The political boycott: shopping made impossible

This is how we’re divided in the days of Donald Trump’s presidency: People who happen to love the American flag and who honor our troops in faraway lands are expected to boycott Nike, because the company has signed Colin Kaepernick to be among the athletes in the campaign marking the 30th anniversary of the company’s “Just Do It” slogan.

What’s got Trumpsters literally setting their shoes on fire is a close-up photo, black-and-white ad posted Sunday by Kaepernick, with the quote:

“Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything.”

Many Americans know (perhaps because it’s been stated 150,000 times) that the man, better known perhaps for his knee than for his arm, is protesting police killings of African Americans and other injustices resulting from inequality, and he has expressed nothing but admiration for U.S. troops.

But why get too entangled in that mess when there are so many other messes in which to become entangled these days?

In-N-Out, was something anti-Trumpsters were urged to boycott for donating $25,000 to the Republican party (though the company reportedly also contributed a like amount to the Democrats, because one’s bread is apparently buttered on both sides), and while that boycott was quickly called off, there remains some rancor among proponents of the hallowed separation of church and burger joints because In-N-Out cunningly prints biblical citations on the bottom of disposable cups and on burger wrappers. Lord knows how many atheists have been converted by looking at the bottom of a milkshake cup and saying, “Hmmm, ‘Proverbs 3:5’; you know, there just might be something to this Christianity business.”

Another favorite, Chick-fil-A, continues to stay on the wrong side of the LGTBQ community with the top management not cottoning to alternative lifestyles. And never forget (or shop at) Hobby Lobby.

Some companies get the boycott business from both sides, though it’s not an example of this country putting an end to its poisonous divisiveness. Boycott Amazon, say Trumpsters, because it’s owned by Jeff Bezos who does about a million things wrong, not the least of which is owning the “sad” and “failing” Washington Post. Libtard snowflakes on the other hand want you to boycott Amazon for carrying certain Trump-related products. And boycott Starbucks—either because it’s been perceived as racist or it annually takes the Christ out of Christmas (again through the powerful medium of disposable cups).

With America sliced into pieces, a boycott can have the opposite effect. Frequently, when conservatives call for a boycott, it encourages liberals to do the opposite, and vice versa. For instance, while liberals aggressively eschewed Papa John’s pizza, conservatives began ordering it like it was delicious. Throw a gaggle of Trump fans out of your store and an army of anti-Trumpers will waltz in and take their place.

Liberals boycotted FedEx because the company sponsored the politically incorrect Washington Redskins; conservatives boycotted ABC because the network dropped the rebooted “Roseanne.” Republicans unplugged Netflix because it showed the show “Dear White People,” and Blue Lives Matter urged the boycott of Ben & Jerry’s because it supported Black Lives Matter.

Stores that sold Ivanka Trump products, such as Macy’s and Nordstrom, were heckled and bullyragged by Democrats into dumping those products, which prompted Trump to call for a boycott of the same stores, which further had the effect of anti-Trump shoppers returning to the stores.

It’s all confusing and dizzying, and it’s making it harder for the dedicated party-follower to spend anything at all with a clear conscience when you have all of the above plus a thousand other companies to boycott, including but in no way limited to Nestle, AT&T, Anheuser-Busch, the Broadway play “Hamilton” the “Star Wars” films, Wendy’s, Kellogg’s, Venezuela rum, Delta Airlines, Roku, NASCAR, the Home Shopping Network and pretty much all of China.

It’s way too difficult for most of us, regardless of our party affiliation, to faithfully follow every order to boycott. The most devoted ones will die rich, but of starvation, wearing nothing but old flour sacks made back before you had to boycott flour because of genetically modified organisms.

Your best advice remains: Clip coupons and buy whatever’s on sale.

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Tim Grobaty is a columnist and opinions editor for the Long Beach Post. He began his newspaper career at the Press-Telegram in 1976 as a copy boy and moved on to feature writer, music critic, TV critic, copy editor and daily columnist. He’s the author of several books, including I’m Dyin’ Here, and he lives in Long Beach.
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