Tags: Family | Group | Urges | Kmart | Change | Policy | Avoid

Family Group Urges Kmart to Change Policy to Avoid Bankruptcy

Friday, 25 January 2002 12:00 AM

"We would prefer like everyone that no company go out of business or have to file for bankruptcy. No one wants to see that happen to a company," said Randy Sharp, American Family Association special projects director, in an interview with CNSNews.com.

But Kmart's "value system," Sharp thinks, is the main reason it had to file for bankruptcy.

"When you look at the value system of the company regarding products they are selling for children, sometimes it is better for that company to go out of business, because it is for the betterment of the nation and for our children," he said.

"If Kmart is going to continue to sell violence, profanity and sex and all this nasty garbage to our kids. I think it's better for them to be out of business," Sharp added.

Last September, AFA called for a national boycott of Kmart, because the company began selling music without parental warning labels.

At the time of the announcement, AFA President Donald Wildmon said: "Kmart has chosen to place profit before corporate responsibility. Kmart promotes itself as a 'family' chain. They should conduct themselves as one."

Sharp said Friday that Kmart officials refused requests for meeting with Wildmon about the company policy.

If Kmart continues to stay in business, Sharp said, AFA's boycott would continue and intensify in the coming months.

"Nothing has changed because they have filed bankruptcy. We will not discontinue the boycott. We will continue with their new chairman in place. We're hopeful that they will reverse the policy or at least agree to sit across the table and talk to us. We have no plans whatsoever to drop the boycott until they stop selling this music," he said.

"The reason Kmart filed for bankruptcy is because of financial trouble that is a result of lack of customers. We can't say we have everything to do with their financial trouble, but I think we have had an impact because a boycott creates less traffic coming through their doors, which, in turn, creates financial problems," Sharp concluded.

Kmart, however, said it strictly enforced a policy on the music it sells, according to company spokeswoman Nicole Dowswell.

"What we do is we offer our customers, edited or unedited CDs and tapes. We are simply responding to customer demand about the parental advisory label. There is one group of customers that doesn't wish to purchase music with the label and another that does wish to purchase it," Dowswell said in an interview with CNSNews.com.

"We understand the concerns that the AFA has about children. We have checkout prompting that has checkout operators asking customers purchasing such items to show photo identification. Once the date of birth is typed in, then the transaction continues, and we have signage in some of our stores explaining this policy," she said.

"We encourage parents to use discretion if they are purchasing products for their children that are under 17. If they find out their children have bought something and they [the parents] find it inappropriate, then they should return it to Kmart and we will do our best to refund it or get an exchange."

But she emphasized that the company earlier this month instituted a new policy on returned merchandise.

"In mid-January, we updated our return policy. A receipt dated within 90 days is required for all returns and exchanges. With CDs, if the merchandise has been opened, you cannot return the item even with a receipt, because these items are frequently used for fraudulent purposes," said Dowswell.

She had no comment when asked about a letter that Wildmon sent to Kmart Chairman Charles Conaway requesting a meeting about the product situation.

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We would prefer like everyone that no company go out of business or have to file for bankruptcy. No one wants to see that happen to a company, said Randy Sharp, American Family Association special projects director, in an interview with CNSNews.com. But Kmart's value...
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2002-00-25
Friday, 25 January 2002 12:00 AM
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