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'Cuz 'season's greetings' just ain't good enough

Posted By Drew Zahn On 12/01/2009 @ 9:10 pm In Front Page | Comments Disabled

Shoppers fed up with stores swapping “Season’s Greetings” and “Happy Holidays” for the more traditional “Merry Christmas” have a place to vent their frustrations this December and a resource for identifying those shops that still honor Jesus’ birth as the reason for the season.

The Retailer Ratings system at StandForChristmas.com provides an up-to-the-second summary of how customers have rated 29 of the nation’s largest store chains – from American Eagle Outfitters to Wal-Mart – on their acknowledgment of Christmas.

“Millions upon millions in our nation deeply value the great truths of Christmas and the holiday’s inspiring place in American life and culture,” the website states. “We’re asking you to decide which retailers are ‘Christmas-friendly.’ They want your patronage and your gift-shopping dollars, but do they openly recognize Christmas?”

Discover dozens of Christmas gift ideas and real “reason for the season” messages in WND’s Christmas Store!

The ratings system is a project of Focus on the Family and Focus on the Family Action.

In the past, Focus has created a shopping guide to rate retailers on their “Christmas-friendliness,” but this year the organization has turned the ratings over to customers themselves.

“We’re placing shoppers in the driver’s seat,” the website explains. “Through this site, customers can provide feedback directly to retailers and share their experiences with fellow shoppers!”

“There’s nothing more effective than hearing from the customer,” said Carrie Earll, director of issues analysis for Focus on the Family Action. “The customer’s always right.”

“Many retailers are waking up to the fact that it is more inclusive – not exclusive – to mention Christmas,” she said.

Shoppers who visit StandForChristmas.com can not only rate the retail chains as being “friendly,” “negligent” or “offensive” toward observers of Christmas, but also leave comments on specific stores.

For example, this piece of frosty feedback came from a customer regarding Banana Republic, the retail chain that at press time was rated the worst in Christmas-friendliness:

“I clicked on their ad and used their search function,” the commenter writes. “Typing in ‘Christmas gifts,’ I got ‘Holiday gifts.’ Narrowing my search, I typed in ‘Christmas’ and got ’0 results for this search.’ They will get the same number of purchases from me.”

When this article was written, Banana Republic was scoring an 82 percent “offensive” rating to an only 18 percent “friendly” rating.

On the far other end of the spectrum was Bass Pro Shops, which was scoring 93 percent “friendly” rating, with seven percent rating the retailer “negligent” and none rating it “offensive.”

“In last Sunday’s paper, it was one of only two retailers who had ‘Christmas’ prominently displayed throughout the entire ad,” said one commenter regarding Bass Pro Shops. “They have a Christmas village set up inside the store (not a ‘holiday’ or ‘winter’ village), and it’s an old-fashioned Christmas village where kids can get a free photo with Santa (who sends a letter to the child in the mail), lots of free games to play and employees dressed as elves. I give this retailer the highest rating.”

At press time, the top five most Christmas-friendly stores were Bass Pro Shops, Land’s End, Cabela’s, Sears and Lowe’s, all of which scored above 80 percent “friendly.”

The most “offensive” on the list were Banana Republic, Gap, Best Buy, American Eagle Outfitters and Old Navy, all of which topped 60 percent “offensive.”

The full ratings list can be seen on the Stand For Christmas website.



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