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Shopping With Prejudice

Quirk

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Meanwhile: Why not shop with prejudice? Alex Beam The Boston Globe Published: January 16, 2007 BOSTON: My new computer should be arriving any day now. It's a Lenovo, the name the new Chinese owners have assigned to IBM's former personal-computer business. I was seriously considering buying an HP Pavilion, but I am boycotting Hewlett-Packard. Why? Because last fall we learned that Hewlett-Packard sicced private investigators on journalists, going through their trash and monitoring their phone calls. I reason that if Hewlett-Packard wants to prevent my peers from engaging in the lawful activity of newsgathering, then I have every right to punish them in the marketplace. Shopping with prejudice. Why not? There was a hilarious, unexpected moment in an episode of the television show "Entourage" when Martin Landau, playing an over-the-hill Hollywood agent, refuses to ride in Ari Gold's luxury BMW. "I won't get into that Nazi sled," Landau says. Many Jews still boycott German-made goods, and who can blame them? (Cue comedian Jackie Mason's famous joke: "A Jew who can't afford a Mercedes says, 'You expect me to drive a German car?'") The former Boston Globe editorial page editor Martin Nolan once opined that tens of thousands of Bostonians abandoned our paper for a lifetime, objecting to the Globe's support of public school busing in the 1970s. People buy with their hearts, not with their heads. I understand the counterarguments, loud and clear. When I timidly pitched my idea of a Hewlett-Packard boycott on a Web site frequented by journalists, Washington Times technology writer Mark Kellner took me to task. "'Pretext-gate,' or whatever it will be called, is a sad lapse by a very good and generally responsible corporation," Kellner wrote. "The behavior of some people at [Hewlett-Packard] stinks, no doubt about that. But if I need good equipment for my newsroom, I should let quality — and not pique — decide." No. Go pique! So much buying is irrational behavior anyway. I boycotted a local bookstore for a year because the owner refused to speak to a Boston Globe reporter — who happened to be me. Have you tasted the Swedish meatballs and lingonberry jam at the Ikea store? Heck, I'll buy $500 worth of furniture and cheapo Indonesian wall hangings just to hang out in that subsidized cafeteria. What is advertising, if not an attempt to systematize and reinforce irrational decisions? Do I care that the football player Tom Brady has been a spokesman for Dunkin' Donuts? No. I once won a Dunkin' Donuts contest; I'm a customer for life. I recently wanted to switch to a credit card that would earn me frequent-flier miles on United Airlines, so I could listen to air traffic control on their in-flight Channel 9. CitiBank — they gave me my first ATM card in 1977; I'm a fan for life — offered to switch me to their Visa rewards card, which earns United miles. But I couldn't stand those moronic ads starring "Roman," a wannabe Borat from Boobistan. I signed up with Chase bank instead. Yes, it is a complex world out there. I can't support the boycott on Canadian seafood, ostensibly to protest the commercial seal hunt. I don't see the connection between men and women scrounging for cod in the North Atlantic and the bad guys clubbing little seals up in Nanook-land. Yet, inexplicably, while "punishing" Hewlett- Packard, I have been rewarding its evil Silicon Valley twin, Apple Computer, quite generously in the past few months, buying into the iCraze. Perhaps you haven't heard? St. Steven Jobs & Co. have successfully whitewashed a stock-options backdating scandal, the kind of white-collar crime that has already cost several white dudes their jobs. But not this Jobs. Why not? "Everybody loves Steven," explains the Slate magazine writer Daniel Gross, who compares the charismatic chief executive to basketball legend Michael Jordan. "He's a revered Hall of Famer who doesn't get whistled for fouls that send other pros to the bench." Do I approve of defrauding shareholders by backdating executives' options awards? No. Do I think it's right for Apple's glamorama board, starring Mr. Inconvenient Truth himself, Al Gore, to explain away the company's crime with Nixonian doublespeak? No, I don't. But I've made my irrational decision, and I am sticking to it. I'll be downloading Apple's new theme song — "Ain't Misbehavin'" — to my iTunes account before nightfall.
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Do irrational, emotional or ethical reasons ever outweigh price/quality considerations in your own consumer decisions?
 

Huntsman

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Originally Posted by Quirk
laugh.gif

Do irrational, emotional or ethical reasons over outweigh price/quality considerations in your own consumer decisions?


Figure in? Yes, all the time. Outweigh? Depends on the consideration under consideration.
 

Earthmover

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Originally Posted by Quirk
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Do irrational, emotional or ethical reasons over outweigh price/quality considerations in your own consumer decisions?

Certainly. My current boycotts:

1. USAir. I left my Nano on Seat 9A on a USAir shuttle back from Logan to Laguardia. Once I left the security gate, despited my pleading and pleading to go back to retrieve the Nano (in the alternative, someone get it for me), I was denied and instead directed to a website form (that's right, a website form, when it was literally sitting 500 yards away from me) to fill out a lost and found report. Needless to say, I never saw my Nano again, which had 700 songs. Stupid policy and lack of sympathy makes them not worthy of my business.

2. Chicken Marsala at Olive Garden. I've gotten sick twice in a row after eating; while I have no reason to believe that it was necessarily the source or that it wasn't isolated incidents, I never order it.

3. Non-Sony big screen TVs. My dad bought a 53" TV from Sony in 1990. It was awesome picture quality and amazingly runs quite well to this day, despite never requiring repair or maintenance (and three moves!). While this is certainly an isolated incident, I've never even considered buying a non-Sony TV.

4. Microsoft products other than ones I need (OS and Office). They suck. They encourage mediocre products.

5. Non-Hess stations for gasoline (whenever I have a choice). J - E - T - S ! JETS JETS JETS.

6. Chinese-made tofu. No way. They suck.

7. Chinese food made by the non-Chinese. It just feels weird.

and many many more. While some may have plausibe excuses, I think ultimately all these choices are essentially irrational. Doesn't really phase me, though.
 

Stazy

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I refuse to shop at Walmart. I called them once in search of a hard to find product and was on hold for over 30 minutes before I just hung up. And when I mean put on "hold", I mean the person who answered my call simply placed the phone on the counter, and then subsequently forgot, or chose to ignore me. I could hear people talking, various background noises, etc.

Ever since then, I avoid Walmarts at all cost.
 

Mr. Checks

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I refuse to send any revenue in the general direction of Tom Cruise.

I have refused to attend universally-acclaimed movies, starting with Close Encounters. The only exception was Crash, which reinforced my rule.

I will not consume any Swanson frozen "food" but readily consume others.
 

FLMountainMan

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Originally Posted by imageWIS
I refuse to shop at Wal-Mart because their entire corporate identify and business model / practices are horrific and go against what I consider ethical business practices.

Jon.


I actually think their business model is incredible - very similar to Standard Oil's. It's really not Wal-Mart you should attack, but rather, the laws that permit Wal-Mart to operate the way they do.
I boycott them and Home Depot because I hate having to spend a half-hour (parking, wandering the halls dodging obese people, and finding the merchandise) to buy an ironing board or a box of nails. I'll pay a few bucks extra for the service and lack of crowds at an independent.
 

von Rothbart

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I avoid government-owned companies. Government has no business owning or running a business. Therefore, I don't patronize Citgo or Lukoil. I give preference to companies based in blue states over those based in red states, so between Cingular and Verizon, I picked Verizon over Cingular.
 

Quirk

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Although I still scoff at the Dixie Chicks nixers, I must admit I stopped listening to Cat Stevens a long while back when he went all crazy Muslim. And though I will likely go to my grave still believing that Barbara Streisand possesses one of the most amazing instruments God ever fashioned from flesh and blood... enough already, "Gorgeous". I try to avoid Herbert von Karajan, too.
 

Bandwagonesque

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I don't have a well-defined shitlist in my head... but there are some companies I'll prefer over others for various reasons, logical and rational, or not. I haven't eaten at McD's for 10 or so years; not because of any particular business practice of theirs - but because the food is ****. Lots of others like this.
 

Get Smart

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Originally Posted by Earthmover
2. Chicken Marsala at Olive Garden.

wow, that's the ONLY thing I ever get at Olive Garden

my illogical banned list:

-any Japanese restaurant not owned/staffed by Japanese (esp a local one called Kabuki)
-WalMart
-Costco/SamsClub/any superwearhouse
-anything Oprah related
 

Bandwagonesque

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Any thoughts on "Asian Fusion" cuisine? Is it a bastardization, or a way to unlock new flavours and combinations? Personally, I think it's enjoyed crap only by trendy hipsters who just like to drop the word "fusion".
 

LapelQueen

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I have boycotted Benetton with extreme prejudice since the Toscani print ads of the 90s.
And I wouldn't eat at a Mcdonalds or Pizza Hut if they were the only 'restaurants' left on the planet: selling ****, and an ersatz joke of a potentially wonderful and classically simple dish respectively.
 

Tokyo Slim

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Someone said earlier that MS encourages product mediocrity. This is probably true, but it comes with product diversity.

I would rather live in a world with a million mediocre choices than in a world with one option sanctioned from on high by Steve Jobs and Al Gore.

PC = Democracy
Apple = Communism.

If those are my two choices... I always choose Democracy. Nobody tells me what processer to put in my computer. NOBODY.

Also, I will take Pizza Hut over Domino's any day, but so far, Garlic Jim's is the best delivery pizza I've ever had. Especially when I made it. mmm. J can attest to my skillz.

I'll never buy bottled water. People complain about the price of GASOLINE.Water is just... water!

I only like Rockstar energy drinks. I like it because it has the word "Tokyo" on the can. Plus, it tastes pretty good.

I doubt I'll ever buy a FORD. Every single one I've ever been in has sucked. If the interior is passable, the engine sucks, if the engine is decent, the interior is garbage. Either that or both the interior and engine suck. Ugh.

I'm sure I can think of some more later.
 

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