An Oakdale grocery store is offering supporters of President Donald Trump a 20% discount on purchases, excluding beer, the store’s Facebook page posted this week.
"TRUMP Supporters GET 20% OFF," read the ad, decorated with an American flag, from the Fresh Food Supermarket on Montauk Highway. "MENTION AT THE CASH REGISTER YOU ARE A TRUMP SUPPORTER TO GET DISCOUNT. (EXCLUDES BEER)."
A woman who answered the store phone Thursday morning, Alejandra Garcia, told a caller: "You just go up to the counter. You tell the cashier that you’re a supporter of Trump, and we’ll give you the discount."
The sale began Thursday and runs indefinitely, but savings are capped at $20 per purchase, Garcia said.
In an interview, store owner José Colón said that he knew before he made the Facebook post that the sale would be controversial. He said he voted for Barack Obama in the 2008 and 2012 elections, but that he voted for Trump in 2016 and is voting for Trump again this year.
"I’m a Trump supporter. We live in a free country. We have freedom of speech to support any candidate," he said, explaining that he believes Trump "will help this country recoup from the pandemic economically."
As for why beer is excluded from the sale, Colón said it’s because the tax he has to pay on alcohol is higher than for other items in the store.
On Facebook, the post’s commenters gave mixed reviews to the discount.
"Some things should be freaking politics free!! Food shopping should be one of them," wrote one commenter, punctuating her post with two face-palm emojis.
But another commenter posted three American flag emojis and one of two hands placed firmly together, signifying a thank you: "Can’t wait to support your business . . . God Bless America."
In the 2016 presidential election, Trump got a majority of the vote in Suffolk County — 52.5%. Barack Obama won the county in 2008 and 2012. In Nassau, which Hillary Clinton won, Trump got 45.9%.
In July, a St. James pizzeria got a shoutout from Trump's Twitter account after the proprietor appeared on Fox News to say that a customer had threatened to organize a boycott of the restaurant for displaying a Trump 2020 flag.
John F. Banzhaf III, a professor at George Washington University Law School, said that unlike treating customers differently based on gender, race, sexual orientation, religion or other protected bases: "Political expression and so on is not a protected class, so legally, I suppose they could give discounts to Trump supporters or Biden supporters or anyone else they want."
At Fresh Food, asked whether there would be a discount given to shoppers who announce support for Trump’s Democratic opponent, Joe Biden, Colón said: "I’ll give them a discount as well," but he demurred when asked about third-party candidates.
There are no apparent ads from the store offering discounts to supporters of any other candidate but Trump.
With Rachel Weiss