April 3, 2012

Speak Up: No More Dirty Magazines At Gas Station

Shared Anonymously

As a teenager, my mom would stop by the same convenient store every morning on our way to school and we would make our regular purchases, gas, chewing gum and other candy. I continued to use the same gas station for those purchases for years  until a couple of  years ago. I went in and there was a new owner. As I stood in the checkout line, I noticed a magazine rack directly behind me. It was placed where anybody who walked to the counter to make a purchase had no choice but to be forced to view the pornographic magazines. Cosmopolitan had nothing on the selection this gas station had available. Standing in that line was like watching a pornography video. If that wasn’t bad enough, the owner had even installed a second rack of even more obscene magazines at the side of the checkout counter. I made my last purchase, went home, and looked up the address of the gas station. When I found it, I sat down and spent an hour handwriting a letter to the new owner.  I was only 19 years old at the time and that was the first letter I had ever hand written in hopes to stop the vulgar material going on in our small town. I was sure that my letter would be torn up and my concerns left unaddressed. I simply stated that I was personally offended that the pornographic material would be forced upon customers in such a way. I briefly stated the harms of pornography to children and mentioned a few facts to prove that it is harmful to children and destroying to relationships. I also mentioned my personal feelings on the matter. I told the owner that as a young woman, I was  offended that he would have such degrading material displayed in the open. I told him that many women like me feel pressure and feel as if we’re nothing more than disposable sex objects made only for men’s eyeballs. I told him that  we should be able to buy gas without feeling those pressures or being forced to view pornographic material. It’s not bad enough that we can’t watch television without it being forced on us. I sent the letter off the next day with butterflies in my stomach. I refused to step foot back in that gas station unless the obscene material was gone. My boyfriend who has stood with me,  also refused to ever do business there!  Months had  passed and I hadn’t gotten a response from the owner nor had we shopped there again. I was curious to know if the same person still owned the store and of course, curious to know if they had ever stopped selling the material so I went in one day. The rack that was once full of pornography at the counter checkout was no longer there! Instead, there was a small rack of funny bumper stickers in its place. I thought surely the owner just moved the pornography to the side of the counter or near the back. I walked all throughout the small store and there wasn’t a single stitch of nudity anywhere! Even the beer banners covered in nudity that are at some other stores, didn’t contain nudity!  I have now resumed shopping there and have actually made friends with the owner!

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