Monday, February 06, 2006
French supermarket chain Carrefour removed all Danish products from their shelves. Carrefour has 3 outlets in Egypt, 2 in Cairo and 1 in Alexandria. It’s ironic because the chain is supposed to be French and a French newspaper published the cartoons as well!
Anyway, I totally disagree with what carefour did, however, from a business standpoint, I believe they did exactly the right thing.
First, the supermarket chain wants to create a psychological bond with its Egyptian customer. It wants to appear “Egyptian”, “local”, “less foreign”, and a “company that shares the concerns of its customer”.
Second, I think Carrefour don’t want to meet the fate of Sainsbury’s. The giant British retailer withdrew from the Egyptian market after a cartel of local retailers spread the rumor that it was owned by Jews. That was at the height of the Palestinian intifada. One of Sainsbury’s outlets was burned down and a wide boycott of its outlets forced the retailer to abandon any hopes of staying in the lucrative Egyptian market. Now, by removing Danish products, Carrefour is arming itself against any similar rumor about it.
The sign tells customers that Carrefour decided to stop selling Danish products in an attempt to “face the wave of ridicule that Danish papers are directing towards the Islamic faith”. Notice how the sign says “Danish papers”. In other words, the sign makes it appear as if there is a systematic effort by several Danish papers to ridicule and insult Islam!!! And this is definitely not the case. I am wondering whether Carrefour’s French managers have read a French translation of this Arabic sign!
The sign also informs the customer to report any Danish product he/she has bumped into and it will be immediately removed.
This is so funny! Danish company Arla Foods should have serious talk with Carrefour back in Paris!
The red sign reads: This product is Danish.
Our dear customers, in our show of support with the Islamic and Egyptian world, we don’t sell Danish products.