Little Rock This morning as I stumbled out of the trailer and into the main house, my brother-in-law, asked me whether our coffeehouses were benefiting from the Starbucks boycott. I looked at him blankly, tried to start my mental search engine without enough coffee to kick it into gear, until I just said, “The what?” Seems on his Facebook feed and some of his news sources there was drumbeating to the faithful to boycott Starbucks because they had offered to hire 10,000 refugees over the next 5 years. Really, I answered, who is bothering with that? Given the fact that the company has more than 100,000 workers in the USA and the turnover is more than 100% annually, they probably easily hire more than 2000 refugees a year already. He said the boycotters wanted them to hire veterans instead of refugees. I said they probably already hire more veterans than refugees.
Some of the Trumpsters are demanding we boycott the Nordstrom department store because they pulled Ivanka’s clothing line off the racks because it wasn’t selling. The President couldn’t help himself from tweeting that it was “unfair,” even from his White House twitter account, and his senior counselor, Kellyanne Conway, crossed many legal lines on the Fox and Friends TV show with what she called a “free commercial” encouraging listeners to go buy as much Ivanka stuff as they could handle.
A columnist for the New York Times in the the business section recently thought he should lecture the readers about why they shouldn’t boycott Uber, even though more than 200,000 according to the company had deleted the ride sharing application from their smartphones. He mansplained to all that boycotts couldn’t be effective as flashes-in-the-pan, but needed to be sustainable and persistent. Duh! Yet, other stories in the same pages have constantly portrayed corporate titans and their public relations advisors as walking on eggshells these days for fear of a Trump tweet or something else that might catch them in the crosshairs of our polarized left and right country today.
How do we keep up with the boycotts out there?
It’s not easy. I thought there must be a quick and easy source that would allow us to monitor all of this so we know what’s up. A Google search was disappointing. Boycotts, especially the long running boycott of goods made in the area that occupied Palestinian territory were prominent, but nothing that gave you a guide to what was up. Hitting the websites boycott.org and boycott.com produced nothing that was alive, though both are likely for sale. I finally hit something called boycottwatch.org, but it had not been active for almost two years. There must be something somewhere, but it wasn’t coming to me?
As I walked out of my brother-in-law’s kitchen, I told him we didn’t need to worry too much about most boycotts because we didn’t make enough money to buy much from most of them anyway, so we were already on “permanent boycott” mode. More seriously, I thought to myself, we need some kind of boycott monitor or guide where we can all go, find out what’s up, and either jump in or walk away. I sent a note to New Orleans: let’s buy a site!
These days, it almost seems more like a public service to let everyone know, since this seems to be a tactic whose time has once again come.
Oh, and, no, don’t leave any room for cream with that!
Please enjoy Rodney Crowell’s It Ain’t Over Yet (feat. Rosanne Cash & John Paul White)
Thanks to Kabf.