Saturday, August 3, 2013

Stand for Truth and Righteousness

About a month ago, I strolled into Barnes & Noble while my children were at Science camp for a few hours.  It was Tuesday, story time day, so there were many children in the store.  I spent some time in the children's section, picking out some books for my children.  As I headed to the check out line, I walked passed one of the many tables of bargain books.  A particular book caught my eye, I saw the word "NUDE".  This book was on the very corner of the table, right where the line begins.  On the cover was a woman from the '50's era, laying on her back with her legs crossed, up in the air.  She looked at the camera with a smile on her face.  There were colored bubbles strategically placed on her body covering up all the good parts.  I was taken aback as I read the rest of the cover. "Hollywood Nudes" "in 3D".  There's no way, a book with fully nude women would be within reach of small children, right?  I must be crazy.  I had to open the book (which wasn't wrapped) to see if it were actually possible.  I opened it and saw fully naked women, in horrible poses.  Without hesitation, I grabbed the book and took it with me as I checked out.  No not to buy it, but to complain about it.  I was upset and showed the gal at the register the inside of the book and she was shocked too.  She called the manager and I told him that this book was absolutely inappropriate because small children can pick up the book and see pornography.  He was silent and had a look on his face as if it was no big deal.  When I proceeded to say that it shouldn't be out in the open where kids can have access to it, he proceeded to say that those kinds of books usually are wrapped and someone must have unwrapped it.  There were about four copies, none of those books were wrapped.  

I told him how much I LOVE books and enjoy bringing my children with me to his store, and that we will begin homeschooling in the Fall and I had planned on bringing my children often.  But I also told him that because books like this are out in the open, I cannot come back to the store because it's not a safe environment for my children.  Once I said that, he grabbed the books and put them behind the counter with all the other trashy magazines.  I was happy about that.

The sweet gal finished ringing me up.  She had mentioned that her and her siblings were homeschooled and that they loved it.  I found out she was Christian and I apologized for opening the book to show her the horrendous photos.

Two weeks later, I took my children back to this same Barnes and Noble.  We had a great time in the children's section.  We picked out some fun books and walked to the where the line begins.  And there it was; the same book, in the same corner, on the same table.  I was furious, this time I had my children with me.  How naive of me to think that a store would understand how harmful a pornographic book can be for children.  It is common sense isn't it?  I took the book with me once again to the check out stand to complain.  There was no manager in the store at the time, he was on break. So the gal ringing me up (a different one this time) said she was acting manager.  I told her my frustrations and how I wouldn't be back after this.  Once again, it seemed like it wasn't a big deal.

My cousin went back the following day.  The book was back in the same spot.

So apparently '50's porn is now considered art.  That's no excuse to allow it to be out in the open for all to see.  Porn is porn and just one look can leave a long lasting detrimental impact, especially on young children.

“Pornographic or erotic stories and pictures are worse than filthy or polluted food. The body has defenses to rid itself of unwholesome food. With a few fatal exceptions, bad food will only make you sick but do no permanent harm. In contrast, a person who feasts upon filthy stories or pornographic or erotic pictures and literature records them in this marvelous retrieval system we call a brain. The brain won’t vomit back filth. Once recorded, it will always remain subject to recall, flashing its perverted images across your mind and drawing you away from the wholesome things in life.” 
Elder Dallin H. Oaks

I went back to the store to take a photo of the cover of the book, the ISBN number on the back, and unfortunately, a picture of what was inside.  I decided that I needed to complain to corporate.  So the next day I called and complained and I was given a case number but told that I probably wouldn't hear back from anyone.  I then sent an email to the company with the photos and told them I would never shop at the store again.  I received a confirmation email about my complaint which stated that I would hear back from someone within 24 hours.  I heard nothing.

Like I mentioned before.  I love books.  I get an adrenaline rush being surrounded by books in a store like Barnes & Noble.  I enjoy bringing by children there every once in a while to pick out a book to take home and keep, not one they have to borrow and return to the library, that's what makes it so special and exciting for them.  So the decision to never go there again was a very hard one for me and for my children.

Time went by, and I wondered if I should call corporate again or send another email with my case number.  I wondered if it was a lost cause.

Twelve days after my formal complaint, as I was driving my children to karate, I received a voice mail from the manager at Barnes & Noble.  He said that he wanted to talk with me to see if there was something we could do to make my shopping experience more enjoyable.  I was shocked.  I was a bit excited because I felt like I was finally heard.  Not just me, but all of my other friends who felt the same way I did about this issue.  More importantly, for the innocent children who cannot speak up and say, "Hey, this trash right here at my eye level and within reach of my hands, is no good for me and will harm my innocent and pure mind and plague me for the rest of my life."

I stopped by the store the next day to meet with him.  He showed me that the books were located behind the counter and said that he talked to all the managers and employees and told them that those books should remain in that spot.  He did mentioned that he still believes everyone should have the freedom to purchase whatever they want, but understands that not everyone will agree with what is being sold.  I reminded him that pornography shouldn't be out in the open where children can see it.  He said he understood, that he has three children at home.

I am grateful that I didn't give up but continued to stand for what I believed in and knew to be true.  I complained not only once, or twice, but also filed a formal complaint to the company.  It can be intimidating to choose the right at times because what the world considers popular, harmless, and acceptable, is actually detrimental for people. For more information on just how detrimental pornography can be, just click here

Even the notorious serial killer, Ted Bundy, felt it was so important to talk about the detrimental affects of pornography the day before he was executed and how it led him to kill many women and young girls.  Ted Bundy's last interview.