A couple of days before the 15th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, I heard a news report about a mattress store in Texas running a sale on the weekend of 9/11.
In “honor” of the attack on the Twin Towers, they were selling all of their mattresses at the twin price. Or something like that. I was so sickened it was hard to listen to the details of the commercial.
It is not just distasteful, it is morally wrong for any business to use a tragedy as a marketing tool.
I’m fine with cause marketing in general, such as “buy from us on a certain day, and X percent of our sales (or profits) will be donated to (whatever the great cause is).” I’ve done that with my books.
I’m also fine with companies running ads that make memorial statements, even though I find them on the self-serving side.
Making money off someone else’s heartache and pain is wrong. It’s offensive. It’s not the way to market a business.
I know that we link sales to just about every holiday, even those that were created to honor the dead, such as Memorial Day. But there’s just enough space between the concept of honoring all who gave their lives in service to our country and the deaths of individual people that Memorial Day sales don’t make my skin crawl. Independence Day sales don’t bother me, either, even though plenty of people died fighting for our independence.
But 9/11 is not a holiday, it’s the date of the second deadliest attack ever on American soil. It should be remembered with reverence, with sadness, with anger and, most important, with a resolve to never let something like that happen again. It should not be remembered by getting a great deal on a mattress.
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She is the author of Words to Work By: 31 devotions for the workplace based on the Book of Proverbs and Finding Joy in the Morning: You can make it through the night. She is also the co-creator of several coloring books for adults.