A supermarket in Germany eloquently explained why diversity is a necessity without uttering a single word.
By removing items from its shelves that were not made in Germany, the Edeka store in Hamburg showed its customers that a supermarket without imported goods would be practically barren and boring.
The empty shelves, once stocked with goods imported from countries all over Europe and beyond, made a powerful point when accompanied by signs bearing anti-xenophobic messages.
“So empty is a shelf without foreigners,” states one as it sits all by itself next to where other items should be.
“This shelf is quite boring without variety,” says another.
Upon entering the store, shoppers were shocked to see that so many of the products they relied on in their daily lives had been replaced by these signs, but soon understood the message the campaign was trying to convey.
Although consumers can easily see that a store with a small sample of goods to sell is fairly useless, the bigger picture should be just as clear — a world without diversity would be, quite frankly, dull and limited.
“We are really poor without variety,” can certainly apply to a store, but it can also be used to describe society, which is enriched when different people come together.
The campaign was met with mixed reactions; one side saw the intended message and agreed with it, while the other side questioned why so many products were imported from other countries over promoting German products.
A customer, Sven Schmidt, posted the images of the signs to his Twitter page, praising the campaign.
“Looking at all the mentions of hate and lack of understanding of other people I got, I’m happy that I posted it and showed my two cents against the racists, even though I know it was mainly about diversity,” he told the Independent.
— Sven (@opendev) August 19, 2017
His post was met with criticism from netizens who disagreed.
“But is not it racist that you “aliens” just fill the shelf?” said one twitter user. Others agreed, accusing the supermarket of using politics as a publicity stunt.
Overall, however, the company reported that the campaign has received overwhelmingly positive feedback and that the reception of their message is being regarded by the organization as successful.
A spokeswoman said of the campaign, “Edeka stands for variety and diversity. In our stores we sell numerous foods which are produced in the various regions of Germany.
“But only together with products from other countries it is possible to create the unique variety, that our consumers value. We are pleased that our campaign caused so many positive reactions.”