Dick's Virtue Signaling Costs Them...Literally

Dick’s Sporting Goods figured it was riding the wave of public sentiment when it announced it wouldn’t sell long guns to anyone under the age of 21 following the Parkland massacre. It was a piece of corporate virtue signaling, and it automatically made them the target of ire in the firearms community.

Then again, who cares about those guys? There aren’t that many of them, right?

Weeelll…it seems that maybe they should have cared just a little.

Just weeks after halting sales of all firearms to customers under the age of 21 and banning AR-type rifles in its Field and Stream stores, retail giant Dick’s Sporting Goods announced a “deeper-than-expected” sales drop as their stock sank the most in four months, according to Fortune.

“There’s going to be some pushback and we expected that,” said CEO Edward Stack, in an earnings call with Wall Street analysts, CNN reports. “There are going to be the people who don’t shop us anymore for anything.”

Fortune is careful to tell its readers not to blame the company’s struggles on its anti-gun stance. Dick’s has struggled with “excessive inventory and deep discounting,” and it’s been unable to compete with Amazon and Nike, who have both been pushing customers to make online purchases.

Still, Fortune admits that Dick’s has no direct competition. After Sports Authority’s collapse in 2016, Dick’s became the only national chain of its kind, and investors were hopeful the company could capitalize on its singularity.

Gun enthusiasts won’t be surprised to learn that the gun and hunting parts of Dick’s business has been “extremely soft,” according to Sam Poser, analyst for Susquehanna Financial Group. He told Fortune that Dick’s decision to limit gun sales was a “prudent decision both from a business and PR perspective,” though it’s unclear why angering a customer base would ever be a prudent business decision.

Anyone feel bad for them? Anyone? Anyone at all?

You, in the back? Oh, you were just stretching. My bad.

So no one feels bad for them. I sure don’t. They made their bed, and now they get to lie in it. They decided it was better to virtue signal than conduct business.

Fortune can try and spin this any way it wants, but there’s one inescapable fact. A company that is having trouble decided to put politics before business. Now they’re facing a lawsuit over their policy and are likely to face even more as they proceed, all because they decided to get political. They screwed up.

Even if their policy accounts for only a small percentage of the loss, it’s still a loss that was entirely avoidable. Anyone with half a brain knew what was going to happen when they made that announcement. The moment they said they would no longer sell long guns to people age 18-20 despite it being legal to do so, they knew they would anger the gun community. They knew people who valued the Second Amendment would stop shopping in their stores, and not just for gun stuff, but for anything.

They knew it, and they did it anyway, which means at least some portion of this loss is of their own making.

If Dick’s is having this much trouble, what they did is the equivalent of a guy dealing with massive credit card debt and multiple child support payments quitting his job because his boss yelled at someone else. You’re shooting yourself in the foot when you don’t have to. It’s stupid.

And it’s everything they deserve.