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Like a (pit) bull in a china shop
May 29, 2012 11:29 AM   Subscribe

You may have seen Replacements, Ltd.'s print ads in the back of PARADE magazine (of Howard Huge fame). Replacements, both a seller and a resource for china and glassware owners, was one of the few North Carolina businesses to publicly take a stand [NYT] against the state's vote to ban gay marriage. As an employer, Replacements is one of only nine companies in the country to receive a perfect score for ten years straight in the Human Rights Campaign's Corporate Equality Index. But the company is also known for another surprisingly liberal policy: encouraging its 450 employees to bring their pets to work amidst millions of pieces of china and glassware. How many? A whole lot.

From the article:
Mr. Page drives a Ford Explorer with 146,000 miles on it and said he had never paid more than $10 for a shirt. His father was a tobacco farmer with a ninth-grade education and his family of six lived in three rooms with no indoor bathroom. He attended the Happy Home United Church of Christ with his family and earned a 10-year attendance pin. “I prayed that God would not make me this way,” he said. Mr. Page served two years in the Army and was the only member of his family to attend college, graduating from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
posted by Madamina (31 comments total) 23 users marked this as a favorite

 
Two-step plan: 1) move to North Carolina. 2) adopt a bull.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 11:31 AM on May 29, 2012 [14 favorites]


For reference: my personal dinnerware pattern is this lovely Boryngg Witplåt set.

It's Swedish.
posted by Madamina at 11:36 AM on May 29, 2012


They should seriously consider leaving NC and give the Repubs a taste of their own "kiss my feet or I'll leave the state taking my tax money and jobs with me" medicine.

Of course, I didn't RTFA so perhaps it's mentioned??
posted by spicynuts at 11:41 AM on May 29, 2012


Two-step plan: 1) move to North Carolina. 2) adopt a bull.

There was a Mythbusters episode about that. The result was extremely surprising.
posted by jedicus at 11:50 AM on May 29, 2012 [10 favorites]


Exactly where would you prepose they go, spicynuts? Most states already had amendments against gay marriage before this one in NC passed, including supposed liberal strongholds like California and Oregon. To really support gay marriage, Replacements, Ltd would be pretty much limited (hah!) to MA, IA, DC, or NY, with some hope for MD and WA.

It is absolutely awful what has happened in NC, but this movement to boycott the state as though the rest of the country isn't just as bad is really dumb. Rather than boycott NC, support NC folks who opposed the amendment, including Replacements, Ltd, Duke University, and many municipalities.
posted by hydropsyche at 12:01 PM on May 29, 2012 [7 favorites]


1. Good for them.
2. They're the only place I could find a match for my Great Aunt Helen's china.
posted by xingcat at 12:01 PM on May 29, 2012


I recommend taking the tour through the Replacements warehouses to see all parts of the operations and the many dogs. It is a nice tour, particularly if you've been a customer - you see all areas of the process (the section where they talk abut identifying and grading the goods and determining condition is particularly interesting if you are at all interested in china and glass) and the workers are super friendly. The dogs are all well-behaved, too.

Replacements is often on the upper end of the realistic value scale in terms of what they charge, but if you have a rare or obscure pattern, they can save your bacon and then sell you a bacon server and a serving plate made specifically to keep bacon warm on the table in that pattern. They're also very accurate in describing condition (which is rarer than it should be), and will totally try to identify an obscure poorly-marked pattern for you for free.

It seems like a really well-run business in every way.

For them to move out of state instead of staying there and being a good example and a force of change strikes me as unlikely - as a customer, I get the impression they're as loyal to their employees (many of whom might not be able to pick up and go along) as their employees seem to be to them.
posted by julen at 12:06 PM on May 29, 2012 [15 favorites]


I sold a bunch of china to them about four years ago. It was a really good experience, they even took care of submitting the insurance paperwork to the USPS for me to get reimbursed for the one box that broke in transit. Glad to see they're good folks as well.
posted by postel's law at 12:08 PM on May 29, 2012


Well then. Consider me a future customer.
posted by HotToddy at 12:09 PM on May 29, 2012 [5 favorites]


Enjoy eating on your mismatched plate set homophobes!
posted by cazoo at 12:11 PM on May 29, 2012 [9 favorites]


I work in a small office where the owners bring their two chihuahuas every day. It's all very fun and charming until a stranger comes into the office; then it's a struggle to get anything done while the dogs make an earsplitting racket.

Pets at work aren't always what they're cracked up to be.
posted by kinnakeet at 12:12 PM on May 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


I so have a list of stuff I need from Replacements. I use china from my parent's household that I'm kinda attached to, as grew I up with it, and it's the only place I can find that has it. Glad to know they're good people.
posted by snuffleupagus at 12:14 PM on May 29, 2012


I love The Replacements! What? Oh.
posted by benito.strauss at 12:36 PM on May 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


They should seriously consider leaving NC and give the Repubs a taste of their own "kiss my feet or I'll leave the state taking my tax money and jobs with me" medicine.

Hi there, there are lots of us who live in this state and are quite passionate about liberal policies. This type of activity would hurt exactly the wrong people.
posted by odinsdream at 12:37 PM on May 29, 2012 [9 favorites]


Yeah, I probably couldn't work at a place like that - I'm =real= allergic to cats. They're OK in small doses, but everyday exposure really does a number on me. I don't know how I feel about a "progressive" company making an employee choose between their health and their job.
posted by Slap*Happy at 12:38 PM on May 29, 2012


Mike Daisey (yes, I know, that Mike Daisey) on dogs in the workplace:
The best thing about the dogs was that nobody put them on leashes because this was Seattle and that would have been so oppressive, so they roamed up and down the hallways in packs. No joke—there were packs of dogs, all shapes and sizes, wandering up and down the spooky, echoing halls. When you stepped out of the elevator they turned toward you, jogged down the hallway lolling their hungry tongues, tried to ride up and down to other floors, took over stairwells. Wild dogs on every floor—everyone would have been scared if they were Hispanics, but they're not, they're just dogs, so it's fine! I subscribed to the dogs@amazon.com email list even though I didn't own one.
--Mike Daisey, 21 Dog Years: Doing Time @ Amazon.com.
When I was an intern at Amazon (many years after Daisey's book), there were definitely dogs all over the place. I'd be sitting at my desk minding my own business, and some random dog would pop up and park himself directly under my desk. If bestiality wasn't such a taboo, the place would be full of "secretary under the desk" jokes. Oddly enough, this was not covered in the mandatory sexual harassment web-based training. I quickly learned that there was no point in attempting to remove or discourage said dog, and that he would eventually move along when he felt like it. I did my best to avoid kicking the dogs hanging out under my desk.

Amazon's official position at the time was that cats weren't banned per se, but that the company "didn't believe that cats would be happy here." Some of the other office facilities were dog free (less accommodating building ownership presumably), and I believe employees with severe allergies could be accommodated there or just given an office with a door if that's suitable enough.
posted by zachlipton at 12:45 PM on May 29, 2012


Amazon's official position at the time was that cats weren't banned per se, but that the company "didn't believe that cats would be happy here."

I've heard that from various companies over the years. I still maintain one could pop a couple floating ceiling tiles out every few rooms and use a few strategically placed boards to have a "cat level" as it were.
posted by tilde at 12:52 PM on May 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


I love Replacements. The day after Christmas one year we took a not-so-great picture of these old-but-not-expensive wineglasses my mom had gotten from a great-aunt and had a lot of sentimental attachment to, but wasn't sure if they'd be the sort of thing Replacements had because they weren't fancy. But she only had three so she could hardly ever use them. We pushed a dark-blue cocktail napkin up against the pattern etched on the bowl of the glass to try to get it to show up. It sort-of worked.

The e-mailed us back identifying the pattern WITHIN TWO HOURS ON THE DAY AFTER CHRISTMAS.

My mom completed the set by New Year's!

"Replacements is often on the upper end of the realistic value scale in terms of what they charge, but if you have a rare or obscure pattern"

Yeah, but it's so freaking EASY. I need a slotted serving spoon that matches my silverware, I can get one from them in three days without having to hunt around.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 12:52 PM on May 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


zachlipton: " I believe employees with severe allergies could be accommodated there or just given an office with a door if that's suitable enough."

Or they could just use their desk for its intended purpose....
posted by schmod at 1:05 PM on May 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


Wow, they just shot from one to ten on my online retailers' credibility measure.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 1:31 PM on May 29, 2012


You can definitely find stuff cheaper than Replacements' prices. But Replacements will absolutely sell you the right thing, well-packaged for shipping, with the condition absolutely accurately described, and if the website says it's in stock -- then it's in stock. A lot of people find that to be worth the extra money, and I can't say they're wrong.
posted by KathrynT at 3:42 PM on May 29, 2012


They should seriously consider leaving NC...

Why you shouldn't boycott North Carolina.
posted by K.P. at 4:08 PM on May 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


I was just there last week for the first time. We didn't have time for a tour but they certainly are a friendly group of people.
There is a crazy amount of stuff there (only 2% of their stock is displayed) but I was even more amazed by the number of china cabinets, breakfronts etc etc. Another company might have display shelves, these guys have over a hundred different display pieces - I counted while we were waiting for some stainless cutlery to be polished before they'd sell it.
And I can totally believe the $10 shirt info bit. They also sell their logo-wear and I got a very nice quality polo shirt for $9.99
posted by jaimystery at 4:10 PM on May 29, 2012


While I don't disagree that people shouldn't boycott NC, I'd really rather not hang the argument on "the places that voted for Amendment One suck." Also, anyone who thinks that Pittsboro is "what people love about North Carolina" more than the tourist popular coastal counties(which with the exception of Dare voted for the Amendment) is confusing me.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 4:28 PM on May 29, 2012


I drove past the Replacements, Ltd. billboards often from Jan-April this year, and I have to say I was heartened every time I did. My mom sent me the NYT article, and my response to her was:
The last sentence of the article doesn't seem to gibe with the headline:
"Angry e-mails and letters notwithstanding, and despite the weak economy, Mr. Page said 2011 was one of the best in the company’s history."

That makes me happy, and I hope it's the same for 2012. Thanks for supporting NC gay-friendly businesses, y'all.
posted by Stewriffic at 5:46 PM on May 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


All my sister asked for for Christmas a few years back was replacement plates to finish out a set. Replacements, Ltd. had the hookup. They are good folks.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 9:29 PM on May 29, 2012


Love Replacements. Even more now.
posted by Cocodrillo at 3:11 AM on May 30, 2012


I also love Replacements, makes me happy to be from North Carolina. :)
posted by Ms. Moonlight at 8:04 AM on May 30, 2012


While I don't disagree that people shouldn't boycott NC, I'd really rather not hang the argument on "the places that voted for Amendment One suck." Also, anyone who thinks that Pittsboro is "what people love about North Carolina" more than the tourist popular coastal counties(which with the exception of Dare voted for the Amendment) is confusing me.

I... I don't know what you're trying to say here. Double-negatives, or something.
posted by odinsdream at 10:24 AM on May 30, 2012


I... I don't know what you're trying to say here. Double-negatives, or something.

I was responding to the article that K.P. linked to, which argues that we should not boycott North Carolina because the places that tourists spend money voted against the amendment. I agree that we shouldn't boycott NC, but I don't agree with the reasoning. It needlessly splits North Carolina into good parts and bad parts as if it would be worth boycotting Catawba County for voting for a law that's on the books in most states.

I also think he's cherry picking which areas he identifies as "what Americans love about North Carolina." People love the North Carolina beaches, and while Dare County did vote (narrowly) against the amendment, other counties that represent the coastal part of the state voted for it (Currituck, Carteret, Onslow, New Hanover). If he's trying to argue that the North Carolina coast is some bastion of enlightened progressive politics, he's wrong.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 10:44 AM on May 30, 2012


Thank you, that's much clearer.
posted by odinsdream at 1:10 PM on May 30, 2012


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