Udo Siebzehnrübl will not open his stores next Monday after all. The right-wing scene wanted to exploit his action for their own purposes. "So we have no choice but to cancel the planned store opening again," said Siebzehnrübl. "Never could we have imagined that this action would take such a path."
The announcement by the German retailer who runs five Intersport stores in Altötting, Pasing, Passau, Riem and Rosenheim, that he would open its stores next Monday despite the shutdown generated a great deal of media coverage. Many retail colleagues showed solidarity with Siebzehnrübl – but also lateral thinkers, some uniting under the hashtag #wirmachenauf [#weopen].
And all of a sudden, Siebzehnrübl himself was considered to be a lateral thinker. "We are neither lateral thinkers nor pandemic deniers, nor right nor left. We are a company just in the middle of society." But when today there was suddenly a contribution on the AfD Bayern page, Siebzehnrübl was alerted. Things went on, statements were misinterpreted, contributions were placed in a false context. "We are not supporters of #wirmachenauf, we have nothing to do with that at all," Siebzehnrübl clarifies. "The right-wingers jumped on our bandwagon. That stopped our plan abruptly." The image of Intersport should also not be affected negatively, Siebzehnrübl says. A limit has been reached for him, he said. Instead, he rather wants to fight for the rights of retailers, being a democrat and standing in for open discussion.
"But we still achieved something positive," the retailer is convinced. "We have done our part to make politicians aware of the problems of the retail trade and especially of the sports retail trade in the first place. Many politicians really believe we are swimming in money. Again and again, I've noticed in conversations that they can't believe that we fall through all the cracks and don't get any support."
[NOTE: The original version of this article has been published 05 January 2021 on textilwirtschaft.de.]