Woolworths bans Christian mags

2010-10-20 09:12

Johannesburg - Christians are threatening to boycott Woolworths stores after a decision to no longer sell Christian magazines.

This means readers of magazines such as Lig, Juig, Joy and Lééf will have to buy them elsewhere.

Jean Oosthuizen, webmaster of the discussion forum Kletskerk wrote on on Tuesday that angry readers of religious magazines were threatening to boycott Woolworths until the decision was revoked.

The decision also received a large number of comments on Facebook.

"Personally, I don't like some of those magazines but I think it's wrong that all religious magazines are now removed.

"Then Woolworths has to take down all other magazines with a smaller circulation as well," said Oosthuizen, who is also the news editor of Kerkbode.

Business decision

Adri-Louise van Renen, editor of Lig, confirmed that she was informed about the Woolworths decision after receiving an email from their distributor.

"I don't want to discuss the matter in the media. I want to try to sort it out with Woolworths," she said.

Van Renen wrote in a letter to her readers: "All similar magazines have immediately been taken down from their shop shelves.

She quoted a letter from Woolworths, saying: "Woolworths has taken a business decision to no longer stock any religious magazines, with immediate effect.

"We have already given all our shops directives to remove religious titles from shelves."

"Why would Woolworths take down all religious magazines from their shelves but use the marketing opportunity of religious days like Christmas and Easter to their own advantage?" asked Van Renen.

Reviewing magazines

Answering a customer's question on the Woolworths Facebook page, a spokesperson of the chain simply said that Woolworths had reviewed their whole magazine catalogue and rationalised it.

Woolworths CEO Simon Susman told Beeld that it was against the store's policy to sell religious and political magazines.

"We are currently reviewing all magazines sold by Woolworths. We will continue to remove magazines from our shelves that aren't popular with clients.

"We aim not to offend any community by this policy," said Susman.

  • Joe - 2010-10-20 09:22

    Yes, it may be a business decision - not a particularly good one though! This will hurt Woolies' image. I'm out - PnP will have to do...

  • Joe - 2010-10-20 09:23

    If the magazines don't sell then Woolworths should remove them. The fact that they are Christian is irrelevant. If it was relevant then every retailer would have to stock all sorts of religious stuff based on the link to religion, including Paganism, Zoroastrianism, Rastafari, etc.

    If anyone wants to boucott Woolworths because of this issue then they are welcome to do that as well. I will continue to buy at Woolworths because I don't need a retailer to validate my faith, and I prefer to know that the produce I buy is good quality and safe. Woolworth's environmental and social policies are certainly to be commended.

  • Sarai - 2010-10-20 09:27

    Woolworth's has double standards. The customers are made up of all dinominations. Woolworth's caters for Moslem's and sells Kosher products by Halal certification. Products are magazines as well as food and clothing. Why must Christian products be removed? This is the devil at work!

  • Gonzo - 2010-10-20 09:28

    AWESOME!!! IM GOING TO GO BUY LUNCH AT WOOLIE TODAY!!! This is no place for cosmic zombie jews and draconian dogmatic voodoo

  • Rory James - 2010-10-20 09:29

    I think people are over reacting here. Woolies have made a decision all religious magazines, not just Christian magazines. People need to calm down and stop causing a fuss at the smallest thing. There are people that have to walk 10km a day to get water, be grateful that all you have to do is maybe, at worst, go to two shops for you food and magazines.

  • It's Ok - 2010-10-20 09:29

    As a Christian, it is fine by me. I believe that we cannot and should not force our believe on anyone.

  • Jennifer Pillay - 2010-10-20 09:30

    What about the millions that they make from Christmas sales related the celebration of Christmas which is a Christian celebration. That is being very selective. Ban all sales related to religion then.............

  • Mandy Wessels - 2010-10-20 09:31

    I am shocked that Woolworths would even consider removing the Religious Magazines. South Africa is mostly Christian and tolerance to all religions is practiced. Why target the religious magazines? I REFUSE to support Woolwoths anymore if this is the situation.

  • NomoreWoolies - 2010-10-20 09:32

    I closed the only account I had at ABSA & transfered the money to Capitec Bank after ABSA interfered with the rugby. I will not shop at woolies any more if the stop selling Christian magazines.

  • molly - 2010-10-20 09:33

    80% of South Africans follow Christian based religions . One wonders what the real motive is behind this nonsense. If Woolworths do use Easter and Christmas to promote their goods I truly believe they should be boycotted by the majority. It would be interesting to have facts on the demographic breakdown of the ownership of Woolworth franchises.

  • READER - 2010-10-20 09:35

    My first knee-jerk reaction would be that all newspapers (especially the ANC newspaper that still has not seen the light of day - hie hie), Time mag etc also be removed. Also no selling of any religious items eg Matzos, jewelry (cross, Star of David), Easter/Christmas fare, no turkeys for Thanksgiving etc.
    What I am sure most would want to really know is the actual (truthful) reasoning, not the PR splurb, for removing these mags.
    Are they a threat to society or do they add to the product line offered to clients making Woollies a one stop shopping experience.

  • LM - 2010-10-20 09:35

    Hello Mr Van Reenen. Christmas & Easter celebrations originated long before Jesus showed up on the scene.

  • Trev - 2010-10-20 09:36

    No loss there!

  • Jay - 2010-10-20 09:36

    This is clearly a business decision. Why is it that so-called tolerant Christians have to get their knickers in a knot about everything? It's a magazine - not having it available at Woolies is hardly likely to kill anyone. Get a life.

  • Andrea - 2010-10-20 09:36

    This is a poorly written article. The headline is willfully misleading: there is a big difference between a company 'banning' magazines and choosing not to stock certain titles. That's just not balanced reporting.I am Christian, and I really don't take offence if a shop doesn't stock Christian material of any kind - it's a free market and its their choice (and it probably doesn't have anything to do with the content anyway - most likely it's an economical decision).

  • King Dean - 2010-10-20 09:37

    Good on Woolies.

    I will shop there more often from now on.

  • Cathy - 2010-10-20 09:38

    As soon as all the Christian bookshops start selling copies of Muslim magazines etc etc, then they will have the right to whinge. Otherwise - it's business, not personal, just business. Get over it.

  • Pangea - 2010-10-20 09:38

    Even though I am a non-believer I find this stand by Woolies hypocritical. So if religion is being banned does this include stopping the whole Halaal thing as well. The bottom line is you still use Christmas as a mass money bonanza opportunity. I do not like hypocrites so I think I will boycott you.

  • Agnostic - 2010-10-20 09:38

    I wish Christians would stop complaining - they generally have it good in South Africa when compaired to what horrible things are happening in other Religions/beliefs around the world. I think that Woolies are damned if they do, and damned if they don't - What would happen if they brought back the religious magazines, but then also sold 'Satanic' reading material, or even worse some Gay magazines? I trust that all Christians have the same tolerance for other peoples beliefs as they expect for their own - not! Besides, if I want to purchase pornographic material I would go to Adult World, and if I wanted a Christian magazine I would go to a CUM (excuse the pun) book store...

  • guy - 2010-10-20 09:38

    I,m ok with a policy of no religion and no politics but then Woolies must stick to it. That means no Easter, no Christmas, No Happy Eid,and the likes in all forms of sales and advertising. show me a newspaper that does not have a politcal opinion. Ban those too. And, while they are being so Politically Correct, take down the pork counters, the Christmas pudding racks, etc. Suzman has lost the plot. Goodbye Woolies.
    (this comes from a devout Agnostic)

  • will294 - 2010-10-20 09:39

    As far as I know only the Christian sector has magazines on sale - so this ban affects mostly Christians and nobody else !. We can only guess where complaints have come from ?. Presumably they will now stop selling kosher and halaal food - then Woolworths can be completely neutral and politically correct athiests ?

  • Daryl - 2010-10-20 09:41

    That's fine. They can do that. But then they shouldn't pretend to support Christianity when Easter and Christmas come around.

  • christian - 2010-10-20 09:41

    freedom of speech? freedom of the press? freedom of religion? Is this new africa a new iron curtain?

  • King Dean - 2010-10-20 09:41

    Good on Woolies!!!

    I will shop there more often from now on!

  • Hermie - 2010-10-20 09:41

    @Barry Do yourself a favour and find out what the abbreviation CUM actually means before making statements about it. You have just shown to all the readers how ignorant you are.....

  • Jaco Ellis - 2010-10-20 09:42

    I have made a personal decision not to buy from Woolies. You are all right, use your money where your needs and products are catered for.I also agree that Woolies should refrain from using religuous days for marketing- what is good for the goose is good for the gander!

  • Atheist - 2010-10-20 09:42

    And I thought muslims and jews are fundamentalists. It seems like christians are worse fundamentalists

  • Endangered - 2010-10-20 09:42

    This is just proof that the world is turning away from God. No wonder things are they way they are IN THE WORLD. No more religion in schools, no more disciplining naughty children.... I wonder what's next? My vote goes to the boycott. Christianity isn't the problem. It's the people claiming to be Christians (or those that like to hide behind the word) but there hearts are filled with hate and corruption and greed that gives the true meaning of being a Christian a bad taste in the mouth. People are more and more falling for a false sense of security called money instead of living without wanting.

  • JOHN - 2010-10-20 09:42

    @ BARRY
    HAHHAHAHAHHAHAHA - I thought i was the only one who noticed the bookstore's name..CUM...
    Maybe they should practice a bit more of what the name preaches...hehhehehe

  • Sam - 2010-10-20 09:43

    If Woolies feel that they can't support Christian magazines....why sell all those Christmas goodies and make such a good profit???? Bit of a double standard if you ask me!!!!!!!!!!

  • AnnieB - 2010-10-20 09:43

    Grow up South Africa. This is not an attack on Christians. Any store can decide what items to stock and sell. This doesn't change the WW brand, I will still purchase a portion of my groceries at WW because of the high quality of their products. No sweat walking to another shop for magazines.

  • robbie - 2010-10-20 09:44

    I am a Christian, but please the facts are wrong. Woollies are banning religious magazines, not Christian magazines. The decision is still very debatable though- why religious magazines? The motivation for the decision is not convincing...

  • Lets be rational about this - 2010-10-20 09:45

    This is a business decision from W. Are the satanists and atheists complaining that they dont sell any off their books? No they dont. They still enjoy the grilled chicken and other nice "Food" that woolies sells - because that is afterall their business. Magazines are there for convenience. Christians can subscribe to these magazines , all of them , if they want to moan. The one lady even admitted to not liking all of them but they should stock it... wth ?

  • will294 - 2010-10-20 09:45

    Let's hope that Woolworths will demonstrate their complete commitment to political correctness and not market Christmas or Easter. This would also keep the athiests happy as well

  • Petro - 2010-10-20 09:45

    It's fine, if you have a relationship with Jesus, my saviour, a magazine won't make a difference. Its all in the Bible.

  • Craig - 2010-10-20 09:45

    You Christians or so called Christians just need to relax. I think it is a good thing to remove all religious magazines. They first of all do not sell and secondly are bias ans Woolworths can't be bias in the world we living. If they stock Christian magazines then why not stock others - will you be happy for your Christian magazine to be along side an Atheist magazine or a Muslim one....don't think so. So grow up and go to church and read your bible. Leave Woolies to make business decisions....

  • Dean - 2010-10-20 09:46

    I have no problem with this but then Woolworths should not use religious Christian holidays (i.e. Christmas, Easter) to promote sales. They should then distance themselves from all things related to religion.

  • Jo - 2010-10-20 09:46

    Double standards!! Woolies will have to take responsibility of their own decisions. I am out....

  • Hein - 2010-10-20 09:46

    It is OK, I dont have to buy at woolworths .
    But I gaurantee you that woolworths wont make it public if they decide to ban anything that is muslim.

  • Kaaskrul - 2010-10-20 09:47

    If this is a business decision fine,. but I think Susman is contradicting himself.

    1.) He tells Beeld that,.. "it was against the store's policy to sell religious and political magazines."

    Then why stock them in the first place??

    Then he says,. "We will continue to remove magazines from our shelves that aren't popular with clients."

    Is this a business decision based on popularity or against policy??

  • Willie - 2010-10-20 09:47

    I am a Christian. Christianity does not have a special place anywhere or can't call for special treatment. We as Christians need to be walking examples of Jesus Christ and having magazines sold in a store does not make any difference. If you want the magazine so much, SUBSCRIBE and have it delivered in you post box. Don't let us take everything that happens to such extremes as boycotts - very negative. Let us show people that we are not threatened by these actions.

  • Fellow Christian - 2010-10-20 09:47

    Its a magazine. I don't understand why people have to make everything so personal. At the end of the day the magazines are being taken off because they not selling and just happens to be Christian Magazines.

  • Jared Wessels - 2010-10-20 09:47

    I Believe this is crap. I'm a Christian yet I understand completely that this is a business decision if it was just the christian magazines being removed and other relegious magazines would stay id be offended but this is just plain stupid

  • shosholoza - 2010-10-20 09:48

    Would like to see if Woolies will be putting up christmas trimmings this year.

  • Faure - 2010-10-20 09:48

    Why is this news? Surely there are more important things in life to concern oneself with than the magazine selection at Woolworths. Christians always seem to get so worked up and offended over the most trivial things.

  • Mike - 2010-10-20 09:48

    Woolworths Sucks

  • MG - 2010-10-20 09:48

    I don't see what the big deal is. Why the boycott? There is no news of other religions complaining. Stop b1tching and buy your magazine elsewhere. You are all going to want to go back to Woolies anyway, to buy the quality food they offer!!!

  • will294 - 2010-10-20 09:49

    @"it's OK" - why would the sale of Christian magazines be termed "forcing your religion belief" on others ?. Customers are not forced to buy them - it is a just another stock item put there for the convenience of it's customers. By the same token neither could the sale of kosher and halaal products be termed forcing their religion on others.

  • Shaun - 2010-10-20 09:49

    I agree with Adri-Louise van Renen, it is disgusting how Woolworths and all other shops take such advantage of religious holidays to make money. Other religions are always considered so untouchable, and boy do certain ones cause such chaos if the smallest thing is said about their religion. Why according to the commemts above, do Christians always have to keep quiet? You people moan when people do nothing except whine, and when they do start standing up for their rights, then you shoot them down? Can't you see that people are getting scared at what the world is becoming? Woolworths do have no standards. They will use religion to make money when it suits them. And their quality aint so great anymore either!

  • Halaal - 2010-10-20 09:50

    @Sarai - because Halaal meat sells. I know a lot of Christians/non-Mulsims that prefer buying the Halaal meat over the other meat. You should try it.