Sunday, July 25, 2010

How do we vote with our dollars when we're on a budget?

UPDATE:  Change.org has an article about this as well, and a petition to sign.

Recent news has come out about Target Corporation supporting an antigay candidate for Minnesota governor. 

Target claims that they made a donation to a "bipartisan" group to create a better business environment, but when you look at the group's website, it is very pointedly partisan, and that group then used Target's donation to support Tom Emmer, who is about as anti-gay a candidate that you can get.  Under the Citizen's United decision, corporations are legal 'people' and therefore have first amendment rights, including unlimited donations to various political candidates supporting that corporation's viewpoint.  While I'm not thrilled about it, OK. I just won't shop or do business with that company, and will "vote with my dollars." 

However, there are a couple of things that disturb me about Target's donation.  They have been known, especially in the Twin Cities area, to be corporate sponsors of LGBT-friendly and supportive events like Twin Cities Pride, and the Minnesota AIDS Project.  They have extremely gay-friendly corporate policies, and HRC gives them a 100 rating in their Shopper's guide, and recommends them as an extremely gay-friendly place to work.  Why would they support a candidate whose policy positions would actively harm their LGBT employees, and undermine the causes they have supported?

Because of the situation, my partner has already moved his pharmacy account from Target, and several of my friends and associates are cancelling their Target credit cards to express their displeasure.  This is what I mean by voting with dollars.  They also have written to the CEO and gotten the brushoff described above, that Target did it as a business decision.  I suppoort them in this and think that the LGBT and progressive communities need to make this a fully-fledged boycott.

I am concerned, though.  I know in this tough economic situation, it is extremely difficult to make a boycott stick.  I'm already boycotting Wal-Fart over it's poor employment practices and anti-union stances.  Now Target is on the list for its ill-considered political support.  Where can I shop though?  It's not like my budget could support shopping elsewhere.  Many times the same reasons the store has low prices or other attractive qualities to someone on a limited budget are the same things that that prospective customer is against.  As an acquaintance of mine once put it--"I don't want to support policies that harm me or my friends, but I can't afford NOT to shop at those stores."  What do you do when you either have to shop at one of the 'boycott' stores or do without?  Is there another way to fight back?  How does the little guy make himself heard in a situation like this?

For employees, they're in an even tighter spot.  They could speak up and/or quit, but in this economy, no one wants to voluntarily give up their job, because it's that much harder to find a new one.  The corporations have all of us little guys over a barrel, and they know it.

I don't have any answers;  All I can say is to do what we can and hope that enough little people band together to make a BIG difference.


  1. Jason,
    Well you hit the nail on the head. Yet it is not just Target or Wally World hat has us little guys over a barrel! It is all of the big business. We are here with out jobs and the such. YEt the prices are still rising and they get tax breaks and incentives. We the little guy pay all the fees! They can keep a certain amt of money in a bank- No Fees for them. They can buy in bulk. Guess what it is cheaper and most of them g to place and use their tax id to get away from the tax too. Yet they are raising our taxes. as well as our electric and the rest.
    We have little to not recourse on these things! They are big business and they can sway a vote one way or another. That is whats wrong with Wash DC. He who has the most money wins! Well I give this if you give that and this and that are never discussed again!
    Well I will re-post what I used to get here and hope and pray we can hit them hard enough in the pocket book for it to open their eye's! GOT HERE THROUGH FACE BOOK!

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