So You Want To Buy A Confederate Flag

glory battleGood news, everyone! The Union has finally won the last battle of the civil war, only like 150 years later, and the states that attempted to secede back in the mid 19th century are agreeing to stop flying their rebel banner. Originally Governor Nikki Haley of South Carolina wasn’t sure she wanted to get the Assembly to take down the stars-and-bars; after all, the Washington Post reported, she wasn’t getting pressure to remove it from anyone who mattered.

“What I can tell you is over the last 3½ years, I spent a lot of my days on the phones with CEOs and recruiting jobs to this state,” she said last year in a gubernatorial debate. “I can honestly say I have not had one conversation with a single CEO about the Confederate flag.”

That changed. Among others, Apple’s Tim Cook, who was born in rural Alabama, called Haley, and presumably Taylor Swift did too, because Haley about-faced. Since SC’s governor made the decision to do the right thing, others have followed; and now America’s largest retailers, one after another, are getting into the spirit and announcing that they will no longer sell flags or rebel memorabilia.

So, naturally, business is booming:

Amazon’s sales of Confederate flags have skyrocketed by more than 3,000% in the past 24 hours.

People are snatching up the flags online after several major retailers — including eBay, Wal-Mart, and Sears — pulled them from shelves.

The retailers banned the flags after last week’s shooting in Charleston, South Carolina, in which a gunman killed nine people in the historic black Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church.

Amazon has now stopped selling the merchandise as well, making this Awl post even more historic.

Where will bigots, historians, “Dukes of Hazzard” fans, re-enactors, and people who want to celebrate National Burn A Confederate Flag Day turn? Small businesses, of course.

Dewey Barber, who owns the clothing store Dixie Outfitters in Odum, Georgia, said he is going to get into the market for selling the Confederate flag as a response to the major retailers’ actions.

Barber said his clothing sales saw a 500 percent spike just on Wednesday. With fewer suppliers and a high demand, Barber expects the price of Confederate items to rise.

Rebelstore.com,an online store that usually gets 20 orders for Confederate flags in 24 hours, said it received 3,000 in one day.

Well, we are always encouraging customers to shop local.

Some store owners are having a tough time making the decision whether or not to stock the flag — and getting creative about compromises with their consciences, like this guy in Portland, OR:

“When you have a flag store you’re going to carry things you don’t like,” he said. “Because if you didn’t, you wouldn’t be true to the completeness of the collection. If you go to any flag store anywhere in the country, it’s the same dilemma.”

Those who buy the Confederate flags from his shop tend to be Civil War reenactors, movie production companies and students working on reports, he said.

Anchel said he hopes his store hasn’t enabled bigots or racists to promote their views; he raised prices on his Confederate flags a few years ago to discourage sales.

“We are nowhere near competitive,” he said. “And that’s for a good reason. I’m perfectly happy to have lousy sales of the Confederate flag. …. I think we reorder American flags several times a month, and we reorder the Confederate flag maybe once every other year. It’s just not something we sell a lot of. And that includes online and in our store.”

But later Tuesday afternoon, Anchel removed the Confederate flags from his online store. And after receiving input from his staff, he decided to change the way he sells the flag in the store, as well.

First, he’s removing Confederate flags from the shelves. Where they once sat, he’ll post a sign telling customers the flags are available behind the counter, and that Elmer’s will donate 100 percent of proceeds from sales of the flags to organizations that fight racism and bigotry, like the Southern Poverty Law Center or the NAACP.

Genius.

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