What a pleasure to see a corporation earning Hero of the Week instead of Bigot for a change. For TSM, it’s also a bit surprising that the company is JCPenney. This retail chain has made some bad decisions in the past, but seems determined to make amends and move forward as a more humane company. In an effort to rebrand themselves and become more relevant in the American retail market, JCPenney brought on new CEO Ron Johnson last November. He helped revolutionize electronics marketing with the Apple Store during his ten years with that company. His goal is to make sure that JCPenney resonates with what he calls “true American values”: fair play and the golden rule.
In a move to support that effort, he sought out a corporate spokesperson and eventually hired Ellen DeGeneres. The maniacal mob known as One Million Moms protested that a “family company” would not dare to use a lesbian spokesperson. Ellen spoke out on her show, laughing at the organization and defending JCPenney. CEO Ron Johnson appeared on CBS This Morning and aggressively defended both the partnership and Ellen. Saying that she “perfectly represents the values of America and JCPenney” he acknowledged the right of any person or group to speak their mind and the right of everyone else to ignore them. Stressing that he felt that Ellen interviewed JCPenney far more than they interviewed her, he was grateful that she agreed to come aboard and called her the “perfect person.” He even went so far as to say that he had “no doubts or regrets whatsoever.”
For the balance of the interview, Johnson discussed the rebranding of JCPenney as a friendly and fair company. One impressive move is his determination to end so-called Black Friday sales and hours since they are unfair to workers. “A store should be part of someone’s life, not consume it,” he said, further indicating that he thinks that to be true for customers and employees both. Bravo to Ellen, Ron Johnson, and JCPenney. Let’s hope their efforts to make in-person retailing more human and humane are rewarded. Not only will I have to start spending my money at JCPenney, but maybe the bigoted Rick Santorum needs to realize what the fabric of America looks like!