Friday, August 3, 2012

Boycotts and Appreciation Days

Friendly advice to those I agree with AND those I disagree with.  Before you boycott . . .
1. Do your research.  A company here in Sioux City has had to lay off hundreds of people because a lot of other people believed an article full of lies and ran with their emotions.  That kind of damage is almost impossible to undo once done.  Reputations are hard to resurrect.  Check your facts.
2. Consider what exactly you expect to accomplish.  Do you hope to get them to change their policies?  Is that a realistic expectation?  Do you want to punish the company?  Do you want to shut the company down?  Are you motivated by a desire to bring about change or by a desire to inflict pain to ease your own hurt? 
3. Is your beef with a company policy or practice . . . or with the personal beliefs and actions of somebody associated with the company?  The people you disagree with have the right to believe and say what they want, AND they can still be quite capable of performing their job with excellence, AND they have the right to try to make a living doing so.  Do we in America really want to head down the path where everyone we do business with has to hold the same values we do?  That’s a scary place to be.
4. Who exactly is going to be hurt by this boycott?  The one person you hate . . . plus hundreds of innocent employees with families to support who may be on your side . . . and sometimes entire communities that rely on the growth of this business.  If you genuinely consider the consequences of your actions, you may decide there’s a better way to make your point.

Now concerning “Appreciation Days”.   You’re free to purchase or not purchase from a particular company for whatever reason you want.  But to intentionally purchase on a particular day to make a statement – well, you need to be very clear about what that statement is.  And is that statement clear to everyone who hears it? 
Most people who ate at Chik-fil-A on Wednesday were saying, “In America, government officials do not have the right to ban commercial establishments because of the publicly expressed personal beliefs of someone involved with the company.”  Amen to that.  But that’s not the message many heard.  In some cases, that was because people heard what they expected to hear based on their opinions of the messengers.  (Is that the fault of the sender or the receiver?  I don’t know.  Accurate communication requires responsible behavior from people on both ends.)  But in other cases, at some Chik-fil-As, people heard hate in a very literal and physical voice.  This is inexcusable.  And, unfortunately, given the current social climate, it was probably unavoidable.  Again, if you genuinely consider the consequences of your actions, you may decide there’s a better way to make your point.
And, as someone pointed out, it would be nice to see Christians showing up in droves at soup kitchens and homeless shelters -- to do the things Jesus really told them to do.

So, have I offended everyone yet?  How’s this: I stopped at Chik-fil-A Wednesday afternoon, but to be honest, only because it gave me an excuse to indulge in the best milkshake around.  So, I used the event for my own selfish ends.  There.  That should hack all my friends off.  J

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