Monday, August 17, 2009

Response to USA Today article

Note – today's blog post is specifically in response to Peter Earley’s opinion piece in USA Today.

Dear Mr. Earley, thank you for your extensive criticism from afar and for the notable publicity as well. Psycho Donuts launched an entirely new business concept in the middle of a great recession, and employs a staff of 10 people and growing. We are proud of the company we’ve built, and our constant lines out the door are a testament of community support.

Our business is evolving rapidly. You overlooked quite a bit before condemning us. We announced several changes last week, live on Fox Business News, which are clearly reflected on our website. We have a number of mental health groups who are interested in working with us, rather than against. If you seek out the big picture, you’ll realize that there is actually a great opportunity which could emerge here. In this case, such opportunity comes only with an open mind and a sense of humor.

The term “Psycho” crossed the cultural divide and joined ranks with popular culture 49 years ago - with the advent of Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho, (Paramount Pictures). The term Psycho is everywhere. Great America has a ride called Psycho Mouse.’s Home & Garden Department sells 478 items oriented around the term Psycho. Fox Network has a TV show called Mental. Mental! Have you seen some of the shows on the Comedy Channel? I can point out several that would rank highly on the stigma scale.

So why, Mr. Earley, would USA Today focus its attention on an independently owned, corner donut shop in Campbell California? Maybe we’re an easy target? It’s easier to point a finger at a small donut shop than – say - Fox Network, Comedy Channel, or Paramount.

Mr. Earley, the America I know is built on freedom of speech and expression. With the exception of Psycho Donuts, every other donut shop in America should be very pleasing to you personally. For this reason, I encourage you to buy your donuts there. That being said, what gives you the right to impose your own belief system on every American, and dictate where they should buy from across the country? If every group imposes its beliefs upon American culture, we’ll effectively create our own self-imposed cultural revolution here in the USA.

We have received hundreds of letters and emails from people with every imaginable form of mental illness who stand firmly behind Psycho Donuts. Maybe the view of the mental health advocate is not always representative of those they seek to protect? Much has been said about stigma, and I believe that your perspective is perpetuating stigma, rather than eradicating it.

Everyone’s viewpoint is filtered by life experience. After the loss of a loved one, Halloween can seem offensive – and on this imaginative holiday, the offensiveness comes knocking at your door. Maybe we should cancel Halloween this October. Or would that be un-American?