We live in a capitalist society, so when people are unhappy with a business, they boycott. In the last few weeks, between Oreo and Chick Fil A, boycotts have been in the news pretty heavily, but they aren’t new. Plenty of people boycott McDonalds because they don’t like the food. Plenty of people boycott Walmart because they don’t agree with their business practices. Lot’s of people boycott businesses they don’t like for one reason or another. It could be political, it could be personal, it could be that they just don’t need what’s being sold at the time. Maybe boycotting is too strong a term for some situations, but the outcome is the same. We pick and choose where we shop based on a variety of factors.
Personally, I shop everywhere, including Chick Fil A, because I’m not dedicated to my opinions enough to translate them into action. What upsets me, is the attitude of intolerance I’ve seen directed at the boycotters. I’m using Chick Fil A as an example here, because it’s the most recent topic in the news. But I imagine the people who boycott Oreo, or Walmart, or McDonalds, or anywhere else have heard similar arguments, so this is for you too. Boycotters, you have a right to your opinion. Don’t let anyone tell you you don’t. And I applaud you for believing in something with enough conviction to stand by your beliefs with your action and your wallet.
Here’s some of the arguments I’ve heard against boycotting in the last few weeks:
It’s only pennies. Either the money the business contributes to the cause you don’t like, or the money that you are keeping from that business by shopping elsewhere.
If you don’t think a penny matters to a business, you have obviously never worked in retail and seen some of the outrageous ways businesses try to save pennies. You’re also not a terribly observant customer. Remember how straws used to be easy to open? You could hit them against the table and the paper was loose enough In many restaurants now the straw paper is wrapped against the straw so tight that you have to peel the paper off in a spiral to get it off. Remember how ketchup used to be automatically thrown into the bag at the drive through menu, and now you have to ask? Remember how extra sauce used to be free? Someone somewhere did a marketing research inquiry and said, “hey guys, I have a way we can save a few cents at each location.” Pennies matter.
To say that boycotting doesn’t change anything in a capitalist economy is without a doubt the dumbest argument I’ve ever heard. Remember when Lowe’s pulled their advertising from All American Muslim? They did that because they cared about the pennies they may lose on the off chance that people who would be offended by that show watch that shows commercials and credits and would boycott them. Pennies matter a lot.
Still don’t believe me? I have an experiment for you. Overdraw your bank account by one penny then see what value that business places on it. Go on, I’ll wait.
Chick fil A has a right to their opinion. Freedom of speech remember? They shouldn’t have to suffer for it.
Am I the only one who sees the hypocrisy in the statement? Chick fil A has a right to their opinion, so they shouldn’t lose customers who don’t agree with them. Really? So not only does a corporation have a place in politics, but its opinions matter more than the people who shop there? Chick Fil A is right for expressing their opinion by giving money, but the people boycotting them are somehow wrong for expressing theirs by keeping money?
Here’s my stance on this issue. Corporations are not people. When a corporate behemoth donates to a political cause or organization that lobbies politicians, they are speaking for every shareholder, every employee, and every customer. Their donations are large enough to reflect that, and are then treated with more value than an individual donation in the public sphere. If Dan Cathy wants to donate his paycheck from his business to whichever fund he wants, that’s not my business. Yes, it still comes from the customers, so they may still boycott, but to me there’s a huge difference. Our country would be a much much much better place is corporations were not allowed to get involved with politics at all.
They knew that Chick Fil A was a Christian organization, they close on Sundays. They should have figured what their views were before. Why boycott now?
First of all, on behalf of Christians everywhere, I resent the implication that all Christians are closed minded bigots. But even if they did know, the difference is that now they know their money is being channeled into a cause they don’t agree with. This isn’t about opinions, this is about money. Money that is being channeled in such a way that the opinion behind it can shape it into law. THAT is why they are boycotting now. They don’t agree with the law the money is trying to keep. So they are withholding their money so it doesn’t contribute to a cause they don’t stand for.
Every business donates to something you don’t agree with. If you really cared about your cause you’d research it and stop eating at every place that doesn’t agree with you instead of just this one.
Clearly someone did exactly that. Dan Cathy didn’t just stand up one day and say “Hey, I hate gay people.” Someone cared enough to follow the money, and asked him, “hey, why do you donate here, and here, and here. Why?”
For those that didn’t, what does it matter? We pick and choose what we stand against all the time. For example: Many christians are against gay marriage based on what the bible tells them. (1 Corinthians 6:9) Many of those same christians are perfectly fine women being allowed to speak in church, despite the fact that the same book of the Bible forbids it right along side gay marriage (1 Corinthians 14:33-36).
We all pick and choose our beliefs based on what suites us.
They do so much good. Chick Fil A donates to so many good causes. They lift their communities, they care about their customers, they are a wonderful business. Does their opinion on this one issue outweigh all that good?
I have seen first hand how much Chick Fil A cares about their community. They have gone out of their way for a person I know. The support they offer for people struggling in their community is awesome.
But obviously to the people boycotting, no it doesn’t outweigh it. It’s actually somehow more insulting. At least with other businesses you can say they’re a corporate machine that doesn’t give a damn about human life, but you can’t say that with Chick Fil A. They have shown the unique ability to be able to identify a worthy cause and pour their money into it.
So with this knowledge, instead of choosing to donate MORE money to these worthwhile causes, things without a political stance, they chose to throw money at a political cause. They can put that down on the same page? Donated to end world hunger, check. Donated to end child and spousal abuse, check. Sent sandwiches to children's hospital with a cow to cheer them up, check. Lined a politicians pocket with money to insure that gays can’t marry, check.
I know that it can be hard to see through the lens of someone else. So replace the words gay marriage with interracial marriage, or some other issue you feel strongly about. The people who are boycotting feel that strongly about this. Their opinion is just as important as yours, so how about instead of throwing stones at people who are boycotting, we just respect their decision, and mind our own business. Unless they are actively surrounding Chick Fil A with pickets while screaming obscenities at people who chose to eat there it really doesn’t affect you, does it? Ditto for any other boycott of any other organization.
But of course, that’s just my opinion. What’s yours?