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Thankful for Penzeys Emails

November 22, 2016

“All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.”
~ Edmund Burke

Today’s post is going to use a lot of quotations. Large, block quotations too. I’m going to add boldface to the text for emphasis, so you can skip to the important parts. But so much has been misquoted in the press lately, so many positions have been mischaracterized, and so many statements have been truncated to change their tone and/or intent.

What’s the antidote? Well, if you believe Bill Penzey, it starts with cooking.

This is a spice company from Wisconsin. The business may be national, but the heart and soul of this company is in the heartland of America. Where do the coastal liberal elites buy spices? My guess is Whole Foods or maybe Williams-Sonoma. I honestly have no idea.

All joking aside, Penzey’s doesn’t sell to liberals or conservatives. It sells to cooks. And the company celebrates cooks every chance it gets.

Recently, Bill Penzey sent out three email newsletters. While they all sell spices, they also take a strong and decisive stand against the rise of racism in America. Just in case you had not yet seen them, I thought I would post them here. In full. Unedited. With the relevant sections called out in boldface by the Profussor.

Email One – Dropping the R Bomb

I love cooks. Your humanity is off the charts, but so is your strength. From the response to this past weekend’s promotion, it’s clear that the election still had you on the ropes Friday and Saturday. By Sunday you were right back at it, preparing for next week’s holiday gathering. Thanksgiving is the day we celebrate the kindness of the Wampanoag people towards the fresh-off-the-Mayflower immigrants to this land. President Lincoln thought highly of Thanksgiving, selecting it to be the first piece of the American experience from outside the Revolution to become a National Holiday. Next Thursday will be the 395th American Thanksgiving. I’m proud of the generations of cooks who have kept this holiday alive.

With so many missing out on the first two days of our offer, it seemed decent to give everyone another chance. Though we are a bit swamped from Sunday’s response, our experienced staff is draining that swamp without the need of any lobbyists at all :) Rest assured the spices you order tonight will be to you in time for Thanksgiving. No code is needed for the free regular shipping with just $20 spending, or the $10 4-jar Mini Gift Boxes; both are automatic. For your $7.40 value 1/4 cup Jerk Chicken and Quebec Seasonings visit us online at penzeys.com and after reaching $5 in spending, enter 1621J into the apply code box while checking out. It’s easy, but don’t delay!

My advice: Get at least one of the $10 Kind Heart Boxes, but a half-dozen might be even better. What happens going forward will be all about hearts and minds. The open embrace of racism by the Republican Party in this election is now unleashing a wave of ugliness unseen in this country for decades. The American people are taking notice. Let’s commit to giving the people a better choice. Our kindness really is our strength.

Heal the world—Cook dinner tonight!

Bill
bill@penzeys.com

Email Two – Responding to Readers and Clarifying His Stance

Cocoa deal through this Sunday: We sent out a postcard to the customers for who we had a physical address, but not an email address enticing them to sign up with a free $4.95 half-cup jar of Cocoa. Not wanting to leave out those who have already taken the time to sign up, we thought we should extend this offer to everyone. Just bring this email, or the printable coupon, to one of our stores before Sunday. Or visit us online at penzeys.com, and enter “COCOA” into the apply code box when checking out after spending at least $5. It really is nice Cocoa.

Love people through next Sunday: Here’s your chance to get a great price on one of our very best gift boxes. The Love people—Cook them tasty food boxes are a great introduction to our really good Spices, and our belief that when you take the time to care for the people in your life, great things get set in motion. Tasty food, too. No coupon or code needed to get these great prices. If you visit one of our stores, or visit penzeys.com you will find the price is already discounted.

And a heads up. We thought our Thanksgiving 400™ message, that what makes America great is that we are an immigrant in nation, and that every new group of immigrants makes us even greater, would be the right message for this election year. We did not anticipate just how right. The kind people here who grind, blend and package the great Spices I encourage you to buy are already letting me know that this year demand will overwhelm our ability to supply. I had planned on offering these same Love People Boxes at this very same price in mid-December, but they seem to think we will not be able to make the discount this steep or else the window we offer this discount will have to be very short. The Love People Boxes are just the right gift for these exciting times we are living in. Get yours now, and then relax knowing you are all set for the holidays.

Racism Update: At Penzeys we believe it’s not the use of tools that set us on a different path from the rest of the animal world; what has set humanity in motion is cooking. In our nearly a million years gathered together around the fire, cooking shaped our bodies and transformed our minds. Cooking unlocked our potential and gave birth to reason, to religion, and to politics and government. The kindness of tens of thousands of generations of cooks created our humanity, but racism, sexism, and homophobia can all very quickly unravel all the goodness cooking puts out into the world. As the voice of cooks, we will never sit idly by while that happens.

You may have read Tuesday Night’s email. In it I said: “The open embrace of racism by the Republican Party in this election is now unleashing a wave of ugliness unseen in this country for decades. The American people are taking notice. Let’s commit to giving the people a better choice. Our kindness really is our strength.”

Since I ask you to read my emails, I feel it’s only right that I read each of your replies. In sifting through those replies it was clear that, though not intended, a good number of people seemed to sincerely believe that in my statement I was calling all Republicans racists. In the emails of those Republicans who voted for someone other than the party’s nominee, I sensed genuine pain at having the strength of character to not go along with what was happening, but nonetheless be grouped in with those who were. I apologize for writing something that caused you pain; that is not the person I want to be. You are your party’s future, and you deserve my admiration and respect, and your country’s as well.

For the rest of you, you just voted for an openly racist candidate for the presidency of the United States of America. In your defense, most of you did so without thinking of the consequences of your candidate’s racism, because for most of you the heartbreaking destruction racism causes has never been anything you or your loved ones have had to experience. But the thing is elections have their consequences. This is no longer sixty years ago. Whether any of us like it or not, for the next four years the 80% of this country who did not just vote for an openly racist candidate are going to treat you like you are the kind of person who would vote for an openly racist candidate.

You can get angry at everyone else for treating you like you just did the thing you just did, or you can take responsibility for your actions and begin to make amends. If you are lucky and younger family members are still coming over for Thanksgiving, before it’s too late, take a moment and honestly think about how your actions must look through their eyes. Simply saying “I never thought he’d win” might be enough. But if you have the means, leaving a receipt from a sizable donation to the ACLU or the SPLC accidentally laying around where you carve the turkey, might go over even better.

Or, just do what you do best and volunteer. Through our customers’ support, we’ve given away a lot of our Penzeys Pepper, the Pepper with heart. More often than not, those we meet cooking and serving food to feed those in need are Republicans. You really are a good bunch, but you just committed the biggest act of racism in American history since Wallace stood in the schoolhouse doorway 53 years ago. Make this right. Take ownership for what you have done and begin the pathway forward.

Thanks for reading,

Bill
bill@penzeys.com

Email Three – The Repercussions

We were going to end our free Cocoa offer Sunday, but with all that was playing out it seemed better to hold off on an “Ends Today!” Email. So now you can get your free $4.95 value Cocoa with $5 purchase right through Wednesday. Our Cocoa really does bring joy to this season. If you are heading to one of our stores to finish your Thanksgiving shopping or to start your Holiday shopping be sure to bring this email or the coupon above along. Or visit us online at penzeys.com, and enter “COCOA” into the apply code box when checking out after spending at least $5. This really is nice Cocoa.

And the results are in from Friday’s Racism Update Email. You may remember this email was us re-sending our previous day’s email. In it we kindly asked those who chose to cast their vote for an openly racist candidate for the President of the United States to take responsibility for their action. With the re-send we put the UNSUBSCRIBE BUTTON right up on top for those needing to use it. We also hoped they would one day come back. The final results are that 0.721% of those on our email list chose to opt-out. 99.27% of you are still here. As I said Tuesday, I love cooks. You are amazing people.

I also want to thank you for the tremendous support from all our customers across the country. The incredibly written emails to me, the support on our Facebook page, the defense of Penzeys in comment sections across the internet—all of it has meant so incredibly much to me. After so many of the far-right media world encouraged their supporters to send their anger at me, I have to admit that I really had never been so insulted in all my life, and I have a history of getting out there on the internet. Without your incredible outpouring of support, I am sure the results for me would have been very different. I am forever in your debt. Thank you.

If you want to like us on Facebook, that would be great. If you want to encourage your friends and family to sign up on our Penzeys One email list, that would be good too. But with the support you’ve already given us, you really don’t need to do anything more.

And don’t miss your chance to get a great deal on our Love people—Cook them tasty food boxes for just $19.95 instead of the usual $29.95 and just $29.95 instead of the usual $44.95 for the deluxe. These boxes may well be the best introduction to Penzeys and our excitement for all the good things cooking brings into our lives. Tasty food has never been so easy. No code needed for this offer. Just get to one of our stores, or visit us online at penzeys.com where the prices are already adjusted. Plus, don’t delay. This is an amazing assortment at a really great price and may well be this year’s Tickle Me Elmo.

Thank you one more time for your support and for being our customer,

Bill
bill@penzeys.com

Thank you Bill. Thank you for doing something. Thank you for taking a risk. Thank you for speaking out. Thank you for tackling this thorny issue with kindness and respect. It’s true I’ve been a fan of your spices for a long time. Now they fill me with an even more lustrous warmth.

Cooks rock.

8 Comments leave one →
  1. -R. permalink
    November 22, 2016 11:16 am

    Totally off topic (though I enjoyed the email), but you’re WAY overdue for an AskTP. Are you dropping that feature? What gives?

    • November 22, 2016 11:19 am

      I know. Sorry. It’s gotten away from me. I’m not dropping the feature. But I’m glad to hear it is missed.

      That may light a fire under my bottom to get it done. Thanks.

  2. Jennifer permalink
    November 22, 2016 11:59 am

    Thank you for posting this email by Bill Penzey. This is an extremely important message that he gives voice to. The more it is shared the better.

  3. November 22, 2016 1:12 pm

    “[Y]ou just voted for an openly racist candidate for the presidency of the United States of America. In your defense, most of you did so without thinking of the consequences of your candidate’s racism, because for most of you the heartbreaking destruction racism causes has never been anything you or your loved ones have had to experience.” … “You can get angry at everyone else for treating you like you just did the thing you just did, or you can take responsibility for your actions and begin to make amends.” YES SO MUCH THIS. I’m so sick an tired of seeing “The media treats him unfairly!” and “He’s not a racist, look at these 5 things he’s done in his life that are good!” and “How can he be an anti-Semite* when his daughter and son-in-law are Jewish?” and “But Hillary [insert made up piece of garbage excuse here]!” SICK OF IT.

    I have friends who voted for Trump who held their nose while doing it, but at the end of the day couldn’t reconcile endorsing Hillary’s policies with their votes. While I don’t agree with them politically, I respect them, as these people have already come out denouncing much of the nonsense out of the last couple of weeks. They have neither apologized nor tried to justify their vote, and I immensely respect that. Everyone else? I’m just tired of hearing it. I’m really tired of it. I recognize that there has been a population in this country that has been summarily ignored and demeaned by both parties in recent decades and they just want their livelihoods back. But most of these people on the fringes of my various social circles do not fit in that category. Stop justifying to me why you voted for him. Stop trying to convince me he’s “a good guy” and he “didn’t mean most of that stuff” and how brown people who can’t speak English and aren’t Christian don’t belong here anyway. (Ahhh, yes, but you ARE saying that, stop denying it.) And, most of all, stop telling me that you would “never be so disrespectful to Obama.” (Lie.) Just stop it. I don’t want to hear it anymore.

    *I don’t think he is an anti-Semite. I do think he is a narcissistic and misogynistic racist. But, you know, while you yourself might not be a racist even if you knowingly voted for an openly racist candidate, aligning yourself with anti-Semites because “you agree on other things,” well …

  4. Dave S permalink
    November 22, 2016 6:50 pm

    Politically neutral spicers:

    https://www.thespicehouse.com/
    (Penzeys relation!)

    https://www.myspicesage.com/

    I voted for Hillary, but Penzeys, while I like the pepper
    the political emails are overbearing…

  5. November 22, 2016 7:45 pm

    Accusing President-Elect Trump of being a racist is hate speech, and when Mr. Berman praises Penzey’s hate, it makes him a hater too.

    This website is now officially a hate blog.

    • November 23, 2016 3:33 am

      Hi Noah,

      I’m not entirely sure how calling out someone for being racist is hate speech. If that’s the case, then you are going to have to go after Paul Ryan too. Remember when the PEOTUS impugning the integrity on a Federal judge because he was Mexican, Ryan said it was a “textbook definition of a racist comment.”

      Here’s the thing. When Bill Penzey says someone is racist, he may mean it in a very different way than you hear it. The same goes for House Speaker Ryan.

      To explain it further, I’m going to point towards an article in Slate earlier this month. It suggests that people are arguing past each other on the topic of what it means to be racist. And it really makes a lot of sense.
      http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/politics/2016/11/the_people_who_look_at_trump_and_don_t_see_a_racist.html

      I’d like to end with the reminder, that Bill Penzey’s note was not a message of hate. It was one of action, and it was rooted in love. His three email chain began with a statement of love. the second note contained the affirmation, “More often than not, those we meet cooking and serving food to feed those in need are Republicans. You really are a good bunch.”

      As unusual as it may be, I believe in discourse, and not yelling at people from extreme sides of a position. One brings people together. The other only makes noise.

      Of course, there are things I truly hate. Like Dunkin’ Donuts. So I don’t mind the blog being called a hate blog, per se. It’s a big part of my tag cloud. But hate is another very strong word, and I’d like to see that one applied appropriately too.

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