Monday, May 17, 2010

On Boycotts

I am catching up on my blogging at the airport again. Travel always throws me.

I meant to post this a few days ago about the series of Arizona boycotts related to their new immigration law. The trend/fad (you pick the word) seems to be to boycott Arizona to protest the new law. This is just wrong.

I believe that boycotts, no matter how well intended do not have the intended affect and indeed punish the exact wrong people. Let's look at the Arizona thing.

Cities, states and companies are lining up to join in on the fad of boycotting the state of Arizona to protest the new law. I have previously opined on the law ans stand by that opinion. As the boycott snowball rolls on, the stated intent is to somehow punish the Arizona legislature for passing this law. Well, that is just goofy.

The boycotts, if they take real effect, will only punish the good working folks of Arizona. Be assured that not one state legislator or the governor will miss a paycheck or benefit. But, the people that do real jobs to feed their real families will suffer. From the hotels, restaurants, airports and such, the employees will be the ones to suffer.

If the boycotts have the intended effect of curtailing tourism and out of state business, who do you think will lose their job or have their pay cut? Not the executives or politicians, that's for sure. It will be the single mother trying to pay the rent and feed the kids or the family just barely making their mortgage payment that will suffer. It will be the young folks just getting into the world of working for a living that will find themselves hurting.

Nobody would dare cut the politicians or executives. They are virtually immune. What makes these boycotts even more hypocritical and wrong-headed is that they purport to be aimed at helping the working people. The politicians in California and the execs at the big companies are all trying to score political and PR points with the immigrant and Hispanic communities in their locales. Well, guess who pays for that superficialness? Right. The immigrants and other folks that need their paychecks. The very people these short sighted politicians and executives pretend to care about.

Boycotts simply do not work. Here is a clear example of why. I live in South Florida, where we are watching the oil spill in the Gulf nervously. There is a growing sentiment to not buy gas from BP stations as a protest. A boycott, if you will. Guess who won't even notice. BP executives won't notice, that's who. Who will notice? The father that depends on those gasoline sales to feed his family and pay his employees. The CEO of BP won't miss one meal, but the gas station owner/operator might lose his entire business. He has never once drilled a hole for oil, yet he will bear the brunt of the protest.

And so it is for the Arizona boycotts. The legislature and governor won't miss a single overpriced dinner, but the man that runs the restaurant in Phoenix or the people that staff the hotels might lose everything. They will bear the so-called punishment for something they did not do. They will be the victims of these boycotts.

Boycotts simply don't work as intended. No matter how noble or silly, they always punish the wrong folks and leave unscathed those that created the situation.

Do not boycott Arizona. Do not boycott BP. Remember, no matter how sincere you think you are, it is the little guy that pays the price. It is the very person the boycott organizers profess to care about that pays for their PR/political grandstanding.

Boycott boycotts.

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