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Sunday, February 19, 2012

Follow the Money

Is there a point at which you decide not to protest something? Can you ignore the social practices of the businesses that you patronize? I know a bunch of people who won't shop at Walmart but they love their iPads. Does it matter what a business owner does with the profits of their business? Id like to think I'm a pretty conscientious shoppers but I may be just fooling myself.


  1. I don't agree with everything in the strip but I still read it and buy the books.
    Do we have to agree on everything that everyone associated with a business ever did? Were people really going to boycott an insurance company because the guy who voiced a duck in some of their ads told an offensive joke? Should conservatives boycott Disney because they have gay friendly days at their park?
    I think I'll limit my outrage to the biggest issues and real atrocities. I'll get worked up over rich guys buying a bunch of tv ads sometime after we deal with genocide and mass starvation.

  2. I would say that it depends on how active the business is in trying to influence the politics. If company X is trying to influence politics that you are directly fighting against, then - if you are a person who is concerned about politics - then you might feel well justified in taking those actions, even if the company is relatively small (like a restaurant).

    There's a reason why I don't shop at WalMart or Whole Foods: their politics. Of course, the ability of a WalMart to affect politics can be done without actually calling a politician due to their size alone. (They - as a company - quite likely do make political contributions, too.) Whole Foods also has the ability to influence local politics due to their size. (Their ability to call up politicians also helps.)

    However, I think that a lot of people remain blissfully unaware of the shady parts of the companies that they do business with. There was, however, a major push back against Apple recently, and Foxconn is - apparently - massively increasing the pay rates for their factory workers that make Apple products.

    So... public pressure can well produce results in private companies.

  3. I'm definitely guilty of supporting businesses with practices I don't agree with. It really depends on how far you want to go. A purist may think the only way to go is to go off the grid, grow your own food and leave the land as you found it but I just don;t see that happening.

    Good to hear the changes at Foxconn. Lets see how far they go and for how long.

    Ken - thanks for your support. Discussions about things we disagree on is what it's all about.

    1. I agree with this comic 100%
      I work for walmart, have for over 20 years. I have long hair because of my religion and have been able to keep it. I'm not asked to do any thing wrong, or work off the clock. i am paid well for my job and have turned down opportunities to go up in the company. I'm not discriminated because i am bisexual. I am treated fairly and with respect. A few bad apples have spoiled the barrel so to speak when it comes to the company. A manager asks for a person to work over off the clock and the whole company gets slammed or a few women didn't think they was treated right and sue blaming walmart policies. My mother has worked for the company for 24 years and has never been mistreated because she was a woman. She has been in management jobs and other high level store jobs. She was asked to join the law suite with the other women and declined. Not because she was worried about her job but because of the fact she thinks that it was bull.

      The other thing is if i was to not shop at a store because of (place reason here), then i would not be shopping any where. I would not be reading this comic since my computer is made with materials that was mined and created in factories with bad conditions and so forth. In a perfect world we would not have to worry about things like these. But sadly i live in this world. I pay for gas that is expensive because i got to go places (and the bus route does not work at night when i am up since i work nights...)

      on to my other thought. I often wonder if most people that complain the most about a company is so they can confirm their own thoughts against a company. (i do know some people that have real reasons to complain, and i support them and that right...)

  4. I wouldn't boycott a place because I disagree with their politics. In a free society, we are supposed to be free to disagree. It is about tolerance. The line they would have to cross is activism, I suppose. If a restaurant stated that they would not serve blacks or Asians, or people with green eyes; I wouldn't eat there. If they gave money to a right wing or left wing cpac is just free speech. Everybody has to draw their own lines.

  5. James - thanks for the personal account. It really does depend on the individual how far to take consumer activism. I'd never try to talk someone out of their right to support or not support a business.

    To me this is intimate related to what I call the "Death of Heroes" where nowadays if someone becomes a public figure in a positive way, efforts are made almost immediately to find skeletons in their closet. Even figures who have long been honored as heroes (like Martin Luther King Jr) are scrutinized and "exposed" as flawed humans. Imagine that, an imperfect hero.

    1. Show me a person with out a flaw in their life and i will show you a new born baby