Boycotting is a privilege
I’ve never been a big fan of big business or a believer in the concept that seems to be most fiscal conservative’s wet dream: trickle-down economics.
That said, I am also very aware of how difficult it is for me to not support certain big businesses.
Last fall while many of my friends took to social media to encourage people to boycott Fred Meyer stores while the employees’ union called for the same, I compartmentalized my ethics and continued to use Freddie’s for my regular grocery runs and to gas up my car.
Doing the math and taking into account that my second-most-used store – Winco – doesn’t take credit cards, which I utilize for groceries between paychecks, as much as I would have liked to boycott Freddie’s questionable employment practices, I couldn’t afford to.
I literally could not afford to say “Money be damned. This is a matter of ethics. I’ll just go to New Seasons or Safeway.”
In the society we live in today, I am not alone in this internal dilemma of economics vs. ethics.
I set out to write this blog post back then, giving perspective to why boycotting was a privilege but because I was working 60+ hours a week to get about $2,500/month (before taxes), I never found time.
Now though, since my work has reduced my hours in response to our current health and economic crisis, I have the time and this topic is only becoming increasingly relevant.
Nowadays, it seems the Facebook and Twitter worlds are rife with posts screaming for people to pay attention to which companies aren’t helping as much as they should be, which are making money from this crisis, which aren’t treating their employees well enough, etc.
Essentially, fuck Amazon. Fuck Fred Meyer. Fuck Instacart.
Again, I have a heart and a conscience, and I wish I could just tweet “I won’t be shopping with these folks anymore! So, what if I’m inconvenienced. #boycottfreddies”
However, I can’t afford to cut them out, especially right now. And, last time I went into my local Winco, people were totally disregarding social distancing to the point I thought I had a fever by the time I got to check out only to figure out in the car I was just in a full panic attack while shopping.
It’s not about convenience. It’s about personal finances.
And I have always acknowledged that while I’m struggling, there are several millions of folks worse off than me.
So, I guess this is all to say: If you can boycott big business, great for you. But, especially right now when so much is negative and uncertain and everyone’s anxiety is at an all time high, get off of your high horse.
Boycotting essential places like the grocery store with the cheapest products is a privilege. Plain and simple. So be kind to those who can’t.