The following letter was written by me to the owner of a company that I've supported and have been a great fan of, until I read their latest catalog received by mail. I no longer will purchase their pricey spices or products for the reasons I cite in the letter, and I will not recommend them in the future. So long Penzey's.

Jan Lukas


Hello Bill,
 
Ever since my first visit to Penzeys at Cleveland's inner city location on West 25th Street, I've been a loyal customer, promoter and gift giver of your products. I have a dedicated area in my pantry for Penzey's and have turned on many people to some of your spice mixes. I'm on a budget because of retirement and live within my means. But I still made provision to support your company and its expensive items. I've read a little about you. Now a bit about me.
 
I taught 10 years in Cleveland's low income areas and have experience working with people of many colors. I loved working there because in the 70's Cleveland Schools had an appreciation for education and some semblance of order and respect. However, I saw the deterioration of the system in forced administrative promotion of children who could not read, lack of parental involvement, teachers who did not care for the children's welfare who were protected by the teacher's union and forced busing which failed to improve the situation. I am a graduate of Cleveland Public Schools and came from a home of modest means with one parent working a blue collar job. All four children were the first in our family's history to complete college and we all worked hard to make our way in life. I now volunteer my time working for family and American values based organizations. I preface my complaint so you know from where I come.
 
Looking forward to the recipe laden and family oriented stories of your catalogs, I must say that I'm distressed and quite irritated at your latest Penzey's publication, Summer 2015. If I wanted to read anything about politics, all I need do is turn on TV, radio or internet. How can I enjoy a new recipe fringed with an article about your personal social justice issues? When your company catalog articles start promoting your political agenda, you have done a disservice to your customer. In particular, I'm referring to, "Transportation Justice and the ACLU of Wisconsin." I'm sorry to say that I don't care about Milwaukee's mass transit system funding or "racial justice" issues appearing in a business advertising publication, even if you believe that what you do is more compassionate than other companies. Perhaps your "father had the gift of perception", however, your editorial premise about "spices bringing the world closer" sounds like utopian claptrap especially when you relate it to 'inequality' and 'fairness.' You sound like a politician.
 
Good values, common sense, compassion seasoned with control are what connects us to the reality of our lives. Spices? Not so sure about that.
 
By the tone of your editorial piece which seems more like a newspaper oped, it appears that someone in your family may be running for office in Milwaukee and you plan to continue your personal feelings and "social justice" promotion in future mailings of company ads.  If that is true, you have lost me as a customer and I will be forwarding my thoughts by email to my contact list as well as talking to friends about your choice. It's unfortunate that you cannot separate the political and business compartments of your life. But in your estimation, it appears that you will use the one to gain traction in the other.
 
If "variety is the spice of life," I choose to shop elsewhere for something new that suits my tastes better than your company. Farewell to Fox Point and to Penzey's.
 
From a common customer who calls out manipulation when she sees it. 

Jan Lukas