Men's Wearhouse: Suits for the 99% The Occupy Wall Street protesters might not believe they've got too many "suits" on their side, but retailer Men's Wearhouse (MW) took a stand for the 99% in Oakland, Calif., last week.

Last Wednesday, Occupy Oakland planned a citywide strike to protest income disparity in America, and the local Men's Wearhouse closed its doors in support that day, hanging a sign on its storefront that read: "We stand with the 99%."

It's doubtful that this was a ploy to persuade thousands of Oakland protesters not to hate on the suits (or lob rocks through the store window). The Atlantic's coverage pointed out that Men's Wearhouse founder and Chairman George Zimmer has a history of shelling out political donations to Democratic candidates like Howard Dean and U.S. Rep Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), and also financially supported California's Proposition 19 effort to legalize marijuana.

Granted, those members of the 99% who don't actually support "the 99%" who have been occupying Wall Street, Oakland, and everywhere else might be offended by Men's Wearhouse decision. To be fair, though, I have to wonder how many people who are ready to boycott Men's Wearhouse would defend, say, Chik-fil-A's decision to close every Sunday (that policy, described as "as much practical as spiritual," has been in place at that chain since 1946, despite its religious undertones).

Businesses have the right to take such measures and create their own policies, even if the reasons are controversial, contentious or politicized. And of course, it's also every consumer's right to decide if they still want to shop at establishments that have taken firm stands on hot-button issues.

Furthermore, many businesses and corporate leaders take the sneaky way out on controversial topics and quietly donate to candidates and causes. Often, consumers are never the wiser about what their spending at those establishments eventually helps support.

Let's give credit to the companies that actually take public stands on major issues -- it's pretty darn courageous. They might lose some customers, but they're also being far more honest in revealing what their managements are all about. The Occupy Wall Street crowd may not be fans of suits, but clearly, some suits are on their side anyway.

Motley Fool analyst Alyce Lomax does not own shares of Men's Wearhouse. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.



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115 Comments

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laedbac1

The vast majority of sane Americans stand with these protesters and agree with their cause. God Bless America.

November 10 2011 at 5:37 AM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to laedbac1's comment
janswizz

Sane Americans don't destroy property and defecate and urinate on police cars and public property, or rape and steal from their fellow protesters.
Our nations laws are made in Washington D.C. not Wall Street. So I would say take their gripes up with the legislators on Capitol Hill.

November 10 2011 at 10:25 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
amosesjr

Kudos to Men's Warehouse...........now where is that Jos. A. Bank catalog?

November 10 2011 at 5:03 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Patty

Under Obama and Clinton the top 1% wealth increased...not so with Bush...and that is not an opinion..........and only 29% support OWS.......ditto for the media hiding all the violence.........that I have listed before.........

November 10 2011 at 3:58 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
Patty

Yes....and with a sign in the Men's Wearhouse..... window telling of their support........unfortunately...............they got a busted window in return.....

November 10 2011 at 3:54 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
libbyejansen

Now how about some of the other companies putting it out there on the line. I here so many companies complain about poor sales, but how they expect to have sales when there are no jobs so that people can buy anything. A one day closure in support may not sound like much but if enough companies followed suit then it would make a difference. Instead they preach business as usuall and when the results are dismal they fire, lay off, or force employees to quit; often by underhanded methods. forgetting that in the long term they are shooting themselves in the foot. I wonder what they are going to do if the government is forced that we are in a full blown 1930's type depression, I gaureente it won't be nice at all..

November 10 2011 at 3:51 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
amavel

I really don't understand people's anger toward the protests. It is UnAmerican. That is the freedom we hold so dear.
"I would rather be exposed to the inconvenience attending too much Liberty, than those attending too small a degree of it"
Thomas Jefferson

November 10 2011 at 1:22 AM Report abuse -3 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to amavel's comment
Patty

Because....the media is hiding the sexual assaults, pedophilia, r*pe of a deaf man, public m*saturb*tion, nudity, drug taking and drug selling, clashes with police, death threats, throwing elderly women down stairs, defecation on cars and door steps, employees losing their jobs, gun toting, using children as barriers, charities losing monies, signs supporting marxism, videos and signs of anti-semetism, etc. etc. etc.

November 10 2011 at 3:57 AM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
amavel

You can't buy that kind of publicity.

November 10 2011 at 1:08 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
pnappleprincess

Good for Mens' Wearhouse!

November 10 2011 at 12:23 AM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
djrowan

Men's Wearhouse will never again get any of my business.

November 09 2011 at 11:57 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to djrowan's comment
libbyejansen

I doubt you shooped ther anyway. so why the grandstand now?

November 10 2011 at 3:52 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
Vern

Hey George - I'll NEVER shop at any of your stores again. I GUARANTEE IT!

November 09 2011 at 11:55 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Vern's comment
libbyejansen

I doubt they will miss you. they will doubtless get many more customers to make up for the "loss".

November 10 2011 at 3:54 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply