What companies do you boycott, and why?
December 3, 2004 3:13 PM   Subscribe

What companies do you boycott, and why?
posted by swift to Society & Culture (101 answers total)
For many years, I (and everyone I knew) boycotted Coke and Pepsi for various reasons (mostly related to union disputes), so we all took to drinking RC -- "The Politically Inert Cola" as we liked to call it. And I grew up boycotting grapes (to support the farm workers in CA) and Nestle/Carnation (because of the milk formula scandals in sub-Saharan Africa), and I must admit that all these years later I still find it difficult to eat any of them.
posted by scody at 3:22 PM on December 3, 2004

Walmart, for obvious reasons. Six years and counting.

I mention this only because I'm surprised I've kept it up this long. I have actually entered their stores with the intention of buying stuff several times, but I always leave in disgust. Thank you, Walmart, for making it easier to stick to my principles.
posted by Eamon at 3:25 PM on December 3, 2004

I boycotted grapes for years and years. I also still have a difficult time eating them.
posted by yodelingisfun at 3:36 PM on December 3, 2004

I've been trying to determine if clove cigarettes benefit zanzibar in any way, if so, I may stop buying them, even though it's only once in a while.
posted by milovoo at 3:39 PM on December 3, 2004

Oh yeah, Wal-Mart! The only time I've ever set foot in one was under semi-duress, due to the fact that: A) there was no Target or hardware store or anything else open within a 10-mile radius (I was out in the amusingly-named "Inland Empire" waaay east of LA) on a Sunday evening, and B) I desperately needed one of those fake owls to scare away the mockingbirds that had set up home outside my window a few days earlier. (Also: I was desperate for a candy bar.)
posted by scody at 3:40 PM on December 3, 2004

I boycott chain stores whenever possible. It's not always possible and I can't say I'm super strict about it but I go to locally-owned restaurants, grocery stores, hardware stores, bookstores etc. It's just a way of protesting the mass homogeneity.

I stopped eating at fast food places after reading Fast Food Nation out of disgust. Then it just became a habit.
posted by vacapinta at 3:43 PM on December 3, 2004

Steve Madden shoes, because I absolutely cannot stand their big headed girls ad campaign. Creeps me out.
posted by insideout at 3:51 PM on December 3, 2004

I would probably avoid going to WalMart if it ever came up.
posted by kenko at 3:55 PM on December 3, 2004

I'm in the music union, so I tend to boycott those who have screwed over my peers - usually local businesses that have directly defaulted (i.e., did not pay or violated in some other way) on a contract. But big guys do rear their ugly heads every so often.

I may prefer not to patronize other establishments based on various issues, but it's seldom a full-out and committed boycott.
posted by Sangre Azul at 3:56 PM on December 3, 2004

Weird one: I don't shop at the local vegetarian health food shop. The place is run by a conservative krishna sect opposed to gay rights (and sex in general).

Telling your friends to boycot the local vegetarian health food store is a pretty tough sell, but these guys have been getting into politics and have won positions on the school board and city council. Most of the happy boho chicks shopping in there would be horrified if they knew this.
posted by phatboy at 3:59 PM on December 3, 2004

Starbucks, Walmart: for all the well known reasons
Domino's: pro-life (I would boycot Curves, too, if I ever thought I'd want to work out there in the first place.)
Disney: Disney just irritates me on more levels than I want to get into here, so they will get none of my money.

Like vacapinta, I generally avoid chains whenever I can, which is fairly often.
posted by jennyb at 4:04 PM on December 3, 2004

I boycott any store that requires I leave my bag at the front counter - seriously. If they can't get it together to prevent theft without asking me to risk having my own vaulables stolen, screw 'em. It ain't my job or reponsibility.
posted by tristeza at 4:05 PM on December 3, 2004 [1 favorite]

News International and it's subs and parents. I can't buy the Sun or the Times since the Wapping strike in the mid-80s (not that I would have, anyway), but I do follow the odd link to their web presence. I also therefore, to maintain consistency, don't have Sky tv (hate their sat dishes anyway).

Those are my principles - if you don't like 'em, I have others...
posted by dash_slot- at 4:06 PM on December 3, 2004

Wal-mart because I believe it is evil.

I also have an irrational hatred for AT&T and have vowed to use a string and tin cans before its services. I also have an irrational hatred for all things Pepsi.
posted by birdherder at 4:06 PM on December 3, 2004

Steve Madden shoes

My wife and I both avoid this as well and I've actively not bought shoes that fit well but turned out to be maddens. The advertising promotes anorexia and I can't support that.

I don't really think of many things as boycotts, but stuff I generally avoid. I avoid walmart and most big chains when there is a local equivalent. I went about ten years without setting foot in a McDonalds but recently I had a fish sandwich and find myself showing up there about once a week for another one.

Oh, one last weird one -- when I need a flashlight, I don't buy Mag-lite brand because back when I was working shit jobs and listening to talk radio due to boredom, maglite was the big sponsor for Rush Limbaugh and I promised myself they'd never see a dime of my money as long as I lived for that.
posted by mathowie at 4:11 PM on December 3, 2004

RIAA Member labels because I don't want to finance the fight to erode my rights.
posted by willnot at 4:15 PM on December 3, 2004

nestle - a habit from way back (something to do with milk for babies, i think), kept up because they just seem to be so damn big and we generally try to buy stuff from locally owned companies. not always, by a long shot, but we at least try to bear it in mind when there's two products otherwise more-or-less identical.

interesting to hear about the krishna people. they have a restaurant/cafe in la serena that's all the rage. i will try to find out if they're politically active.

oh, and macdonalds + starbucks (well, i thought so, but pauli admitted having a latte last week....). but again, that's avoiding global franchises, much like nestle.
posted by andrew cooke at 4:21 PM on December 3, 2004

Century Theaters, for over a year now, and Mel Gibson films plus a bit more as I explained.
posted by billsaysthis at 4:23 PM on December 3, 2004

Walmart is the only place that I actively boycott (six years and counting). My not going to Starbucks is because I don't like their coffee and there's a great local coffee house right down the street from work.
posted by jperkins at 4:25 PM on December 3, 2004

Wal-Mart. You've heard the arguments.

I wouldn't say I "boycott" McDonald's, but I haven't eaten there in years -- a choice based more on taste than principle.

Same goes for RIAA. I buy several hundred CDs a year, minimum. Maybe a dozen of those come from major labels. It's an ironic and unfortunate situation: Venus Records, a Japanese label, pays for recordings by New York musicians made in New York studios. No U.S. retailer carries them, so I have to buy these Japanese CDs from a British distributor. Maybe I'd prefer to keep profits in this country than take a principled stand against the RIAA...but they're not interested in jazz, so I haven't got a choice.
posted by cribcage at 4:27 PM on December 3, 2004

Oh, I'm also not shopping at Target for the time being.
posted by jperkins at 4:35 PM on December 3, 2004

WalMart, because, well, duh.
Pepsi (all products), because they taste like ass.
AOL Messenger/AOL anything, because it's AOL for chrissakes.
All cable companies, because they are evil. (Hellooo, DirecTV!)
posted by contessa at 4:36 PM on December 3, 2004

I don't shop at Walmart, for all the obvious reasons.

And it's funny, jperkins, that you boycott Target because of the Salvation Army. I boycott the Salvation Army because they don't offer domestic partner benefits to their gay and lesbian employees.

Those are the only two really active ones. Lots of passive boycotts (ie, we don't drink soda so we don't support Pepsi/Coke, don't go to Curves but that's because we go to another gym, etc), though.

(On preview: I remembered that I don't shop at Treasure Island (Chicago grocery store) because of their anti-union activities.)
posted by sugarfish at 4:46 PM on December 3, 2004

Clear Channel radio stations, because they monopolize the airwaves (this billboard didn't help). But that's a pretty easy boycott.
posted by ALongDecember at 4:47 PM on December 3, 2004

To counter jperkins, I've found myself at Target more, due to my boycott of the Salvation Army for their aggressive anti-gay policies.

I've stopped supporting the Boy Scouts, too. As someone who spent his entire childhood in the scouts, that was a painful choice.
posted by ewagoner at 4:49 PM on December 3, 2004

maglite was the big sponsor for Rush Limbaugh

I had forgotten, I stopped buying good humor ice cream products for that exact reason a long time ago. Now it's just habit, and I don't even think about it.
posted by milovoo at 4:50 PM on December 3, 2004

I don't buy Mag-lite brand because back when I was working shit jobs and listening to talk radio due to boredom, maglite was the big sponsor for Rush Limbaugh and I promised myself they'd never see a dime of my money as long as I lived for that.

Do you boycott all products that are sponsors of that show?

Like for example Snapple first got a lot of national attention becouse Rush would plug it constantly.
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 4:51 PM on December 3, 2004

Walmart -- for all the obvious reasons, plus their stance on not selling certain types of contraceptives. I'd rather make my own decisions, and not allow some corporate pharmacist hoo-hah do it for me.

Exxon -- Remember the Valdez!
posted by crunchland at 4:52 PM on December 3, 2004

Dang, you'd think WalMart would be in trouble by all this boycotting here. I guess the Ten thousand to one ratio of shoppers to boycotters makes up for it.

No WalMart for me, any place that actively censors property that isn't theirs is off the list.

I couldn't care less that Target won't let the Salvation Army pester me there as well as every other store in town. The Salvation Army's got its own problems so I'm happy Target dissed them.

I avoid MS products whenever I can because they suck and break computers.

I'll boycott any store that feels the need to preach to me when I buy something. I'm not buying an ideology, I'm buying groceries or whatever.

I don't go to Albertson's but that's because the stores are all weird and smell funny.
posted by fenriq at 4:54 PM on December 3, 2004

S@L, I will now. No more Snapple or Maglite's for me. Any asshole willing to help keep a dumbfuck like Rush on the radio doesn't need my help to stay in business.
posted by fenriq at 4:55 PM on December 3, 2004

I don't know if it's a boycott, but I refused to help out with the local boyscout troop due to their anti-atheist and anti-gay stances. This probably is a boycott though, I went to one of the sites that lists political campaign contributions by area code. I'm boycotting every shop that contributed to the RNC or Bush/Cheney 2004. I also avoid Wal-Mart, the reason dates back prior to me knowing they were a shitty place. I wandered in early one time and the corporate announcements came on. Everybody who worked there stopped what they were doing, even if they were helping a customer and listened in. It gave me the heebie jeebies (whatever that means)
posted by substrate at 4:56 PM on December 3, 2004

thanks for letting me know that, jperkins -- I wish there was a Target around me so I could shop there more. Salvation Army is a church, so I hate seeing them collect money.

So Salvation Army store (and any other religious institutions selling things), Wal-Mart (and Sam's, etc.) and Domino's (pro-life moneys) -- I think that covers it.
posted by evening at 4:59 PM on December 3, 2004

Hey, thanks for providing the info about the Salvation Army without taking my head off. I really had no idea - Target here I come!
posted by jperkins at 5:01 PM on December 3, 2004

I don't go into McDonalds or Burger King, don't buy Nestle chocolate or Nescafe coffee (when I can help it), but sometimes, if someone else has bought it and it's offered, I can't resist,. Those KitKat Chunkies get me every time..

I won't buy the Daily Mail or Daily Express in the UK due to their blatant anti-gay, anti-immigration stupid editorials which only incite violence and panic.

With most things, rather than boycotting certain brands, I try to choose brands I know are Fair Trade etc. My coffee and tea are fair trade, and I try to find out where my food has come from and what's been added to it before it gets to me.

Can someone point me to a link or enlighten me as to why Wal-Mart is boycotted? Just, being in the UK Ive not heard about this, and Wal-Mart has taken over one of my favourite supermarkets, so I'd be interested to know..
posted by lemonpillows at 5:03 PM on December 3, 2004

I don't watch movies made by the MPAA companies or watch DVDs unless forced to by friends, since I was sued by those bastards.

I don't use any Adobe products and avoid other companies that abuse the DMCA.

Once I went to Home Depot to buy some $15 sawhorses, and one of their employees followed us to my car and accused us of stealing them. I don't shop at Home Depot anymore.

Like substrate, I don't support the Boy Scouts.. I was once an eagle scout, and our troop was not anti-atheist or anti-gay. We even had a woman scoutmaster. I wonder what my old troop is like now..

Unlike everyone else, I don't boycott WalMart. I grew up in a rural town, and many of my friends worked there, and many of my friends' parents worked there. Some of my friends *still* work there, after all these years.

I've always been treated nicely when shopping at WalMart. Moreover, they treat my parents with respect. Being able to shop for things and not being harrased by small-town bigots is a big plus.
posted by rajbot at 5:03 PM on December 3, 2004

oh - and anything to do with CAFOD, the catholic charity, as I totally disagree with their position on not giving safe sex advice/condoms and completely pro-life stance in poorest Africa.
posted by lemonpillows at 5:05 PM on December 3, 2004

Not companies, as such, but I refuse to watch any movie starring John Travolta or Tom Cruise (and some others, but they're the main ones), because they help to fund Scientology.
posted by normy at 5:06 PM on December 3, 2004

Maybe this is asking for trouble, but what's the rationale behind political boycotts? I don't agree with the Democratic platform, but I won't boycott local contributors. Frankly, I credit them for getting involved. Taking the wrong side beats not bothering to participate.
posted by cribcage at 5:08 PM on December 3, 2004

I boycot Red Hat Linux. Any sensible IT-minded person would shit on the company that gave us the disaster known as RPM.

Also, Digitech guitar gear sucks.
posted by angry modem at 5:09 PM on December 3, 2004

cribcage - I don't boycott for someone giving to Republicans, but I will boycott a company who gives money to fund ideologies I don't agree with (pro-life, for example), or have other policies that I don't agree with.

lemonpillows - Here is an article that talks about some of the trade practices, and Frontline did a great piece on that subject. Here is another article that talks about some of the labor issues. do a search on Wal-Mart and you'll find a few sites with things to say.
posted by evening at 5:17 PM on December 3, 2004

Response by poster: Good Wikipedia articles on Walmart here and here.
posted by swift at 5:25 PM on December 3, 2004

American Airlines. There are three reasons:

1) I live in the St. Louis metro area and what they did when they took over TWA was horrible.
2) They treated the TWA employees with disdain when the buyout happened.
3) Very few American employees seem like they care about my travel. As someone who travels a week out of every month I quickly became tired of their attitude.

When I need to fly somewhere I choose another airline even though American may have a direct flight. Sure, it's an inconvenience sometimes, but it's worth it to me.
posted by zymurgy at 5:37 PM on December 3, 2004

Just wondering.... how many of you that "boycott" Wal-Mart even live in an area where there is a Wal-Mart (urban areas)?

I mean, it is real easy to boycott Wal-Mart in Chicago, since there until very recently were none...
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 5:39 PM on December 3, 2004

I don't listen to Clear Channel stations, but then again I don't listen to radio generally at all.

I refuse to buy the NY Post, but will look at their website and (very occasionally) read one that's been discarded on the train.

I'm an Eagle Scout, and I'm proud of it (and the Scouting movement's ideals), but I'm sorely disappointed in the BSA, and they receive no support from me until they change their policies.

I've only been to McDonald's once since reading Fast Food Nation, and I was reeeally drunk at the time.

I don't give to the Salvation Army because of their anti-gay policies.

I don't go to Starbucks, but that's mainly for aesthetic reasons -- I hate their coffee. I don't spend money there, but when my girlfriend found a Starbucks gift card, I let her treat me to a couple iced teas. And the office bought me a chai latte the other day, which I accepted.

And I've been known to yell at Scientologists in public -- does that count?
posted by Vidiot at 5:40 PM on December 3, 2004

There are plenty of Wal-Marts in the Boston area: Bellingham, Walpole, Avon, Framingham, North Attleboro, etc. All conveniently within driving distance (i.e., as close as any other store). I don't shop at any of them.

Since you asked.
posted by cribcage at 5:44 PM on December 3, 2004

The thing about all the comments on Target and Salvation Army seem to miss the essence of what happened. For many years, SA was the only charity T allowed in front of their stores. Other charities got upset and requested equal access, but this would have been too much for the customers and instead T told SA 11 months ago they would not be given their customary positions this holiday season, but T would continue some very substantial monetary and other contributions, and SA said they were okay with the change.

So for people upset with T for booting SA, the chairty itself is not upset so why are you? And for those of you happy with T for booting SA, well, the store is still a big supporter. Okay?
posted by billsaysthis at 5:46 PM on December 3, 2004

Barclays Bank - supported apartheid
Organised religion
Plastic food and Wormburger chains
Banco Credito Balear - incompetance
ATT store in Mission Valley, San Diego for plain BAD attitude
posted by adamvasco at 5:54 PM on December 3, 2004

Steve, I live on the north side of town, and the closest Walmart is only a bit further than the Jewel where I prefer to shop. And I grew up in southern New Mexico where Walmart is big, so it wasn't just an easy choice because of lack of access -- it was a very specific choice.
posted by sugarfish at 5:59 PM on December 3, 2004

RE: I thought the Domino's as "pro-life" thing was debunked. Here's snope's take
posted by Duck_Lips at 6:19 PM on December 3, 2004

Proctor & Gamble - still animal testing bigtime
McD- ate those fries for years, thinking them vegan-safe
Anything Shriner-related- animal circuses SUCK
disclaimer: I was a PETA member for years, but have stopped supporting them out of disgust with their manipulative methods, especially when they targeted chilluns of fur-coat wearers.
posted by fish tick at 6:28 PM on December 3, 2004

Me three on the Wal*Mart boycott. But I must say that it has nothing to do with my treatment when I used to shop there (always stellar), or the people they employ (most seem nice). It has to do with corporate policy, basically the union-busting and the profit-stomping they do to their suppliers.

Also, BP Amoco. I've never done any research to support this, but after BP bought Amoco, gas prices around here shot up and never came down.
posted by MrZero at 6:37 PM on December 3, 2004

how many of you that "boycott" Wal-Mart even live in an area where there is a Wal-Mart

There's been a Wal-Mart within five miles of everyplace that I've lived since I stopped shopping there.

Ha! I didn't realize that we lived so close (Mapquest is saying ~18 miles) - I'm in EGV, but intend to correct that when the lease here is up...
posted by jperkins at 6:56 PM on December 3, 2004

Don't Shop At WalMart (795K mp3 link)
posted by dogwelder at 6:57 PM on December 3, 2004

although I've broken this a few times, I'm trying to boycott airlines in general. Who wants to pay hundreds of dollars to feel like you're in jail?
posted by getupandgo at 7:05 PM on December 3, 2004

billsaysthis - thanks for the info - makes sense.
posted by evening at 7:07 PM on December 3, 2004

1. Mall-Wart (and yes, they're around)
2. Radio in general (that's Clear Channel's fault)
3. Gossip Rags of any kind (People, Us, etc...I loathe reading "news" about celebrities)
4. Starbucks if I can help it
5. Mall type stores of any kind (Gap, PacSun, those...uh, perfume stores, actually I don't really know the names of the stores because I haven't been in a mall in a very long time)
5. Actually, specifically PacSun because they were mainly responsible for the world of skating and surfing becoming a mainstream fashion. I don't why that bothers me, but growing up in Hawaii and then seeing surfing suddenly become some sort of "Xtreme" marketing tool really irked me. Maybe it was just all those extra people in the water...

And good for Target getting rid of those annoying Salvation Army bell ringers. I have on a number of occasions offered to donate money only if they STOPPED RINGING THAT GODDAMNED BELL. Worked once.
posted by rooftop secrets at 7:07 PM on December 3, 2004

I'd like to add class to my boycott list as well, as it is obvious from my inability to remember the number after "5" in the previous post.
posted by rooftop secrets at 7:09 PM on December 3, 2004

All fast food - what's the definition of fast food? I know it when I see it. And I won't eat it.
Pizza chains - I don't care about their politics, their "pizza" is abominable. There should be some law against the misuse of the term pizza. It's like they saw a picture of pizza in a magazine and tried to recreate it out of what they had lying around - bisquick, cheddar cheese, ketchup - without ever actually having eaten pizza.
Starbucks - because I can find plenty of other places for overpriced bad coffee.
Dunkin Donuts - in New England there's one on every block. Sometimes two (not kidding). They've received enough of my money over the years. And I hate their color scheme. And styrofoam cups. And I can put my own frigging milk in my own frigging coffee, thank you very much.
Convenience stores - Honestly, is there ever anything you buy in a convenience store that isn't bad for you in some way? Cigarettes, crap beer, soda, slurpees, big buckets o' soda, candy, nachos. All crap.
Walmart - because they're too big. No one entity should dominate a sector the way they dominate retail. And a lot of the stuff there is crap anyway. Always low prices on stuff you don't really want or need. And walmart customers are the sorriest-looking subdivision of humanity and I'd like to think of myself as superior even though I don't have a better reason other than I don't shop at walmart.
Home Depot - because it sucks. Their inventory is a mile wide and an inch thick. They have a wide assortment of everything you'd need except for what you're looking for at the moment. And only one brand of everything. And their lumber is utter crap. But they've put almost every local lumberyard, hardware store, and garden center out of business. But I still won't shop there.
Bank of America, Pioneer, Minolta, Ford - once burned, twice shy. You guys fucked up and now you have to pay.
Any food with hydrogenated oil, brominated flour, artificial color and I try not to even buy other products from companies that use them - What is that crap? It isn't food. Why are you trying to sell crap as food?
Any food with "healthy" in its name - on principle.
Microsoft - OK, I'm posting this from Win2K. But it's a pirated copy. And it's a dual boot (Debian) machine.
Gap - A close friend worked for a member of the family (Fisher) that owns it and was treated very badly. She was fired because she left to go to her father's funeral.

What I don't boycott but probably should:
Chocolate - I'm sorry. Really. What's going on in Ivory Coast is an outrage. But I can't live without chocolate, sweet, sweet chocolate. And I can't live with the fair trade chocolate I've had so far.
posted by TimeFactor at 7:32 PM on December 3, 2004

I really need to get out more.
posted by TimeFactor at 7:32 PM on December 3, 2004

I won't eat Ben & Jerry's ice cream, because of the way they trumpet their corporate virtue to sell their product. Rubs me the wrong way. I'm a complicated dude.

Also, Barnes & Noble. But that's because I work for Borders.
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 7:38 PM on December 3, 2004

cribcage, if the local business owners were Libertarians (and some are) I wouldn't consider boycotting them and not because they're not in power either. The Republican party and many of it's supporters, probably especially where I live, support ideologies that I find intolerable. If I support businesses who's owners donate to Republicans then my money is indirectly supporting the Republican party. I won't support a party who includes bigotry as a desirable principle.
posted by substrate at 7:45 PM on December 3, 2004

You can't live with Fair Trade chocolate? You have an aversion to high cacoa-content, masterfully-made chocolate versus that wax-laden shit that Hersheys et al pump out? You need help, man, serious help.
posted by five fresh fish at 7:48 PM on December 3, 2004

I boycott Walmart and Sam's Club and actively encourage others to do so, as well. I anti-boycott (i.e. both shop at and encourage others to shop at) Costco for all the reasons why I don't shop at Walmart and Sam's Club. I'd contemplated getting a Costco membership for a long time but was never quite sure if it made economic sense for me as a single person who doesn't need to buy things in quantity. A series of metafilter posts about the evils of walmart and a couple showing the good qualities of Costco were what made up my mind for me. I probably about break even by shopping at Costco over other stores, but like the idea of supporting a business that doesn't treat its employees like shit.

I don't boycott Curves, because it's a franchise outfit, and while going there does, to some extent benefit Heavin and his ugly ideals, the fact that it's an excellent entrepreneurial option specifically helping women, and that much of the benefit goes to the individual franchisees is enough to counteract the distant to me realities of what Heavin supports. They cancel each other out, leaving the decision as one of which gym works for me, and currently, that's Curves.

I'm not in the market for diamonds, but I also speak against De Beers and cartel diamonds in general, encouraging people to consider alternatives to diamonds, or at least something like Canadian diamonds.
posted by jacquilynne at 7:52 PM on December 3, 2004

Hmm. I didn't think I'd been adequately persuaded to boycott anything (though it's damned easy to avoid Wal-Mart with Meijer everywhere in Michigan, and Meijer is not only unionized, they're just a better store) but I have been convinced over time that cartel diamonds are a Bad Thing. Moissanite looks like a good time alternative for the one time in the future I will be interested in obtaining a Shiny Thing.
posted by dagnyscott at 8:13 PM on December 3, 2004

fff - the only chocolate I've had that's been specifically labeled "fair trade" has been disappointing. It's seemed like it is marketed to people with a conscience, not a chocolate jones. If you have a particular brand to recommend I'm all ears. And I don't think Hershey's is chocolate either. But my understanding is that unless chocolate is explicitly labeled fair trade, the raw materials come from the same few brokers and is pretty much guaranteed to have some Ivorian content.
posted by TimeFactor at 8:14 PM on December 3, 2004

I won't support a party who includes bigotry as a desirable principle.
Yeah, yeah. Republicans eat babies, and Democrats hate America. I've heard the ventriloquist rhetoric. My question was more pointed, since your explanation is fairly obvious.

What do y'all hope to accomplish? Do you want businesses to stop contributing to all political causes? Do you notify those you boycott? Do you favor a more politically-driven economy, where storefronts hang signs advertising their ideologies?

I'm not saying you shouldn't. We're a capitalist society, and you should vote with your dollars. I'm just curious as to the rationale. Is there any constructive goal?
posted by cribcage at 8:20 PM on December 3, 2004

You get the satisfaction of knowing that your dollars aren't going to purposes you don't agree with. That's enough for me. I'm not under any illusions that I'm going to force change -- McDonald's and Clear Channel seem to be doing just fine without my support -- but at least I'm not helping them.
posted by Vidiot at 8:33 PM on December 3, 2004

I no longer buy anything but groceries here in the town I live. Lincoln Nebraska recently passed a petty and draconian anti-smoking measure that will kill off several businesses in a blighted downtown area that already looks like a toothless grin. Another once-vibrant town throttled into mediocrity by anal-retentive biddies and half-wits. I buy online now.
posted by RavinDave at 8:40 PM on December 3, 2004

Another question for Wal-Mart boycotters: if Wal-Mart improved their labor practices to be equivalent or better than their rivals which you do not boycott, would you still not shop there? I don't consciously boycott Wal-Mart, but simply choose not to shop there because of the horrible shopping experience at their dingy stores. It's easy to boycott Wal-Mart when shopping there just isn't a very pleasant experience.
posted by gyc at 8:43 PM on December 3, 2004

Walmart is very unpleasant on many levels, so I'm not shopping there. Target is my favorite and I do appreciate their ban of Salvation Army (and all other charity) solicitations at their front door.

Speaking of charities, I also boycott giving money to charities who solicit at stop lights. I never know who those people are or the charities they supposedly represent, and I don't much like being harrassed while I'm stuck in traffic. I'm waiting for someone to get killed dashing from car to car when the traffic starts moving. The only exception I made recently was on Labor Day when there were firemen collecting coins for MD. If it was a scam, I figure they deserve a few quarters for going to all the trouble of getting an actual fire truck to park at the side of the road as a backdrop.
posted by MegoSteve at 9:08 PM on December 3, 2004

Before I was aware that Wal-Mart was evil, I would occasionally buy things there. I never much enjoyed the shopping experience, but the ability to buy cheap bras, and cheaper pantyhose that came in my actual size would get me into the store a couple of times a year.

Then I read more and more about their labour practices (as well as other business practices, but it was labour practices that pushed me over the edge) and decided that I'd rather spend way too much money on pantyhose than be associated with those bastards.

If I'd liked shopping at Wal-Mart, a decision like that might have been harder to make, but I think it would have still happened.
posted by jacquilynne at 9:16 PM on December 3, 2004

Wal-Mart. I'm a rather ravacious Starbucks patron though; aren't they better to their workers than if, say, I bought Folgers or something?
posted by abcde at 9:29 PM on December 3, 2004

Funny how Walmart is always banning books and CDs by liberals (the latest being Jon Stewart's book), but never touch the crap put out by hate-mongers on the right. But I'm sure that's a coincidence.
posted by RavinDave at 9:58 PM on December 3, 2004

walmart since 1986. Before that I simply prefered Ayr-Way. The Meese report started it for me.

Domino's until Monahan sold it.

Cracker Barrell 1991 - 2002. (Since then I've just never bothered to eat there.)
posted by ?! at 10:12 PM on December 3, 2004

I don't buy big ticket items from companies that were actively involved with Nazi Germany or the Holocaust. This makes choosing a car very difficult, apart from Japanese models, which I generally don't like.
posted by bonaldi at 10:14 PM on December 3, 2004

The United Way! Biggest middleman scam in the history of the world. Find a cause you like and give to it. I avoid this bloated "charity" and hope you do too.

You can chalk me up as another eagle scout who has not supported the BSA since its decision to ban gays and nonbelievers.

I try to avoid Walmart for the same reasons as everyone else, but since I do most of my shopping at night and my city isn't the most nocturnal of places, I still go for some items I can't find at the Hy-Vee.

I won't give money to the firemen mentioned by MegoSteve or other gov't employees who use municipal resources (and are usually on the clock while collecting) to make themselves and their unions look like good guys (they probably are, but should do it on their own time).
posted by jaysus chris at 10:51 PM on December 3, 2004

It seems that many of these "boycotts" are nothing more than "I don't like this product/service and won't buy it again."

But isn't a "boycott" something more than that? You know -- such as actively campaigning against a company, or picketing, or preaching to others about why XYZ Corp is evil?

In other words -- how does "boycott" differ from "I don't like McDonald's food and would rather not eat there?"
posted by davidmsc at 10:53 PM on December 3, 2004

I'm not saying I agree with you, bonaldi, but weren't most Japanese car companies around during WWII when Japan was allies with Nazi Germany?
posted by ontic at 11:03 PM on December 3, 2004

Nestle. (still) J.P. Stevens (still) Coors (still!). Whole foods. To wit, they appear so smug, they seem a danger to shops with comparable product lines, I really hate the Time Warner center store, their prices are quite high, quality of prepared foods are ok, but not great and they have questionable labor practices.
posted by Duck_Lips at 11:25 PM on December 3, 2004

The Gap for trying to play off Sarah Jessica Parker as hot. She is not.
posted by tomharpel at 11:51 PM on December 3, 2004

Really only McDonald's. They once poisoned me in NYC. I had to stay in bed for a week after a fish sandwich. Haven't set a foot in since.
posted by keijo at 12:07 AM on December 4, 2004

I boycott Kraft, which is owned by Philip Morris, which changed it's name to Altria. For those who don't know, Philip Morris is that company that makes cigarettes.

I also boycott all fast food chains with exception to In and Out Burger and occasionally Chevy's (if that counts?).
posted by quadog at 12:27 AM on December 4, 2004

McDonalds. 4 years and counting.
posted by Meridian at 12:55 AM on December 4, 2004

This AskMe is full of enlightening information. Even though I didn't start it, thanks!
posted by trey at 3:21 AM on December 4, 2004

I haven't bought a RIAA label recording in four years and counting. I won't have anything to do with Clear Channel, either. I also refuse to buy any item of clothing with a very prominent logo on it, but that's more of a taste thing.
posted by dong_resin at 4:20 AM on December 4, 2004

McDonalds and any fast food chain since reading Fast Food Nation: not only is the food horrible and do they crush the farmer, their social policies (safety on the workforce, pay, etc etc) are an insult to civilization.

Aldi supermarket chains for the very same reason. They "renegotiate" their contracts with suppliers every so many years, trying to pinch off an extra eurocent: guess how good that food is going to be?

Nestlé products. Same reason.

Other than that, I try to buy from small stores: even a dedicated buyer for a supermarket chain is still an employee. An owner of a local cheese, wine, fowl or fish shop is an artisan.
posted by NekulturnY at 5:34 AM on December 4, 2004

There are a lot of things I avoid because they suck, not because I am tempted but forbidden by my conscious. Commercial radio, fast food chains (though I'd like to try In & Out), that sort of thing. As it happens, many of the things on my "don't consume" list have been mentioned as boycott targets.

Things that I actively do boycott:
- Walmart. Walmart's plan is to put 50 stores in and around my town. They currently have 4 (I think). There would be nothing left. Plus, well, everything else.
- McDonald's. Worked there as a teenager. 'Nuff said.
- Salvation Army. For reasons cited by others.
- When I'm buying music at Amazon, I try to remember to use the RIAA Radar.
- Any kind of DRM'd music.

Probably others I am forgetting.

I like Costco--I have more than paid back my annual membership on the cheap coffee alone.
posted by adamrice at 5:46 AM on December 4, 2004

Wow, I feel really bad at eating at that McDonalds located inside a Walmart now.
posted by icontemplate at 6:47 AM on December 4, 2004

There are a number of places / things I would not buy for one reason or another, but the ones that i actually encounter enough in my life that it means something to avoid them are: Wal-mart, Coors, Clear Channel, and (starting after I read up this year, after always giving) the Salvation Army.

Gotta say I'm surprised to see Coors isn't on more people's lists.
posted by John Kenneth Fisher at 7:26 AM on December 4, 2004

ontic, sorry that should read for the Holocaust. Which the Japanese weren't.
posted by bonaldi at 7:29 AM on December 4, 2004

Borders, because they let a bunch of scientologists in, gave them a table to shill their books and let them wander around harassing customers, trying to suck them into their pricy little cult. No joke. My wife had to get really testy with one of them to get him to leave her be. Hopefully this isn't something that happens chain-wide, but we make a point to avoid the Borders here in Austin.

Besides that, they were going to try and drive Book People, a wonderful local bookstore, into the ground by building right next to them.
posted by picea at 7:38 AM on December 4, 2004

My parents and all their friends boycotted German cars too. (Since the 60s, it think, but it wasn't that big a problem, since they were too expensive anyway.) Now that Daimler owns Chrysler it's a little harder.

Coors was on more people's boycott lists, but they've bent over backwards to give Domestic Partner benefits, etc, and to donate tons of money to glbt causes.
That said, many gay bars still won't serve it, and many still won't drink it (including me). The company is still run by right-wing Repubs who donate megabucks to evil, hateful people, and are now themselves running for office. (and the Mary Cheney shit didn't help either.)
posted by amberglow at 7:43 AM on December 4, 2004

Walmart: Yes I live very close to one, and I have to go out of my way to not shop there. It's just depressing to go into them.
Whole Foods: see my tirade in the complementary AskMe thread.
Fast Food: but I've been vegetarian for 13 years, so that one's pretty easy.
Starbucks/Caribou Coffee: I used to work at a small café that they tried to muscle out. Asses.
Yeah, I'm a hip guy 'cause I boycott all the right stuff ;)

BTW this info about Target and the Salvation Army is very interesting. Thanks.
posted by Who_Am_I at 8:32 AM on December 4, 2004

Oh my god yes, how did I forget United Way? Especially since it is United Way season. There is absolutely no good reason to give one red cent to these people. I also don't appreciate the intense pressure put on me by my own employer during this time of year to give to them, and it makes me wonder if there is some type of kickback scheme in place, or some incentive to my organization as a whole to collectively support UW generously. They suck.
posted by contessa at 9:24 AM on December 4, 2004

All professional sports franchises. I have not bought a ticket to see a game since the strike in baseball in the early 90's.
posted by vito90 at 10:21 AM on December 4, 2004

Yeah, I have a really really hard time buying major-league tickets, though I do quite like minor-league baseball. I haven't bought an MLB ticket (or any other big-league pro sports ticket) since the strike either (with the exception of seeing McGwire vs. Sosa at Wrigley Field in 1998, which I couldn't pass up.) I've gladly used free tickets from employers, though.
posted by Vidiot at 12:31 PM on December 4, 2004

<smug>I have never been within 100 yards of a Walmart.</smug>

I do occasionally go to Starbucks, though. I don't drink coffee, and coffee joints tend to all make tea the same way: a teabag in a paper cup of hot water. At least at Starbucks they can get that right, while the little place across the street sometimes uses water from a carafe that has been used for coffee, so I end up with (ugh) coffee-tea. Plus, the kids behind Starbucks' counter are consistently pleasant. If there was a good place for tea that was not Starbucks I would live there.
posted by booth at 4:36 PM on December 4, 2004

WalMart/Sam's Club (anti-union and a whole lot more!); Whole Foods (anti-union); movie theaters that are anti-union (self-link about this topic); the Seattle Times (poor treatment of union workers during/after the newspaper strike) though unfortunately, because of the Joint Operating Agreement between the two papers, my P-I subscription gives the Times a little money as well.

I don't boycott Starbucks, as they are not only a local company to me, but they treat their employees well. Costco is also local and I like to support them.
posted by litlnemo at 7:13 PM on December 4, 2004

Response by poster: Network Solutions. Terrible service, high prices, constant nagging.

Verizon. Darth Vader commercials, credit check to get cellular service, high prices, Vonage.

I guess that's not really boycotting. But in both cases I give my business to the little guy.
posted by swift at 10:23 PM on December 4, 2004

I boycott Shell for their rape and pillage of Nigeria's natural resources, and for the fact that their management did nothing to intervene in the execution of political prisoner Ken Saro-Wiwa.

I boycott ABC and related properties for gay bashing, as well as the Washington Post, which I read religiously when I lived in Baltimore. I no longer participate in the Boy Scouts of America for the same reasons.

I haven't eaten at a fast food chain in two years, after reading Fast Food Nation.

I do not buy chocolate that I know has been made with cocoa harvested from child and slave labour.

I doubt I'll be legally allowed to marry in my lifetime. Nonetheless I would refuse to buy any jewelry with any natural diamonds (from the deBeers cartel) for the same reasons.

I don't boycott Starbucks but go out of my way to find smaller coffee shops when I can.
posted by AlexReynolds at 10:33 PM on December 4, 2004

Drugstore chains that openly admit they knowingly hire pharmacists who will refuse to fill prescriptions based on religious beliefs (Walgreen's for example).
posted by ifjuly at 1:37 PM on December 7, 2004

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