Sports fans can be a nutty bunch. Not all of them, nor even a majority of them, but enough to cause logical people to pause and wonder what is wrong with people.
A Chicago area car salesman was fired for wearing a Green Bay Packers tie yesterday to work. From everything I've read and seen that is the only reason given for being fired. The owner of this car dealership said he feared backlash from customers and the Bears organization due to past promotions involving the Bears.
Sadly there's about as much validity, as there is lameness, involved with this decision. Should the guy have been fired? Probably not. Was he asked first to remove the tie, and refused? That I don't know. From a personal standpoint if I had been the guy's boss, or the owner of said car dealership, he probably wouldn't have been fired.
From a business standpoint the salesman himself is wrong as well. He shouldn't be, but he is. (That makes sense, huh?) From a business standpoint the tie had to go though.
I've been in sales for a number of years. One of the first things I was taught was that you never know what can offend someone, so you don't wear any apparel sporting any type of logo, or verbiage, that can scuttle a potential sale. Seems silly, but sadly it's true. (Wearing logo from the company you actually work for is allowed naturally.) I've witnessed salespeople thrown out of nutty sports fans homes because they were wearing a shirt sporting the name of the team the home owner despises. Nutty sports fans buy things. Businesses do want their money.
My boss got a taste of this yesterday as well. In the four years I've known him he's been a huge Pittsburgh Steelers fan. Every winter he's worn a heavy winter coat sporting that team logo. We live in Wisconsin and now that the Packers and Steelers are going to the Super Bowl all the nutty Packer fans are out in force. He ran our store's bank deposit over to the bank and received a ration of crap and name calling over the coat. Some good natured comments, but some down right nasty and threatening.
He went to leave work yesterday and we were standing at the front of the store shooting the breeze when a middle-aged couple walked past us. They stopped and asked him if he thought it was wise to wear that coat. They also assumed he wasn't from here. Once they heard he lived here and managed this store their comment was that they'd never shop at our store while he was employed here. That's how nutty some people are, and sadly businesses can't afford to alienate them. Or won't.
Now if I were the boss, would I leave this coat at home and wear another coat? No. If he had worn a tie, or shirt with a team logo, that would be different though. We actually have a company dress code which covers this, so it's not an issue. It's understood upfront, as silly as it may seem to be. And, from a business standpoint it makes sense sadly. But it's still a shame that people act this way over something as inconsequential as this.
Getting back to the car salesman in the Chicago area. He was offered, and accepted, another job at a different dealership today. He probably shouldn't have been fired in the first place. But while another place of business did hire him, I'm willing to bet they have a dress code in place which prohibits the tie from being worn, because they may despise this type of nutty behavior by sports fans, they still want their business.
Crap like this personally drives me insane, but I've accepted it as a part of doing business. My livelihood is based on making sales. It's simply safer and wiser to dress accordingly. Why invite more nuttiness in the sales process than necessary? We already have enough fruit loops enter the store as it is to deal with who act like idiots. I already deal with enough of them without adding nutty spots fans into the equation. My tolerance gets tested enough as it is, because I don't tolerate idiots very well.