In Defense of the Boycotters


I recognized the older gentleman in jeans as one of our “semi-regulars” (definition: I have a decent idea of what he’ll order, but unlike our actual regulars, I don’t really know for sure) when he walked into the store this morning. “This will be my last dollars spent at Chick-fil-A”, he said, and then proceeded to tell me a story I didn’t quite understand about his children, but that somehow tied in his mind to his consternation over CFA COO Dan Cathy’s recent words about gay marriage. I politely took his order (it was chicken and cheese on a bagel, no egg, as I recall) and watched as he made his way to his table to eat his last Chick-fil-A breakfast. I didn’t dare get into the issue with him, but when he asked me to relay his comments to corporate, I told him I would (which I would have, had I not left work earlier than normal, still reeling from yesterday’s 30-mile, seemingly-uphill-both-ways bike spin). And as he left the counter, I thought, “that’s a perfectly American thing that he’s doing”.

The saying of which may disappoint some of my friends, I’m sure.

But the fact of the matter is that I do the same thing, and I think that it’s perfectly right, and American, to do so. Here’s the thing: if a company actively supports a cause with which I vehemently disagree, or that employs child labor, say, then I am well within my prerogative not to patronize that company. Through the years, there have been a number of companies toward which I have personally chosen this option, and there are some currently that are on my blacklist; a sampling:

Chrysler and GM – Don’t look for me ever to purchase a new Chrysler or GM product. Why? I consider the auto bailouts to be un-American, and any good they did because they “worked” is overshadowed–at least in my mind–by the horrendous precedent that they set.

Domestic chocolate – Hershey’s and Nestle, to name a couple, have a pretty poor record with regard to the use of child labor in the production of their chocolate. Thankfully, there is international pressure on the chocolate companies, and there seems to be movement on their parts, albeit much more slowly than it ought to be. Do I take this “boycott” to the nth degree? No…I’ll buy a chocolate milkshake, for instance, and not inquire about the source of the chocolate (Chick-fil-A uses Hershey’s, though I must say that I’ve thought more than once about asking corporate to pressure Hershey’s to do the right thing). But I don’t purchase candy bars as a general rule (fair-trade excepted), and haven’t for a couple of years now. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that the prices are now ridiculous.

Apple Computers – Apple was a leading proponent of gay marriage in California, and so I don’t purchase any of the “i” products. I don’t even use QuickTime player on my computer. Now, I want to say that I’ve heard that Microsoft has taken a similar position; I guess I’ll eventually have to cross that bridge as well at some point.

And there are others.

Now, do I generally launch a campaign? No. Do I do exhaustive searches on all the products I purchase to make sure they aren’t “tainted”? Of course not. Am I completely consistent in every way with this? Probably not. But none of those things is the point I’m trying to make; rather, I’m saying that it is perfectly right and patriotic to put one’s dollars where one’s beliefs are, whether in the case of the blue jean-clad old gentleman, it means eating inferior chicken, or in my case, to vow only to purchase Fords, Toyotas, and/or Hondas (should I ever make enough money to buy a new car!).

As I see it, that’s the American way.


  1. Mark Merritt on July 28, 2012 at 12:05 am

    In the interest of fairness and true conviction, I would like to see the boycotters go the whole way and stop buying OPEC products. Being a homosexual in most of those countries is punishable by death!

    • Byron on August 4, 2012 at 11:52 am

      Now THAT is good!

  2. Mark Merritt on July 29, 2012 at 10:26 pm

    Remember that the liberals who doth protest so loudly about chik-fil-a are the same ones who had no problem voting for Obama last election when he also was against gay marriage. It’s a glaring double standard to which account they’re rarely called. True conviction looks much more consistent across the board than this…shall we say…demonization.

    • Byron on August 2, 2012 at 12:02 am

      Ahem, Mark…do read my latest post. 🙂

  3. Shane Ryans on August 2, 2012 at 1:28 pm

    I have just stayed away from convos about this subject matter. I believe if you a hard working American than you should be awarded the same rights as other hard working Americans. the right thing to do is accept people for who they are not what they are. that is what this country was built on. Its a shame that there has been an invisible fence dividing this country over values it was found on. If being Gay were made a religion nothing could be said or done about it.

  4. Esdraelon on August 3, 2012 at 8:36 pm

    Well….all things considered, here are a few more to consider: founder Jeff Bezos waded into a developing corporate culture war over gay marriage Friday with a $2.5-million donation to keep same-sex unions legal in Washington state, becoming the latest in a list of high-profile executives to take public stands on a hot election issue.
    Bezos joins Microsoft cofounder Bill Gates and companies like Starbucks and Nike with support to the campaign to uphold Washington’s law. And while fast-food chain Chick-fil-A set off a furor opposing same-sex unions this month, other companies — including big names like General Mills and Nabisco — are brushing off fears that support for gay marriage could hurt their bottom line.
    Marc Solomon, the national campaign manager for Freedom to Marry, a New York-based group that advocates for same-sex marriage, said: “When you have some of the mainstays of corporate leadership stand up, that’s important. It sends a powerful message about where our society is right now.”
    Solomon and other national advocates say the donation by Bezos and his wife, MacKenzie Bezos, is the largest publicly reported gift to support a gay marriage ballot measure, noting that some gay marriage opponents have tried to shield their donor lists.
    I just ordered a bike handlebar riser from a couple of weeks ago. After reading the above, that is the last product I order from Amazon. There are other vendors to get the same product from at the same price or less, as well as buy chicken sandwiches, if you don’t agree with their policies.
    It is not just a ‘religious thing’ that people are opposed to same-sex marriage. Most see a man wanting to ‘marry’ another man, or a woman wanting to ‘marry’ another woman as a psychological aberration and the fact that such numbers are only in the 2-3% range of the population generally appears to bear that out, but I digress.
    “Christian family values” is exactly what it says. Many Christians do not live up to those values exactly as they do not live up to other Christian values that are non-family.
    The same goes about not judging others because their sins are not the same as yours.
    But the fact that I sin and fall short of the values that make up the worldview of an ideal Christian, as espoused in the Scriptures, with a higher bar to seek, in no way coerces me, should I fail in upholding those views within myself, to compromise that worldview and lower that bar.
    Chick-fil-A was founded upon Christian principle and the personal beliefs of F. Truett Cathy. He gave a perfect example of his perception of that principle, instead of the worldly bottom line, with his ‘Closed on Sunday’ rule that is still in effect. Just think about the hundreds of millions additional that could be stashed in the Chick coffers had this rule been dropped once he was gone from this world. Instead, the corporate strategy with Christian values has continued and success abounds for Chick-fil-A throughout the world.
    Nothing has changed, and the present Mr. Cathy’s worldview has always been public knowledge. His ‘sin’ was that he dared to espouse it in public, especially to a media who plastered it all over the United States!. “How dare he!” say his opponents. ”Religion and religious values are something that is a ‘private’ thing and is not to be exhibited in public!”
    Christ said that those who believe in Him would not be ashamed to state such. Once we fall for that progressive line above, we are no longer Christians, we are hypocrites.

    • Byron on August 4, 2012 at 11:51 am

      One quick comment on your excellent words; Truett Cathy will be disappointed to hear that he is gone, because the old man is 91 years old, alive and well, and founding new businesses (he started a pizza joint recently, and I’m sure it’s not open on Sunday).

  5. Esdraelon on August 4, 2012 at 2:45 pm

    Byron, thank you for the correction, I could hem and haw and say I meant the ‘corporate world’, but obviously I got ‘ahead’ of myself. 🙂


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