Hobby Lobby Owner Stays Open During Pandemic Because of Wife's 'Vision From God'
To become ridiculously successful, you have to possess a certain kind of delusion. The Wright Brothers needed to delude themselves into thinking they could actually achieve what was impossible at the time and design a vehicle capable of flight. Nikola Tesla had to delude himself into thinking that his brilliant mind could actually translate the machinations going on his brain into the myriad of breakthroughs that he made.
The same goes for accomplished business owners.
Bill Gates, Rihanna, Steve Jobs, Jessica Alba, Daniel Zhang, Jeff Bezos — all of these folks managed to launch companies that went on to not only thrive but redefine their respective industries, despite all of the evidence at the time working against them and their plans. There had to be a certain level of "good" delusion for them to keep moving forward, to keep them believing that they'd be able to accomplish their dreams.
The trouble with delusion is that, just like cholesterol, there are good and bad versions of it, and I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that the owner of arts and crafts retail chain Hobby Lobby, David Green, may be indulging the wrong kind of delusion. The kind that has you write a company-wide correspondence explaining that you're going to stay open during the COVID-19 pandemic because your wife is a "prayer warrior."
In the letter addressed to all employees of Hobby Lobby, David passionately discussed the future of the company in very Christian-sermon terms — which is his prerogative, it is his company after all. But the fact that the business' policy is seemingly based on his wife's recent prayers during the economic crisis caused the coronavirus is a bit troubling.
As is the fact that he's worth some $6.4 billion and says that everyone will have to "tighten" their belts.
The letter was posted to Twitter by @kendallybrown, who went on to delineate the list of benefits Hobby Lobby employees receive. If you're an hourly worker, which is everyone who works in the store who isn't a manager or assistant manager, then you aren't entitled to any paid sick leave.
As troubling as the letter David Green sent was, further correspondence revealed a strange selling tactic that may raise an eyebrow or two.
From the looks of the email, it appears that there are "coronavirus related" items folks are purchasing to entertain themselves while they're in doors, and employees are encouraged to adapt this strategy.
Personally, I get it. If you're a business, you need to sell no matter the situation. But I have to admit that implementing a virus-related theme to move products may come off a bit unethical. Just a teensy-weensy bit.
In some areas, Hobby Lobby locations are being ordered to shut down, and the company's policy is doing little to look after their employees in these regions. Any vacation time a worker has accrued will be taken away, and an "emergency pay" system will be implemented, which gives them 75 percent of their average pay from the previous six weeks.
Where it gets extra skeevy is that workers have reported their hours are being aggressively cut across the board to ensure that they keep the amount of money they dole out to their employees to a minimum. Again, as a business, you're going to want to cut costs — but when you're worth $6.4 billion and aren't doing your part to stand by your workers during such a tumultuous time, it's kinda messed up.
@kendallybrown asked for more Hobby Lobby employees to anonymously send in their complaints as her original tweet containing the letter blew up online. She's been anointed the "Pandemic Complaint Queen" from her partner as a result.
There are plenty of workers, however, who have no qualms with hitting up the company on their public social media posts to let them know how they feel about their corporate policies.
There were several folks on Twitter who were absolutely abhorred by the company's practices, calling David Green's letters to his employees all sorts of troubling and selfish. Not to mention the fact that corporate pay policies showed just how disconnected from the whole "charitable" and "caring for your fellow man" part of the Bible Hobby Lobby is. (Guess David and his wife missed that chapter.)
While a bunch of people were piling the hate on Hobby Lobby, many pointed out that their business practices were pretty much "the norm" in America — even if there were a few outliers, like Best Buy, that have been paying their employees to stay home and those who decide to work in the store are considered "voluntary" and are getting a pay increase for coming in.
What do you think? Is @kendallybrown blowing David Green's letter out of proportion? Or is the message he's sending to his workers really that bad?