Boycotting was invented by the Irish in 1880 to protest the high rents charged by land agent Charles Boycott. And I had thought the Irish only invented Bailey’s Irish Crème. Merriam-Webster defines boycott as “to engage in a concerted refusal to have dealings with (as a person, store, or organization) usually to express disapproval or to force acceptance of certain conditions.”
The concept first really got my attention when we boycotted the 1980 Summer Olympics to protest the Russian invasion of Afghanistan (now ironic to some). And Russia and her friends returned the boycott favor in 1984. Since then we have had religious groups boycotting Disney for providing partner or same-sex benefits to their employees and people boycotting Walmart for not providing a living wage. Other social issues have also generated boycotts of products and services from Adidas to Unilever.
I had my own boycotts and have gotten so confused that I am giving them all up.
- I was boycotting Hershey’s because they closed their plant in Oakdale, California. But their biggest competitors are Mars, Inc. with plants in 21 counties and Nestlé’ headquartered in Switzerland. Look for Hershey sales to increase as I make up for lost time.
- I was boycotting Walmart because of their low wages. But, last month the Walmart in Oakland, California was closed and 160 low-income people lost their jobs. As one said on the radio better a low paying job than no job. His self-esteem was also hurt as were the consumers in the community with few options for affordable food and clothing shopping elsewhere.
- I was going to boycott Oreo cookies, a very hard task for me, as Nabisco closed the American factory. But, I have decided to support their international efforts in more than 80 countries as being helpful to the American economy.
My last holding out boycott was to only “Buy America”. But, last week while driving to see Star Wars (#7) in 3D at the AMC IMAX in San Francisco I was horrified to recall that AMC is owned by a Chinese conglomerate and IMAX is owned by those foreigners in Canada. However, this boycott I will now honor —-at least until Star Wars #8 comes out late next year. Close to two years is a good long time for a boycott don’t you think?