Lemonis’ big flag stays. Is its size a measure of his patriotism?

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By Chuck Woodbury
EDITOR

How patriotic are you? Marcus Lemonis, the CEO of Camping World and the Good Sam Club is very patriotic. At least that’s what he wants you to think.


As you may know by now, for the last year he has flown a huge American flag over his Gander Outdoors store in Statesville, North Carolina. It was so big it violated a local size ordinance. The permitted size was 25 feet by 40 feet. Lemonis’ flag was 40 feet by 80 feet. Lemonis cited his patriotism in continuing to fly the giant flag. “I’ll go to jail before I’ll take it down,” he said to television reporters who covered the story from near and far. He came across as a good guy, a super patriot.

Veterans rallied, demanding the local city council allow him to fly the flag. Last week they caved. Lemonis paid a fine of $14,350 plus $2,000 in court costs and his flag still flies.

Here’s what I think
I think it was one big publicity stunt. Lemonis flies the same big flag at all his stores around the country, and to my knowledge all legally. I know that several times on my road trips I have seen a huge American flag ahead. “Ah, Camping World,” I think. And usually I am right.

So, a question for you: does the size of the flag someone flies determine the degree of his or her patriotism? Could Lemonis have flown a slightly smaller flag, one that was legal, to show his patriotism? Can one be patriotic and not fly a flag at all?

I believe most people who fly an American flag are patriotic and I don’t doubt that Lemonis is, too. But I do not believe that if someone’s flag is bigger than another’s flag then it should be assumed the one with the bigger flag is more patriotic.

The veterans in Statesville were angry with the local city council for denying Lemonis his illegal flag. They are, rightly so, proud of the flag of the country they served to protect.

But keep in mind, the city was only asking to Lemonis to limit the size of his flag like any other citizen. Lemonis could have flown the slightly smaller American flag and played by the rules. Of course, that would provide zero national publicity instead of a whole bunch.

So here’s a question for you: if a law-abiding store up the road from Lemonis’ Gander Outdoors flies a smaller flag, does that mean its owner is less patriotic than Lemonis?

You tell me (and I’m sure you will). And to those of you who read into this that I am somehow bashing veterans, be assured that I hold each and every one of them in the highest regard.

 

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Kevin Smith

Came across the bookmark today and thought I’d check in but darned if anything’s changed, still kicking CW around and trolls still flogging Lemonis due to their media illiteracy. Ugh. I unsubscribed and abandoned rvtravel.com a few months back as what once was such a good resource for RV news had become a single-issue banner for anti-CW and made Lemonis the butt of angry right wing commenters who seem to be your main demographic now.

As someone who travels extensively in my RV I can’t understand why you would like to have less resources available to you almost anywhere you’re traveling to/from? I’ve used CW for supplies, had them perform scheduled and emergency unscheduled maintenance and have stayed overnight at more than a few of their locations. If you need to replace a failed sewer valve at 10am on a Sunday morning in Chattanooga, TN I can guarantee you will be overjoyed to see that huge flag waving above the interstate. See how many service shops there are that can get you in for a generator oil change/fuel filter replacement with only a few hours wait when you’re passing through Rogers, MN mid-winter.

Do they sell RV’s at the highest possible price, I hope so! I’m a Realtor and you’d be justly upset if I priced and sold your house too low as an “act of kindness” to the buyer, right? Go ahead and find a better deal somewhere else, I didn’t buy my RV from them as I did my due diligence and found an independent brand sold direct from dealer that beats anything CW had to offer. However I’m very glad CW has such a wide, national presence and I’d miss them as a trusted resource who most often has what I need to stay on the road. If your wish for them to fail comes true I doubt that we’ll be better off trying to rely on WalMart for their very limited RV-specific offerings and most other RV dealers carry a tiny fraction of the parts and accessories that CW stores do so be careful of cutting off your nose to spite your face.

Thanks again for your previous contributions to RV’ers, good luck with your single-issue audience and keep the rest of us informed if you ever go back to the old format.

Merrily Robinson

Marcus believes he is above the law and regulations! His arrogance to be willing to go to jail for his flag ( because he can afford it) shows he doesn’t care about rules!
🙁

nancy witt

social media stated that he didn’t want Trump supporters business…I have asked everyone of the Camping world employees that called or sent me an e-mail…none will answer that question….so I am not a fan..

Sharon Naismith

No one is above the law. The permitted size was 25 feet by 40 feet. Lemonis’ flag was 40 feet by 80 feet. Bullying the town to make an exception for his “mine is bigger than yours” flag just points out his short-comings.

Dave

I agree with you Chuck, it definitely was a publicity stunt. Just like a couple of large car dealerships in our local area, they fly the large oversized flag, to identify their Car Dealership location. Mater of fact, if you call them for directions, they tell you they are on X street, and look for the large American Flag. What a bunch of Huey. I fly the American Flag on the front of my home, do I need to have it over sized?? No definitely NOT. I just want to show my love for my County, and not the love for my EGO!!!!!

Mike

Chuck, I think your animosity towards Marcus and Camping World is leading you to feel like you have to be the anti-Marcus on everything and anything. Personally, quite frankly, I forgot about this “issue” a long time ago. I get that it probably was part for publicity, but does it matter in the grand scheme of things? Now that it’s resolved (apparently), it’s like you want to keep it alive for whatever reason.

My recommendation – don’t let your personal feelings towards CW and Marcus impact your judgement.

Mike

Jim G.

Let us see a picture of his house. If it has an equally large flag, then I would think he may be patriotic but if only at his place of business, it’s for advertising purposes.

Gary

It was a publicity stunt. Whatever else Lemonis is, he isn’t stupid. Whether or not he anticipated it going in, he immediately realized he had a great PR opportunity when Statesville called him out for violating their ordinance. There’s a saying about patriotism being the last refuge of scoundrels. IMO, Lemonis took advantage of people’s love of their country and flag, and used it for his own advantage.

Mark

Chuck, I agree with you. He used this as a publicity stunt. The city had an ordinance that all other businesses followed. When he applied for his permit, he agreed to their ordinance, but ignored it and flew a flag twice the size. From what I read, the ordinance limited the size of the flag if it was to be flown within a specified distance of the highway for safety reasons, which he was within. An oversized flag does not mean he is more patriot than someone flying a smaller flag. I’m not saying that he is not patriotic, I’m just saying I believe he did it to gain attention. This makes me dislike him even more than I did before. Please don’t get me wrong. I don’t think you’ll find too many more people more patriotic than me. I fly a flag 24/7, respect very much and thank our servicemen/women tremendously.

Angela Klinger

Towns and cities have ordinances for reasons. In this case it was the size of a flag. Marcus Lemonis did not follow the cities rules. He is also a powerful CEO and like most in his position does not like to be challenged and has the money to fight and win. In my opinion I think part of this was a publicity stunt.

Seann

I dont care what size flag Makus Lemonaidus flies as long as it does not interfere with his neighbors enjoyment of their property.
(and yes I spelled his name wrong on purpose)

pete morris

Chuck, you are out of line on this one

CHipper146

The intent of your article and its tone had nothing to do with the overall subject. It was just another way for you to take a pot shot at your nemesis.

Ed & Robin D.

Chuck, I am afraid I have to agree with Leo on this one. It was a poll with not enough answer options. It was also geared to elicit a biased response. No one should base their Patriotism on the size, or quantity of flags displayed. Although I have heard so many negative things about CW, that I would most likely never purchase an RV there, I think we should give Marcus the benefit of the doubt on this one. Even if it were partially a publicity stunt, it was done for a cause I can clearly get behind. Being an Editor, I am sure you know that there are a lot of people here that value your opinions and knowledge when it comes to RV’ing. As one of those people, I implore you to put your obvious dislike for Lemonis aside and stick to what you do best: discussing RV’ing! On this one, I give him a huge “Two thumbs up”!

I am reposting this. If you feel there is something offensive in it, please leave me your explanation.

Ed

Ed & Robin D.

Where did my comment go? Explanation please?

Leo Suarez

Your poll question is so biased it was not even worth answering. Your headline “wins his illegal flag battle”, is equally biased. Obviously if the city granted him a special license then by definition it is not illegal. Next time when preparing a poll or headline put your hatred of CW aside and revert back to your journalism training.