing most – university-grad, high-tech, latte-sipping, sushi-nibbling, socialist-loving, condo-living, liberal-voting people are not, it is do-it-yourselfers.  (Many have never been inside a Home Depot or even know where one is.)  As a matter of fact, since the liberal boycott call, conservatives have been flocking to the store to make purchases.

The bottom line?  One thing is for sure, The Home Depot’s support for Israel hasn’t hurt its bottom line.