by Holly West
Awhile back, I posted this link on Facebook, with a caption saying "Thank God Charmin toilet paper isn't on this list because I'd totally have a problem with that."
Dutiful liberal that I am, I'm no fan of the Koch brothers. But really, I posted the link about the plea to boycott their products as a joke. A couple of my more right-leaning friends took exception, however, and made various comments such as "What's next? We can't boycott everything," and "boycotting hurts jobs more than it does the people we're boycotting." I'm paraphrasing, but that was the gist of it.
The thing is, I'm not big on boycotts myself. If I'm using a product or service regularly and like it, I probably won't stop using it. Some might consider this to be "rewarding bad behavior." (Okay, maybe my post title does work).
That said, if I don't already use a product (or shop at a store, or eat a particular food, etc) and I find out that those who profit from it have been behaving badly based on my own personal value system, I will go out of my way never to purchase that item. This is my way of punishing "bad behavior."
Let's use Chik-fil-A as an example. I've never eaten anything off their menu, though I've heard it's delicious, if unhealthy. But now that I know that as a corporation, they're against marriage equality, I'll go out of my way not to purchase their food.
By the same token, however, when Target gave money to a politician who opposes gay rights and embraces a number of extreme conservative views I abhor, I continued shopping there.
Hypocrisy much? I'm not even going to try to justify this choice of mine.
Occasionally, this subject comes up with regards to celebrities, including authors. Recently, the question of whether one would continue buying the books of an author who was known to "behave badly" or came out publicly as being anti or pro-fill-in-the-blank-with-whatever-position-you'd-like, came up on social media.
Some people said they would. Others said no. But I'm going to go back to what I said near the beginning of this post: if I've enjoyed said author's books in the past, I will purchase future books as long as I continue to enjoy them. However, if I've never read said author's books and he/she says or does something that annoys me, I'll go out of my way to not buy their books.
I would argue that even the most conscientious consumer has some area of conflict in their purchasing decisions. If you think not, I'd certainly like to hear from you. In fact, I'd like to hear from you anyway. Whether it's choosing not to purchasing an author's books or deciding whether to eat a scrumptious chikin sandwich, what is your consumption criteria?