If old enough, did you stop buying Exxon and then Exxon/Mobile gas after the Exxon Valdez Alaskan oil spill in 1989?
Or, perhaps you stopped buying BP gas after the 2010 Deep Water Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010?
Did you stop taking an Uber when you learned that Uber’s CEO was initially on the new economic advisory council?
Or, maybe you just learned that Ivanka T. has a clothing line and you decided to never begin buy her line of clothing even at TJ Maxx?
If you answered “yes” to any of the above, welcome to the world of boycotts — using personal buying power to effect change. And, if you think boycotts don’t work, or are largely a liberal activity, think again. According to Freakonomics, both are false. Boycotts are more often used by religiously conservative groups than liberal. And if paired “with many existing layers of activism and support” and “good historical timing,” they work.
Historic Case In Point: The Montgomery Bus Boycott, which followed Rosa Park’s refusal to give up her seat on the bus, flexed the needed economic ticket buying power to effect change in segregated bus seating policies in Alabama. Parks was the PR. The boycott was the economic muscle.
Current Case In Point: Travis Kalanick, Uber’s CEO, stepped off the president’s economic advisory council after an online boycott campaign went viral and an undisclosed number of people erased their apps and started to use Lyft instead.
Recently, a new resource GrabYourWallet.org was set up by two women specifically to create economic pressure for companies carrying Trump brands. Unlike other boycotts, they call for avoiding an entire store such as Macy’s for carrying a line, rather than just boycotting the line itself. This is a new level of boycotting that required if a brand boycott is effective, as shown recently by Nordstrom’s decision to drop the Ivanka line due to decreased demand. Nordstrom’s move is a clear result of letting the market speak, but it’s worth noting that although Nordstrom denies it, #GrabYourWallet was mentioned in at least one article from NBC news as a possible cause of the decision.
If exercising your power of the wallet is something of interest, here are some LittleHinge Action Items you might want to consider:
- If you have little ones, buy a copy of Boycott Blues, a wonderfully illustrated children’s book from 2008 on “How Rosa Parks Inspired a Nation.” New: $13.
- Check out GrabYourWallet.org, started pre-election in October 2016 after Trump’s hot mic incident. Based on GrabYourWallet lists, at least one Little Hinge family member recently changed his beer order from Yuengling to a Coors at a recent pub visit.
- Look up ConsciousCapitalism.org, or starting a local chapter (there don’t appear to be any in NJ or PA). If you’re part of an ongoing concern with a decent budget, consider attending the upcoming April 2017 convention in Philadelphia with a hefty registration price tag over $1,500.
- Read the book Conscious Capitalism: Liberating the Heroic Spirit of Business by John McKay, co-founder of Whole Foods, and Raj Sisodia, co-founder of Conscious Capitalism Inc, the group responsible for starting the movement and conference above. $12
- Follow Conscious Capitalism Inc. on LinkedIn. Free!
- Order the graphic book/magazine “What To Do When It’s Your Turn – and it’s always your turn” by Seth Godin for inspiration on just taking small actions whenever they come your way.
Without a doubt, the change in your wallet can effect change. Pennies particularly add up when aggregated with other pennies. And, if boycotts aren’t in your veins, take baby steps with moral purchasing.
The LittleHingesUSA.com blog started with the post Find Your 20% — based on the premise that just voting every few years is not enough to be a truly engaged citizen. Other voting is also required, including voting with your wallet. You could say this all-American tactic started with a Boston Harbor tea party in 1773. You can say it’s still an active political tactic today. Sip tea and have at it!