Men's Wearhouse: Suits for the 99%

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'scoverage 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.

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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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