Despite Criticism, BJ’s Howell to Keep Magazines Covered out of Respect for Community

mag bjs clubEXCLUSIVE: Despite being faced with criticism from some shoppers, the new BJ’s in Howell will continue keeping its magazines at the checkout counter covered out of respect for the community, BJ’s Corporate office tells TLS.

The magazine rack covers, installed shortly after the club opened – and similar to those placed at other large retailers – were created out of respect for shoppers inadvertently exposed to the sometimes-provocative magazines prominently displayed at the counters.

The attached is a copy of one of the complaints BJ’s received:

bjs complaintBut despite the individual complaints, BJ’s Howell stood behind their decision, and made it clear to an inquiring media outlet that they don’t intend to change the practice.

“At BJ’s Wholesale Club, two of our core values are respect and community,” BJ’s wrote to a media outlet inquiring about the practice. “We are a new business in Howell and when we enter a new community we are always respectful of how business is done. Our decision was made to show consideration toward the sensitivities of our Members.”

The corporate office shared the same sentiment.

“I want to be clear that BJ’s stands by our values of respect and community,” BJ’s Corporate office wrote TLS. “We have no intention of changing our practice of blocking magazine covers in our Howell Club.”

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31 COMMENTS

  1. Thanks you BJs!!! I believe in your values. I am a loyal member and stand behind you always! Bullying, and that is what I saw in the above letter, is the wrong approach to any issue. May you always see success in all your business. You can never go wrong by doing the right and decent thing! As for all those who would like to see indecent photos…. I trust you you’ll find them elsewhere but we don’t have to be pulled along with you!

  2. Those who complain need to understand the concept of “tyranny of the majority”.
    Futhermore it seems obvious to me that the real reason behind the complaint is so that if the magazines were in full view it would reduce the number of “those people” (aka orthodox jews) shopping at BJs etc
    Finally, this is certainly NOT censorship as the magazines have not been REMOVED, only covered up.

  3. Wow!

    I’ll just say this in response.

    What about my religious freedom? Somehow that doesn’t count? I’d like to shop without violating my religious principles. Are you asking that BJ’S marginalize an entire community? In what way is covering up the magazines “…censorship and goes against free speech as well as freedom of religion and freedom of the press…”? No one is stopping you from buying the magazine for yourself. Everyone knows they are there. A public institution must cater to everyone and, yes, I dare say that if you asked the meat to be covered on Fri that would be considered as well. I would have no problem if the meat was covered in respect of another religion. I wouldn’t be writing spiteful letters to company management. Instead, I’d be grateful that we live in a time and place where people show consideration and respect for one another. Perhaps you should do the same? Life would be a lot happier for you. Is it really that disturbing to you that sometimes provocative pictures are covered up? Are you really that insensitive to the idea that some choose to live more modestly?

  4. “kowtowing to a small local population of your target market”

    Not sure what she means by this. There are more Orthodox Jews in Lakewood than there are people in the entire township of Howell. BJ’s chose to place their store right outside Lakewood specifically to get the local Orthodox market who have large families and are much heavier users of warehouse stores than most other groups.

    Now if BJ’s had a better kosher food selection they might get more customers (and putting lox under the Tablet-K in the kosher section? I don’t understand that move).

  5. I will be canceling my Costco membership and signing up for BJ’s to show gratitude to them for respecting our values. I think the whole community should do the same to show appreciation.

  6. Why does it not surprise me that this woman does not see the difference between covering meat that some people (Good Catholics, gotta love em) don’t eat Friday and exposing people who are stuck in line to provocative pictures they do not want to see? Seeing meat is not a problem and seeing certain pictures is, though if some people wanted meat covered that is fine. Hasn’t this women been taught how to make correct analogies, or even basic critical thinking skills? It is kind of funny. With all the societal ills, people working themselves into raging volcanoes of anger because a store is willing to be thoughtful is silly. From what I have read on social media, there is no pleasing some of our neighbors. They fly into a rage about anything as long as you put the words Lakewood and Hassidics (as they often ignorantly call us) in a sentence

  7. I feel sorry for this lady that she has so much time on her hands to write so many letters. Covering the magazines is not violating anything regarding the first amendment. There are people starving and getting murdered all over the world , drug issues , underage drinking and this is what she is busy with. I am more than happy for her to go to cotsco because when Im spending my money in BJ I don’t want to have to shop with crazy people. She should be floored that in 2015 there are actually people trying to stay away from immodest images and doing their best to stay close to g-d .

  8. Will this self described “well qualified consumer” let this go? I think not. Am I surprised? Not really. Anyone who thinks income is disposable is morally bankrupt. Unfortunately she’ll likely find a whole cadre of strange bedfellow “activist” agitators just foaming at the mouth for the opportunity to strike.

  9. #13 I think she means discretionary income.
    #14 I would normally agree with you, but knowing some of these people, the magazines are just something certain people have siezed on as part of a broader agenda. These are the same people who rage about how “they” don’t pay taxes, control the police, never ever buckle children, and heavens know what else. The issue they are ranting about is never the true, underlying problem, which is that this community exists.

  10. I recently cancelled my Costco membership and bought a BJs membership because its more conveniently located; now I’m doubly happy I did!

  11. Glad that BJ’s is continuing to cover the inappropriate magazines. However, I like how Costco doesn’t even have magazine racks at its checkout lanes!

  12. #4 As to “Religious Freedom”. The Bill of Rights and the Constitution are about YOUR relationship with YOUR Government.
    It has nothing to do with a private business unless such violation is addressed in a separate Federal, State or Municipal Law.
    An owner of a business concern is quite free not only to cover magazines but sell any Book or Periodicals he wants to.
    If you’re so concerned, perhaps you should exercise your Right to a Judicial Remedy ie a Lawsuit.
    Good luck with that.

  13. ANONYMOUS #14/19
    Aw you’re upset, and sorry…..poor baby !
    I’ve noticed that most people who post as “Anonymous” don’t have the Courage of their convictions, they are cowards of thought and deed.
    As to “Religious Freedom”. The Bill of Rights and the Constitution are about YOUR relationship with YOUR Government.
    It has nothing to do with a private business unless such violation is addressed in a separate Federal, State or Municipal Law.
    An owner of a business concern is quite free not only to cover magazines but sell any Book or Periodicals he wants to.
    If you’re so concerned, perhaps you should exercise your Right to a Judicial Remedy ie a Lawsuit.
    Good luck with that.

  14. I would never endorse any establishment that brings in that schmutz regardless if their covered or not. That is why I only shop in kosher west. Yes, pritzus is sadly everywhere but the least we can do is shop in a yiddishe environment. If it costs a few extra dollars…nu nu that’s what being an ehrliche yid is all about. May we all be zoicheh to have a chag kosher visomeach

  15. BJ’s may cover whatever they wish to cover. BJ’s may accommodate whoever they wish to accommodate. It’s their store. You don’t like it? Too bad. They are not violating anyone’s rights. Period.

    This entire argument is moot.

  16. I honestly don’t think this should be such a big deal you have to give credit to bjs for covering the magazines but to get rid of them completely would be a bit too much I mean the world isn’t here to cater to you so don’t expect everything to go your way I know were all different but that doesn’t mean we can’t work together to get things done we have people saying “I would never shop at a store that shows those magazines” well then don’t but don’t down talk and act like you’re better then them because they’re different just like the people saying “its just for the orthodox Jews in Lakewood who cares” they do because of their beliefs and we should respect that as well you see the most people are only worried about what they want & don’t realize that other people matter as well even if they’re not the same

  17. Why does covering the magazines bother anyone? Is it really that big of a deal? I have a 6 year old that can read quite well; covering the magazines helps me! He doesn’t need to be reading the racy headlines on some of that (moderated)! People need to get a grip. It’s really not a big thing. It’s a magazine.

  18. BJ’s has the right to not even sell the magazines in question if that’s what they want to do. No one’s rights are being trampled on. If you would like to browse the magazines, pull one out and do so. I have small children and I’m not Jewish. My son is learning to read and I would rather not explain the headlines from tabloids to him. Stop looking for excuses to lash out at the Orthodox community. There are plenty of valid reasons to be upset with many of their practices. You look petty when you make an issue when there is none. Are you afraid to take on the bigger issues like blockbusting?

Comments are closed.