Obscenity at Barnes & Noble

So this weekend I went shopping at the new Barnes & Noble in my area. Mrs. D.O.T.S. and I were pleased when it opened because there were no other bookstores nearby.

At the front of the store near the checkout counters is a table featuring 2008 box calendars, the kind where you tear off a page each day. There are all manner of such calendars: dogs, cats, cartoons, happy thoughts, etc. I took a picture of it for you. Which one grabs your attention? Keep in mind this is only a few steps away from the children's section of the store.

I dare say most eyes will be drawn straight to the bright red "Sex Every Day In Every Way 2008 Daily Calendar." (Click here for a better look on the B&N web site.) This is just what America needs because, as you know, we just don't think about sex often enough in this country. Having such a daily reminder will be good for everyone.

If people want to buy this thing, so be it, but is it really a good idea to display them out in the open, alongside products that will draw the eyes of small children? There are more than words, too. The box has illustrations that graphically depict people engaged in a variety of (ahem...) acrobatic maneuvers. I don't want to show them on my blog, but you can click here for a small sample.

On the same table was another calendar, shown in the second photo. If you can't read it, the headline reads "The Dictionary of Corporate B------t." This is slightly less offensive than the sex calendar but still not appropriate for public view, in my opinion. Movies that use this word get a PG-13 rating, so parents at least know what to expect. Barnes & Noble doesn't give you the courtesy of a warning.

I took one of the sex calendars to a female store employee and asked her if she thought it was appropriate to display where children would almost certainly see them. She took one look and called the manager.

He offered no regrets whatsoever. All he could say was "People have different tastes" and he would pass on my concern to their corporate office. I again asked, what kind of person could even remotely think that it is appropriate to let children see this product? He would not answer the question. So I wished him a Merry Christmas and left without buying anything.

If B&N is like most large retailers, the store manager is given detailed directions from above on how products are to be displayed. He probably doesn't have authority to move them. This means B&N has made a corporate decision that it doesn't care if young children are exposed to sexually explicit images. Their first priority is to make money however they can. That is their right, of course. It is also my right to not shop at their store. I urge everyone else to do likewise.

One more indication of the priorities at Barnes & Noble: there is a large display of Phillip Pullman's atheism-promoting Golden Compass line of children's books and related merchandise. If they can't corrupt your kids one way, they'll find another way to get the job done. Their persistence is admirable.

You can express your concern to B&N management by using the contact form at the bottom of this page.

UPDATE: Moms go after CVS; Is Barnes & Noble Next?


Donald Douglas said...

Well, I'll have to agree with you on this post, although I came over to gloat about Paul's disastrous appearance on Meet the Press today.

Might be a post on it tomorrow over at my place.

In the meantime, and to all a good night....!

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

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