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January 18, 2005

On Boycotts …

A group of well-intentioned activists have called for a nationwide economic boycott to “get a message to the Bush administration” on the day of the li’l bastard’s re-coronation. Interesting idea; I feel their pain.

The problem is where the boom falls. Who is most affected by such a boycott? The owners of the big box stores and chains? No, people who shop at Wal*Mart today (and I am not among them) will shop there tomorrow. If they skip a day, fine. The product will still move. It’s like a snow storm or flood – temporary delays are part of the cost of doing business.

By the time the cost of temporarily frozen sales fly back up the chain, the owners will need to make only minor mid-course adjustments. This will come in the form of layoffs. The grunts at the bottom will be looking for a job. The bastards making a couple million a year won’t miss a single check.

But the grunts aren’t the ones who will get hurt the most. The small business owner who is being squeezed to death by Wal*Mart, Home Despot, and Albertsons (who operate their food stores under a wide, wide variety of regional names), is living from day to day. And, therefore, so are his or her employees.

So when it comes to doing business on Coronation Day, I’ll be there continuing to back the small stores whenever possible. Boycott Wal*Mart; fine. Employees who get laid off will do better on welfare anyway, at least for their 20 months. But don’t smash the people who are selling their wares off the main drag. They need the business.

By the way, successful boycotts don’t “send a message.” Successful boycotts smash governments – by they in the Southern United States or in South Africa. And they take a hell of a lot of support, some of it from our federal government, and they take a hell of a long time.

Posted by Mike Gold at January 18, 2005 01:53 PM

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Well, I might agree with you if it were for more than one day. The purpose of the "Don't give a dime day" is not to hurt any company's bottom line. One day won't even hurt any small busimess. The purpose is to send the message that we still have some power and are able to do damage if we so desire. That message needs to be sent to the people who think the election was a mandate and a satement on their accountability. If there really were some accountability we would be seeing impeachment proceedings.

Posted by: Karen at January 18, 2005 09:44 PM

So, let's see the logic here

"I disapprove of the president, but I cannot hurt him or any of his wealthy backers. Therefore, I will do something that will harm my neighbor, the small shopowner or retail employee, even though he may have been on my side in the first place. That sends the message that I think the people need to hear."

Did I get that right?

Posted by: Londo at January 19, 2005 10:53 AM

"One day won't even hurt any small busimess."

Many businesses are one day's sales away from going under, by the way. Just ask some comic shops :)

Posted by: Londo at January 19, 2005 10:54 AM

If one needs any reason for why the left is struggling, one might look at this for guidance; has it gotten so bad that someone's idea of a PROTEST is to do...nothing?

Let the conservatives organize, proselytize, pasteurize, whatever. The liberals are gonna take a whole day off.

One could write it off as harmlessly useless but it will probably further damage the left in the eyes of others, like the ones they may want to convert over to their way of thinking (though, if it’s going to be 4 years of the “everyone but us is stupid” meme, I guess that isn’t much of a priority).

Posted by: Bill Mulligan at January 19, 2005 04:01 PM

Hey, I know. Just don't buy any oil for that day and turn off the heat to your homes. That'll show 'em. Of course don't forget to fill up the day before so you can still get around.

Posted by: eclark1849 at January 19, 2005 04:34 PM

I think the activists should keep the boycott going and not buy any gas for their cars or heating oil for their houses until Bush pulls out of Iraq. Come on guys, show us that you're serious!

Posted by: eclark1849 at January 21, 2005 06:45 PM

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