Just pipe down and take my money
By Jared Huizenga – Sun Newspapers
Every morning as I eat my breakfast and check out the latest comings and goings on the internet, I want a giant fireball to burst through one of the walls.
From that fireball I want Dr. Emmett Brown to appear in his DeLorean and offer me a chance to go back in time and change one thing that can’t directly benefit me financially or personally.
The thing I would choose? I’d go back and find the first journalist to ask the CEO, owner or anybody associated with a business their stance on any sort of political issue and slap that person across the face.
Because of that person – whoever it was – we are now subjected to an almost daily barrage of businesses voicing “their” opinions on everything from gay marriage to voter ID requirements to who the next president should be. And even worse than that, we’re subjected to the public backlash associated with those stances and demands by supposed consumers to other businesses to follow suit and take a side.
My question regarding this is “what does it really matter?”
A business or a corporation can’t speak or write – it’s an inanimate object incapable of expressing opinion. The opinions expressed by “the company” are actually those of the CEO, owner or board of directors. Chances are that opinion isn’t shared by every person employed by that business, so it’s not really the stance of the business as much as the stance of one or a handful of people associated with that business.
Your response might be something like “I want to know where this business stands on an issue that I’m passionate about so I know whether I want to spend my money there.”
That’s fine, your opinion is noted.
But what about the hundreds or possibly thousands of like-minded people that might work for that business that you’re now lumping in with “the business?” While those at the top of the corporate food chain stand to make or lose more overall by alienating or empowering a particular group by taking a political stance, those lower in the chain also have a stake in the company.
Lower revenue equals less money and fewer hours to go around and those at the bottom of the chain are going to feel the pain before those at the top – on a percentage basis, the smaller fish are hurt the most.
Recently, my social media feeds have been clogged by people sharing links and opinions about businesses supporting or not supporting Minnesota’s upcoming marriage amendment. This has spawned ridiculous statements on both sides of the aisle, from the ever-popular “God hates figs” (and, apparently, spell check) argument to the “I’m going to boycott my local (and only) grocery store because the company doesn’t support it” claims.
You know how stupidity like this could be avoided? Stop asking the questions.
Personally, I don’t care how the higher-ups of Business A feel about Proposition X. As long as I can get the goods and services I want and need at a reasonable price, I’m a happy camper.
If, however, “the business” believes that its opinion on a particular issue is so important that it must take a stance, then take a stance on everything.
If your business chimes in on “big issues” like gay marriage, voter ID and the presidential race, then I want the business’ stance on the smaller issues as well. What are the business’ thoughts on the official state dessert? How about state bird or preferred hot dish?
It shouldn’t be limited to politics though. What if you’re a “Star Wars” fan and the CEO of a business prefers “Star Trek” or what if they think Nickelback is the greatest band in the history of music? Would you want your hard-earned money to in any way support such lunacy?
So, business community, if you want to keep my $8 of weekly disposable income coming into your coffers, you’ll either start weighing in on everything in existence or you’ll stop weighing in on any of them.
The ball – and my $8 – is in your court.