Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Chocolate and Cows

Around the corner from our house is a delicious and locally owned yogurt store. We used to frequent it at least once a week. The flavors were unique, they always had a vegan option, and we felt like we were supporting our neighborhood.

A couple of months ago, I stopped in at the local butcher to pick up dinner. The butcher is a couple of doors down from the yogurt shop. In the parking lot, in front of the yogurt shop, was a Nestle truck. It was unloading cases of yogurt mix.

I nearly cried.

The first thing I said when I walked back in the house was, "Well, we can't eat at Skinny Dip anymore."

Protests arose. The biggest was from Mallory, who raised the valid point of, "It's just yogurt. It's not like Nestle is really hurt from you not buying yogurt."

It's true. Nestle could care less if I buy their products. If they did care, they would have changed their ways decades ago since the Nestle boycott has been going on since the 70's. Nestle isn't hurting because of the boycott.

Which begs the question, why boycott then?

For me, it's simple. It's my money until I give it to someone else in exchange for goods, services, or the emotional satisfaction of charity. Once I have given someone else control of my money, I don't have any right to say what they should or should not do with it. I have chosen to let them have it, and it is theirs to use however they see fit.

That means, if I believe really strongly in something, like I do breastfeeding and the care of mothers and infants, then I won't give my money to a corporation who makes decisions that are detrimental to that cause. Actions that are repeated with the known outcome of death to babies and the cause of untold cases of failure to thrive and untold cases of undermined breastfeeding attempts - these are actions that I choose not to fund through purchasing products from Nestle.

It's true. The fact that I never buy another Nestle or Nestle family product doesn't matter to their bottom line. It will never change their actions. I know this.

It's about my conscience. It's about me making an active choice not to support such a corporation who does business around the globe without out any concern about the well being of the people. I choose not to support them, and I sleep better at night because of it.

It's also true that I have supported corporations who don't hold the same values that I do. I use UPS, and they have donated money to political candidates who make my skin crawl and my teeth itch. Their choice. I don't see that value difference as actively hurting other people.

And so we come to the chicken sandwich. The chicken sandwich my children love to eat. The chicken sandwich I love to eat. That perfect pickle and adorable cow.

There was a time that I simply disagreed with Chick-fil-a. I knew their position on marriage and their idea of a traditional family. I didn't agree, but I still purchased their tasty chicken and chugged their unlimited Diet Coke refills.

Things are different now, though. Bringing to light exactly where their money is being placed and the fact that the organizations receiving money that I willingly gave to Chick-fil-a are actively hurting people has changed my mind. It took all week, and watching streams of people thumbing their nose to the pain caused by the organizations funded by millions of Chick-fil-a dollars today, but I'm there. I'm to the point where I choose not to give them anymore of my money.

Besides, there are far better things we should be eating in the world besides chicken sandwiches and waffle fries. And when my children ask why we can't go to Chick-fil-a? It will give me the chance to actively show them how to stand up for what you believe and say it's not okay to discriminate against and hurt people.

It's not okay.

9 comments:

  1. Anonymous8:03 PM

    I struggle with this because I would guess that Chik Fil A and I overlap about 80% of the time. Closed on Sunday? Teaming with PBS? Scholarship money for the high school kids who work there? The huge banners congratulating long term employees? The special family dinners? Yes, please to all that.
    But. But. But.
    I certainly did not eat there today. I can't swear I'll never eat there again. But I am so aghast at where the CEO puts his money (that used to be my money) ... I find it hard to go there. And I will continue to struggle with this ... which values outweigh what?
    Thanks for writing about this in a reasonable way.

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  2. I may be confused, but what organization are you referring to in your post?

    I am a bit on the fence on this one. I think that our bullying of a business because we don't agree with the CEO's opinion is wrong. I didn't hear that they wouldn't serve someone who was gay and married.

    I'm so over this judgy world of see-things-my-way-or-else!

    Honestly, I'd like to understand this better. And I'm all for everyone spending their money how they see fit!

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  3. Nominimom9:48 PM

    I think bullying the CEO for his opinions is wrong. I think the mayor of a city trying to block a business because he disagrees with a CEO is also wrong.

    With that said, I won't spend my money at Chick Fil A because I am a private individual who also has my own opinion and I don't want my money used to promote bigotry.

    Good on you, Marty!

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  4. Anonymous7:10 AM

    Is this a free Country? Is Abortion Right? What are you doing that I don't like? Killing trees? Eating shrimp? Burning Coal? Where does it start/stop? Snookie

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  5. I'm probably doing lots of things that you don't like, Snookie. It is most definitely a free country, and thank goodness it is. I'm just saying I'm free not to give certain corporations money, and choosing carefully where to spend the almighty dollar. You are free to do the same, and I still love you. :)

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  6. Anonymous9:46 AM

    I love to see women deciding for themselves what's okay, whatever that means for them, personally. You know how people alway say in those yearly pledging sermons that how you spend your money is a "statement of your true values and priorities?" I'd say that giving up unlimited Diet Coke refills definitely makes a STATEMENT that you can't put a price tag on.

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  7. I admire you. I admire your personal commitment to boycott Nestle. I am not that strong. I wish I was.

    You amaze me so. I am with you on giving up Chick-fil-A. I do not want even a minuscule portion of my money to support anti-gay programs. I've wanted to give up Chick-fil-a for a long time (esp since I found out they have MSG in their chicken), but this is the straw breaking this camel's back. Done.

    -Abby

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  8. Being that Chick Fil A feeds my children, I wish people would consider that while yes, each store pays into corporate, they are also individually owned and operated. Our operator? Well he's a good man who doesn't promote hate or bigotry. We in fact employee homosexuals, love on them and support them and follow what the bible says, "follow God and love each other".

    And will you boycott Target too? They donate to anti-LGBT. In 2010 they donated 150,000 to Tom Emmer who opposes Gay marriage.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/07/27/target-homophobia-ceo-gre_n_660990.html

    I however support your right to free speech, you freedom to boycott etc but I also hope everyone considers that little people they are effecting while they give it to the big guy. It's not as simple as running out and finding new work this day and age.

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  9. That is an excellent point, Gail. Having an independent operator with different views might sway me some. It's hard to say. Because I know and love you, I would never not eat in the one where your husband works. Maybe that makes me less strongly convicted, so be it.

    However, Target has donated to a candidate with anti LGBT views, yes. They are on my eyebrows raised list. What turned me for the chicken was the active stance they began to take, making it their issue. Making it something that people could no longer excuse or forgive. You have to either be fine with it or not. I am not. And not just because he spoke up, but because the groups they have given money to, some of them, have been specifically listed as hate groups. The CFA was on the eyebrows raised list for awhile - this just tipped it over the edge.

    I am so sorry this all has effected you so personally. I know you, and I know that you and your family are nowhere near bigots or anything else. Thank you for speaking up and reminding me there is always a personal side.

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