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Shop Your Party, Choose Blue (or Red)
December 3, 2004 8:25 AM   Subscribe

WalMart? Red. Costco? Blue.
Vote with your wallet, shop in stores that support your political beliefs and stay away from stores that don't.
Home Depot? Red. Circuit City? Red. JC Penney? Red. Sears, Staples, Walgreens? Red. So where's the blue? The Gap, CostCo, Bed Bath & Beyond, Barnes & Noble, Toyota (the only car maker to support Blue more than Red). They get Coors, Bud, Busch and Michelob but that's nicely balanced out by the Blue getting Guinness. The only anamoly I've found so far is Target, a Minnesota based company headed by a strong Democrat, is in the Red.
Will this change anyone's shopping habits? I hope so.
posted by fenriq (211 comments total)

 
Democrats, make sure you only buy baseball cards of left handed players. And Republicans, when you eat chicken, eat only the right wing, otherwise god knows what could happen.
posted by jonmc at 8:31 AM on December 3, 2004


(I think fenriq is trying to tell us to get all our food from Trader Joe's and everything else from GI Joe's).
posted by Smart Dalek at 8:35 AM on December 3, 2004


'merchandise will be burned!'

-Chenier
posted by clavdivs at 8:37 AM on December 3, 2004


Perversely enough, you'd think that Green=Shopping at small businesses and independent retailers, but in my experience this is not always the case. Small business owners are often huge Republican supporters/contributes, since they perceive Democrats as being equivalent with higher taxes and etc. and many of them are just barely squeaking by. Perhaps here is another area where the Dems should try to make inroads for the next election. (Provided there are any small businesses left by then =)
posted by idontlikewords at 8:38 AM on December 3, 2004


Trader Joe's fucking annoys me. It's a place where yuppies can go buy dophin safe tuna and free trade coffee and feel all exalted and holier than thou, while the guy punching the register is still making minimmum wage and be oblivious to the irony.

They also don't sell velveeta and their cold cuts taste funny. Although their crab cakes are tasty, I'll admit.
posted by jonmc at 8:40 AM on December 3, 2004


And Toyota is set to become the leader in worldwide car sales. Coincidence? I think not.

2/3 of my jobs are for Blue businesses in a Blue state.
posted by drezdn at 8:42 AM on December 3, 2004


Heh.
posted by Ufez Jones at 8:45 AM on December 3, 2004


Here's an idea... Let's be directly responsible for the alienation and disenfranchisement of poor rural america. Keep building those walls, lefties. It's what your government wants.
posted by apiaryist at 8:45 AM on December 3, 2004


What happens if I buy Heinz Ketchup from a Red Store? Will civilization collapse into itself?

I think Wal-Mart has a special on clues, you blue state people should go buy one.

(...ssssssSSNAP!)
posted by Stan Chin at 8:50 AM on December 3, 2004


The companies whose donations are 50/50 or close to it bother me. Pick a side, people!
posted by Faint of Butt at 8:52 AM on December 3, 2004


Ironic - HJ Heinz is listed as "red" with 83% of their contributions to the GOP. Maybe "W" ketchup wasn't such a good idea after all.
posted by tizzie at 8:53 AM on December 3, 2004


This could just as easily be called "Choose the Red".

Voting with your dollar is a good idea, but since most of these are public companies owned by shareholders who probably equally reflect the voting demographics of the country, it is an exercise in futility. A better choice is to pick products based on things like personal and environmental health.
posted by stbalbach at 8:53 AM on December 3, 2004


Faint of butt, it's called covering your ass. That way no matter who gets elected, they're not disenfranchised. You didn't think this was all about actual convictions did you?
posted by jonmc at 8:54 AM on December 3, 2004


How did they arrive at a red/blue label for these video games? These are individual products. Everquest donated to the Democrats? They seem to mean that the owner of the game, Sony Corporation of America, did. So why not just list the corporation once, instead of five times?
posted by Sangermaine at 8:55 AM on December 3, 2004


Democrats as being equivalent with higher taxes

Demopublicans may be tax and spenders, but the Republicrats are BORROW and spenders.

The total national debt of the United States on a fully realized basis, inclusive of federal, state, county and local debt stood at a record $20.613 trillion (83.73% of said debt having been created from 1981-1992 and from 2001 to present.)
posted by rough ashlar at 8:56 AM on December 3, 2004


This is so completely stupid.
posted by mathowie at 8:59 AM on December 3, 2004


Lame. Buy where you want to buy. If you have idealistic reasons for staying away from wal-mart, then fine. But honestly, dividing the country all the more by promoting people of different political persuasions to SHOP differently... jeez. The Rich Republicans buy Toyotas and Lexuses, they show at Bed Bath and Beyond, and read books at Barnes and Noble. The poorer democratic population shops at Wal-mart, does their own home improvement at Home Depot and drink Coors and Michilob -- Joe American. See, the thing is, neither of these stereotypes are true -- and thinking that you've got it figured out because you're one side or the other is just the kind of thinking that has got us in tho the mess we're in politically in this country.

Political bigots are as bad as religious ones.
posted by psychotic_venom at 9:00 AM on December 3, 2004


this is the most retarded thing I've seen in a long time.
posted by chaz at 9:01 AM on December 3, 2004


Seconded, matt. Boycotts are not supposed to be mental masturbation. They are supposed to be broadly based, locally organized short-term high-profile pressure campaigns. This is Lifestyle Socialism = wank.
posted by By The Grace of God at 9:02 AM on December 3, 2004


Wow. Glad you've got everything figured out, there. Maybe you could do a little work on global warming while you're solving all the problems? Thanks. I'd appreciate it.
posted by PossumCowboy at 9:05 AM on December 3, 2004


This idea's got as much punch as a double amputee.
posted by mosch at 9:06 AM on December 3, 2004


Where does the information come from?

All numbers used on this site pertain to the 2003-2004 election cycle...


This begs the question, how do these companies historically donate? And also, since a large number of companies donate money on both sides of the table, i.e. Cisco and Intel, perhaps many of these companies were simply placing their bet on the perceived winner, in the hopes of gaining a foothold for their own special interest?

On preview, what Faint of Butt and jonmc said...
posted by MrZero at 9:06 AM on December 3, 2004


Where would Hitler shop?

Godwin!
posted by Fuzzy Monster at 9:06 AM on December 3, 2004


You know, I really don't like WalMart all that much. And I go there as little as possible. But ya know something? They still keep making billions despite that. One of these days I hope someone abandons the idea of right vs left, conservative vs liberal, and red vs blue, and decides to form a common sense party. (Actually Red vs Blue is okay, as long as it's the Halo based comedy series.)

Republicans have some good ideas. Democrats have some good ideas. Too bad that both parties are completely and totally full of shit otherwise. I voted for Kerry because I liked him only slightly better than I liked Bush. He didn't win, but I'm not gonna complain. Kerry was so full of shit he left a trail behind him wherever he went. Sure, Bush represents Big Brother to some, but dammit, he can't pass laws by himself. People in Congress gotta do it for him.

On the same track, there is one thing about Walmart I like. I can get damned near anything there, from toys to food to movies to video games. I hate their union busting tactics. I loathe their treatment of employees. And their method of doing business is atrocious. Nevertheless, they got a lotta stuff. So does Costco, but I don't have to buy a "Big McHugelarge" size at Walmart. There is one thing that Costco does have on Walmart and a lot of other large retail corporations: They give their employees holidays off. Costco is usually closed on holidays like X-mas, Thanksgiving, Easter (I think) and other holidays. Most other places go out of their way to be open on those days, even though being closed wouldn't make or break them.
posted by GreatWesternDragon at 9:10 AM on December 3, 2004


I'm pretty sure Hitler would have bought his towels at Bed Bath and Beyond. He enjoys the soft fabric and the size allows him to just snuggle up in it.
posted by Stan Chin at 9:10 AM on December 3, 2004


Very silly.

With a few exceptions, money does not go to ideology, it goes to interests. Walmart gave $25,000 to re-elect a Democratic senator in Arkasas (its home state) and nothing to the Republican challenger. In fact, it gave to basically every incumbant in the state, Democrat or Republican. Republican money jumped after it took over the House, and again after the Senate. Smart bets, not politics.
posted by blahblahblah at 9:10 AM on December 3, 2004


Where would Hitler shop?

Holocaust R Us. Wal-Macht.
posted by jonmc at 9:12 AM on December 3, 2004


"Non-cooperation with evil is as much a duty as cooperation with good." --Gandhi
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 9:13 AM on December 3, 2004


This is so completely stupid.

I know. I mean, these companies aren't even FRENCH!

Stupid liberals always declaring nonsensical boycotts....
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 9:15 AM on December 3, 2004


I thought only crazy right-wing nut jobs divided everything in the world into neat little catergories of good and evil, weapons-grade-plutonium.
posted by jonmc at 9:16 AM on December 3, 2004


Holocaust R Us. Wal-Macht.

Damn, jonmc, that made me laugh out loud.
Does this mean I'm going to Hell?
posted by Fuzzy Monster at 9:19 AM on December 3, 2004


I can't remember. Is Micro$oft evil or is MicroSoft good? This is all so confusing.
posted by TimeFactor at 9:24 AM on December 3, 2004


I hereby move that the terms "Red" and "Blue" be replaced by "Sharks" and "Jets." It's time to move forward.
posted by stet at 9:24 AM on December 3, 2004


Thanks for this. I was just wondering whether there was any way we could further divide the country by accentuating our differences and taking sides as "red" or "blue."
posted by pardonyou? at 9:24 AM on December 3, 2004


Wow, you know, if small businesses are Republican, perhaps the dems actually need to HELP THEM OUT instead of promoting crap like demented (50%) minimum wage increases!
posted by u.n. owen at 9:25 AM on December 3, 2004


Wow. Are you upset at the idea of supporting companies you agree with? Domino's Pizza and Curves Fitness donate lots of profits to pro-life organizations, and I'm glad that I know that--I don't want my money ending up supporting those ideas. Maybe some people order even more pizza and workouts because of it. There's something wrong with consumers making that kind of informed choice?

Or are you upset because this link doesn't make fine differentiations between political beliefs? If I have a choice between two stores, and one gives a lot of money to a political campaign I don't agree with, I'm dividing the country by choosing the other one?

Sure, it would be nice to get a more complete picture of the company's record, including their envirnomental policies and what they've done in previous elections, but this information can still be useful. I really don't get the pile-on here....
posted by equipoise at 9:26 AM on December 3, 2004


Will this change anyone's shopping habits?

I doubt it.
posted by arakasi at 9:27 AM on December 3, 2004


jonmc wrote

Trader Joe's fucking annoys me.

Let me guess: You want romance, right?
posted by Reverend Mykeru at 9:27 AM on December 3, 2004



This is so completely stupid.
posted by mathowie at 8:59 AM PST on December 3


What is completely stupid, Matt? The idea of voting with your wallet is a good one, it not only gives me something to do and think about looking forward instead of focusing on the election (I'm in counseling to move beyond it and its working).

stet, sharks and jets? screw that! The San Jose Sharks are or were, my hockey team, I'll be damned if they get them too.

And I'd be waaaay happier to change that Left/Right crap rather than red and blue, its far more damaging.

And I love Trader Joe's. Good food, great attitude, good prices and stuff you can't get anywhere else.
posted by fenriq at 9:31 AM on December 3, 2004


1990 called. They want their polarizing collective consciousness back.
posted by naxosaxur at 9:32 AM on December 3, 2004


And I love Trader Joe's. Good food, great attitude, good prices and stuff you can't get anywhere else.

Ach.

Like whole foods market, they make me wanna park myself in an aisle and eat Circus Peanuts and drink straight Bosco.
posted by jonmc at 9:35 AM on December 3, 2004


"I hate their union busting tactics. I loathe their treatment of employees. And their method of doing business is atrocious. Nevertheless, they got a lotta stuff."

You can't argue with logic like that.

Oh, wait, you can.
posted by fletchmuy at 9:36 AM on December 3, 2004


A few comments back, somebody mentioned being annoyed by the companies that are 50% - 50%. While I am not at all offended by a 50% - 50% split, I do wonder why whoever made the site put the 50% - 50% companies in the BLUE column. Shouldn't they be, like, purple or something?

For what it's worth, I think that this is a great site. I have libertarian friends who would probably argue that where you spend your money is the most important decision you will make, and the only one that is likely to effect any change at all.
posted by afroblanca at 9:36 AM on December 3, 2004


Trader Joe's fucking annoys me. It's a place where yuppies can go buy dophin safe tuna and free trade coffee and feel all exalted and holier than thou, while the guy punching the register is still making minimmum wage and be oblivious to the irony.

I'm a libertarian-leaning pragmatist. I shop at Trader Joe's from time to time. Not because of their perceived politics, or to feel holier than thou, but because I like some of the stuff they sell. Imagine that!
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 9:37 AM on December 3, 2004


Wal-Macht.

Oh, well, I needed a new keyboard anyway.
posted by Faint of Butt at 9:38 AM on December 3, 2004


Sorry...this just doesn't work. Fox News is listed as blue.
posted by pjsunray at 9:39 AM on December 3, 2004


there are no red states. there are no blue states. there are only hordes of ravening assholes who allow reality to be framed for them by simple but totally erroneous visual "aids".
posted by quonsar at 9:40 AM on December 3, 2004


devilsadvocate, I'm sure that's true. But a big part of TJ's success and self-promotion is centered around their touch-feely, warm & fuzzy, treehugging, aboriginal fetishizing image. And it's generally a good rule of thumb that the more "progressive" an image a corporation tries to front, the more shitty they actually are.

And their cold cuts do taste funny. Their ham tastes of lettuce for some reason.
posted by jonmc at 9:41 AM on December 3, 2004


I'm with you, equipoise - I actually think this is a fairly intriguing idea, though as someone said, I wouldn't necessarily trust these numbers as being historically accurate, and context is obviously omitted (the Wal-Mart donations to the Arkansas gubernatorial race being a case in point).

That said, in an era where corporate PACs are flooding the GOP with money while Democrats go begging, when there is an obvious and disturbing rise in what might be called overt corporatism, why shouldn't those who disagree with all of this seek to vote with their wallets?
posted by kgasmart at 9:43 AM on December 3, 2004


jonmc, you'll get bloody shins pretty quickly, the aisles are narrow and people don't really go for quasi-political protests while shopping there.

You prefer homogeny in your groceries, I prefer diversity. And why cloud the issue with the circus peanuts, just start gulping pound after pound of highly refined sugar. And chase it with a nice big bottle of high fructose corn syrup.

They're nice enough to call an ambulance for you when you begin having seizures.

On Preview: Actually, jonmc, I don't care about the "warm fuzzies" crap, they have cheese I like, they have hummus I like, they have good edamame and excellent crab cakes. And they have good sodas that aren't liquid poison.
posted by fenriq at 9:43 AM on December 3, 2004


quonsar, are you talking about this link or shit like Fox News and CNN?

simple but totally erroneous visual "aids"

is a little too vague for me. Oh Mighty Q! And unless you make me your secretary of Toady Affairs, I shall continue to question the Q.
posted by fenriq at 9:47 AM on December 3, 2004


I'll chime in as another Trader Joe's fan. I like the selection, the customer service and the prices. Their decent business methods are just icing on the (organic) cake. And anecdotal evidence suggests that they're a pretty reasonable company to work for, too-- about as good as you can hope for, working at a grocery store.
posted by Faint of Butt at 9:48 AM on December 3, 2004


You prefer homogeny in your groceries, I prefer diversity.

First, don't project what I want in groceries to pump up your own ego. Anyone who's ever shopped with me can tell you that's far from the case

It's an image of "diversity," that they're selling you. I agree that some of their food is good, but it is a bit of a shuck. Corporations don't spend enormous amounts of effort to create brands (meaning not just the product, but the image associated with it) unless it pays.
posted by jonmc at 9:48 AM on December 3, 2004


Fox donates more to blue than to red candidates. Strange, but true. The product they produce is clearly red in this country, but I remember hearing that Rupert Murdoch was more closely associated with the left with Sky News in Europe.

Will this change anyone's shopping habits?
I doubt it.

Wrong. I changed to Costco from Sam's Club because of that site.
posted by Doohickie at 9:50 AM on December 3, 2004


if one -- conservative, liberal, whatever -- doesn't agree with a corporation's politics, they're free to boycott them. bring your business somewhere else. there's nothing stupid about it.
Wal-Mart likes union-busting? liberals can go ahead and boycott them. conservatives didn't like Springsteen's pro-Kerry concerts? don't go to Springsteen's concerts and don't buy his cd's.

also, to boycott on the basis of political contributions is certainly less stupid -- and less childish -- than deciding to boycott on the basis of national origin -- like that nice Freedom Fries anti-French boycott.
and, please remember that Congress and the White House joined in the ridiculous Freedom Fries crap. at least the "choosetheblue" initiative is not official Democratic Parrty policy. on the other hand, "Freedom Fries" appeared on Capitol Hill cafeteria / Air Force One menus.
stupid huh?
posted by matteo at 9:53 AM on December 3, 2004


jonmc you seem to perceive "holier then thou" attitudes just about everywhere you go, so you can forgive me for thinking that you're a bit off when it comes to trader joe's. Granted, I've never been there, but based on your past posts, I'd say you're probably wrong.
posted by chaz at 9:54 AM on December 3, 2004


as for trader joe's, they put their money where their mouth is. Not only can you get what you want/need and be healthy about it, the prices are easily 30% less than the crappy main chain supermarkets.

oh, and wal-macht is one of the funniest things i've read in awhile.
posted by elsar at 9:54 AM on December 3, 2004


Reminds me of this thread. Costco offers competitive and reasonable prices and pays its employees a reasonable wage. That this is frowned upon by some investors really does say something about the social consequences of the way we do business. Funny how social consequences are such a concern in regards to marriages of different sorts but are often quickly dismissed in this context.

Of course the blue and the red distinctions are rather limiting and tired and it'd be wonderful to get away from you only say that because you're a this or that, but still, there are consequences for everybody.

Our ability to do anything about it is severally limited of course and the blue and the red candidates wouldn't help much anyway.
posted by juiceCake at 9:55 AM on December 3, 2004


I can't speak for Trader Joe's (never even seen one) but Whole Foods actually does a pretty good job at balancing employee power, corporate responsibility, and capitalism. Check this Fast Company article for details.
posted by Ufez Jones at 10:01 AM on December 3, 2004


Screw Trader Joe's, Jungle Jim's is where it's at. They have a monorail!
posted by Mick at 10:02 AM on December 3, 2004


Voting with your wallet = smart
Walmart = pure evil.
Trader Joe's = Better than Safeway/Albertsons for beer, wine, cheese and assorted weirdo products I can't find anywhere else, like low sodium bread and cashew/macadamia nut butter (you'll never eat peanut butter again). And generally cheaper than the chains on everything. But yeah, their cold cuts suck ass.
posted by doctor_negative at 10:02 AM on December 3, 2004


Like whole foods market, they make me wanna park myself in an aisle and eat Circus Peanuts and drink straight Bosco.

And this is info is important because we're all insanely interested in the shopping and eating habits of one jonmc? Jon, please tell me more. Soorry, just sayin': I don't give a flyin' one about your personal shopping turn-me-ons.
posted by Shane at 10:03 AM on December 3, 2004


are you talking about this link or shit like Fox News and CNN?

i am talking about YOU, fenriq, buying into and promoting the whole "red state/blue state" fallacy.
posted by quonsar at 10:08 AM on December 3, 2004


But a big part of TJ's success and self-promotion is centered around their touch-feely, warm & fuzzy, treehugging, aboriginal fetishizing image. And it's generally a good rule of thumb that the more "progressive" an image a corporation tries to front, the more shitty they actually are.

I don't think this is true. I don't go to TJ's anymore all that much, but only because I prefer *gasp!* Mollie Stone's or Whole Foods. I have talked to employees at TJ's, during the large major-grocery-chain strike in SoCal, about their pay and treatment of workers. They all told me they were treated very well.

I think your discounting of TJ's just because it seems warm and fuzzy is reactionary. Then again, I despise Target and won't shop there for reasons that are just about as valid.

And the main reason I shop at these stores? The stuff is better, in my opinion. Plugra butter tastes better to me. Clover farms milk tastes better to me. Whole Foods goes out of their way to let you know about their practices and the practices of their providers.

As far as political affiliation, the idea seems fairly silly. Red-blue stores doesn't make much sense. On the other hand, if a company openly supports, say Pro-Life, like Carl's Jr. or Domino's I sure as hell won't give them my money.
posted by Kafkaesque at 10:10 AM on December 3, 2004


Don't look now, but Trader Joe's is owned by a much larger, tightly held company. Ironically, the billionaire owners of TJ's also hold 7% of Albertsons.
posted by SteveInMaine at 10:16 AM on December 3, 2004


shane, I was using humor and hyperbole to make a point is all. I know you don't care about my habits.

And ufez, whole foods are union busters.

It's not actually the holier than thou that bothers me so much. It's the hucksterism. I've worked as a low-level employee for several companies that projected themselves as new-agey and warm and fuzzy, but when it came to their employees they were as cutthroat as any other mega-corp. That's what bugs me.

The basic objection I have to this site is this. If a company is doing something I found horrendous and egregious, like supporting nazis or the klan, then I'd boycott them. But just for being conservative, nah.

And I'm not questioning anybody's right to boycott these companies, only the efficacy of the whole enterprise.
posted by jonmc at 10:16 AM on December 3, 2004


*ahem* some of us don't even have Trader Joes, Whole Foods or Wild Oats.

Which is one of the big hitches in this whole thing. In many places geography is more important for determining where you buy than ather considerations.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 10:17 AM on December 3, 2004


I love the idea that people who think the DHS Terror Alert Color-Code system is too simplistic will lap up anything that designates "red" and "blue" states.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 10:17 AM on December 3, 2004


I'm a little surprised that nobody has commented so far in this thread on how bad it is to have a system where corporations fund both major political parties (and do everything to ensure that there are only two), both of which in turn cooperate to make policies that help those corporations out. Maybe this is too obvious to comment on. Looks to me, though, like it renders this whole enterprise trivial... As if its guaranteed failure to have any practical consequences weren't enough.
posted by paul! at 10:18 AM on December 3, 2004


jonmc, good to see you've got Trader's Joe figured it out. I always thought there was something fishy about them. There's all this talk of "natural" and "purity" and "fresh" and wood is everywhere. I also caught a whiff of socialism. (Some of their products include catch phrases like "responsible globalization.") I'm going to call them and let them know the jig is up.

I don't see why so many people disagree with this or are calling it stupid. Just a few months ago, during the election hysteria, I bet this idea would've caught on like wildfire.

What bothers me about this isn't its "polarizing" nature. (I guarantee you, many people already engage in this by shopping only at businesses that heavily promote God/Country/Family. Witness the rise of "Christian" banks across the country.) But it'll be one more sphere of life politics (i.e. politicians) will invade and polute. And that's sad.
posted by nixerman at 10:19 AM on December 3, 2004


Ahh, okay. No Toady Affairs then?

That's cool, I've got a day job. What's the fallacy then, quonsar? That states are more varying shades of purple than clearcut blue or red? That the colors should have been mauve and burnt seina?

Companies make political donations, why would I wish to support a company that supports candidates who want to remove more of my rights?

Do you have a better solution to intelligently spending your money? I'm all ears. And eyes.

SteveinMaine, that's a good link. I learned some more about the company and plan to keep shopping there.

As an aside, I'd like to see a commercial like those ridiculous Buy Drugs = Supporting Terrorism commercials but for WalMart and the Republican party.
posted by fenriq at 10:20 AM on December 3, 2004


when it came to their employees they were as cutthroat as any other mega-corp. That's what bugs me.

ah, well that does make sense I do know exactly what you're talking about. I've also worked at a place like that. The funny thing about it is it tend to breed even more bitter employees them normal, with the exception of those few that actually buy into the internal hype.
posted by chaz at 10:21 AM on December 3, 2004


fenriq: I did a quick search at opensecrets.org, and found that Target Corp.'s CEO has given to Republicans all over the country, and only Dems. in Minnesota. Meanwhile, he's given to Black America's PAC, which has given money to figures that are hugely popular in the black community, among them Katherine Harris. Please.
posted by raysmj at 10:21 AM on December 3, 2004


I think mathowie says it best.

I don't have much of an option where to shop, rural alabama has one store, Wal-Mart

is shopping online blue, or red?
posted by kamylyon at 10:22 AM on December 3, 2004


Crash, because the terror alert system has hidden mechanisms controlling it and most people assume its just a political tool to keep the populance scared.

Red and blue is pretty easy to see, did they support the Democrats or the Republicans? Hmm.

Why is that hard to grasp?

raysmj, thanks for the info, I'll relate it to my informant. Does this mean I have to go to Minnesota to shop at Target?
posted by fenriq at 10:24 AM on December 3, 2004


I don't think this is all that stupid. I mean, in a Capitalist society, we cast very important votes with our wallets every day. I'm not saying there's anything wrong with that, but it's always good to make our decisions conscientiously, and with as much knowledge as possible. I don't think anybody is saying this should be an absolute determining factor in our buying decisions, but it can be one of the many factors in the balancing test we use everytime we put something in our carts at the grocery store. I mean, seriously, do you think that "Blues" are going to stop buying Fruit altogether, and "Reds" are going to go cold turkey on Video Games? Nah. But they might think about it, and how could that be a bad thing?
posted by Iason at 10:30 AM on December 3, 2004


shane, I was using humor and hyperbole to make a point is all. I know you don't care about my habits.

Sorry, crotchity today. Need more granola.
posted by Shane at 10:33 AM on December 3, 2004


Personally, I think it's kind of cool knowing that there's one oil company (Shell) that's maybe just a little more aligned with my beliefs and a little less evil than all of the others. If I know I need gas, I'm going to wait until I drive past a Shell station rather than stop at the first station I run across.

OTOH, supporting any big multinational is probably a bad thing for us little folks no matter what.
posted by ensign_ricky at 10:33 AM on December 3, 2004


My mom voted for Bush, and no matter what you espouse, she is not my enemy.
posted by orange clock at 10:34 AM on December 3, 2004


Thank god I can continue to watch The King of Queens.

It also looks like I'm going to have to start tuning in to Fox News. It's blue!
posted by painquale at 10:40 AM on December 3, 2004


"...most people assume its just a political tool to keep the populance scared.

Red and blue is pretty easy to see, did they support the Democrats or the Republicans? "


Oh, my head hurts.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 10:41 AM on December 3, 2004


Whole Foods

Maybe not all they make themselves out to be. They've opened two stores here in Cambridge, one of megalithic proportions. Cambridge also has one small, employee- and customer-owned cooperative that has been threatened by these stores, and, if I recall correctly, has had to fight against active sabotage by this national chain. My overall impression, then, of Whole Foods has been that it's one of those businesses that "acts global, plays at local".

Trader Joes

Would like them much better if they didn't use so much freakin' plastic packaging on their produce.
posted by arakasi at 10:44 AM on December 3, 2004


Wal-Mart Country vs. Starbucks Nation

From political theory daily review
posted by y2karl at 10:45 AM on December 3, 2004


also, to boycott on the basis of political contributions is certainly less stupid -- and less childish -- than deciding to boycott on the basis of national origin -- like that nice Freedom Fries anti-French boycott.

It is *exactly* as stupid and childish because the two are practically the same - politically motivated boycotts that accomplish absolutely nothing.

*goes back to his red and blue rock-em sock-em robots*
posted by Krrrlson at 10:47 AM on December 3, 2004


because the terror alert system has hidden mechanisms controlling it and most people MetaFilter members assume its just a political tool to keep the populance scared.

Most people assume it's a well-intentioned, albeit ineffectual, effort to appear to be doing something proactive.
posted by pardonyou? at 10:51 AM on December 3, 2004


Metafilter: This is so completely stupid.
posted by semmi at 10:53 AM on December 3, 2004


What's the fallacy then, quonsar? That states are more varying shades of purple than clearcut blue or red? That the colors should have been mauve and burnt seina?

no, smartass. the fallacy is presenting a continuum as if it were actually two distinct points. sorry i brought it up. go back to playing with your crayons.
posted by quonsar at 10:53 AM on December 3, 2004


Hey, but we blue supporters can still smoke Swisher Sweets!
posted by Rashomon at 10:57 AM on December 3, 2004


Personally, I think people should just save their goddam money, because they're going to need it. I don't think any of this information does any harm, and allows someone who didn't want to do the research themselves to act on it (trusting people, anyway).

oh, and Trader Joes rocks.
posted by Busithoth at 10:57 AM on December 3, 2004


It is *exactly* as stupid and childish because the two are practically the same - politically motivated boycotts that accomplish absolutely nothing.


Do you really not see the difference between boycotting based on nationality and ideology?
posted by ludwig_van at 10:58 AM on December 3, 2004


How did I present a continuum as a two distinct points. Should I have qualified it with "historically" and "forecasts for the future" and happy slappy shit like that to please you?

From the FAQ:
"All numbers used on this site pertain to the 2003-2004 election cycle and were taken from information in the public domain, including data from the Federal Election Commission records (FEC.gov) and the Center for Responsible Politics. Please go to their website at www.opensecrets.org to read their sourcing information. Any comments or corrections should be sent to webmaster@choosetheblue.com."

I will assume that you'll be sending off some snippy emails presently.

Pissing on the messenger doesn't really do much to refute the message, does it? It just makes the messenger wet, smelly and cold and I'm kind of used to that by now.
posted by fenriq at 10:59 AM on December 3, 2004


Red and blue is pretty easy to see, did they support the Democrats or the Republicans? Hmm. Why is that hard to grasp?

*falls out of chair, laughing hysterically until eventually the guffaws subside into a mournful weeping*
posted by quonsar at 11:00 AM on December 3, 2004


Democrats should definitely be getting their driver's licenses renewed. The nation's largest donor, the American Federation of State and Municipal Employees gives 98% of their money to Democrats.

They should not buy houses. The National Association of Realtors gives 52% of their money to Republicans.

This is fun!

Next question. Should Democrats go to doctors or to lawyers? You might be surprised! Answer in a few more posts...
posted by blahblahblah at 11:01 AM on December 3, 2004


Speaking of Toadies, isn't it interesting that the negative pile-on doesn't really start until Our Dear Leader has turned his thumb down on this post? The Red and the Blue don't really work for me, but using economic pressure (boycots) may be one of the few ways many of us have to ex[ress ourselves politically.
posted by Hobgoblin at 11:02 AM on December 3, 2004


mr_crash_davis, I don't see your point at all. How on earth is this related to the terror alert system at all? The use of primary colors?

As for comparing this to the "anti-French" boycott it's not quite the same thing. The problem with the "anti-French" boycott was not necessarily its simplistic nature but its nationalistic tone (IMO).

I don't see anything wrong with people making more informed decisions about where they shop. People making more informed decisions is pretty much always a good thing in my book.

Still, it's sad to see the sphere of politics expanding like this.
posted by nixerman at 11:03 AM on December 3, 2004


look fenriq, the election was approximately 51 to 48. yeah, it was a bit wider here, and a bit narrower there, but all in all it averaged around 51 to 48. now: i have one room (a state) and there are 99 people in it, and 51 of them voted for X. just for the pure fuck of it, i'm going to ignore 48 of those people and declare the entire room to be an "X" room. yeah fenriq, that methodology sure tells me something useful, huh? i can safely just ignore the 48 people who aren't X, right? just because they happenned to be in a room where 3 more people voted X than didn't, that makes the entire room an "X" room. tell me fenriq, what is the reliability of X being true in that room? after all, it's clearly an "X" room, right?!?!?
posted by quonsar at 11:08 AM on December 3, 2004


The point, nixerman, if I even had one, is that Metafilter has usually been quick to piss all over the alert code as simple and stupid - yet anything that divides 'red' and 'blue' states is fawned over as wondrous.

Now, if y'all need me again I'll be over in the corner crying with quonsar.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 11:12 AM on December 3, 2004


Hobgoblin, you don't mean to insinuate that there are some bootlickers in the ranks, do you? That would be unkind and this is a community based on mutual respect and comradery.

quonsar, when the tears stop, I really would like a reasonable coherent explanation of why you find all of this laughable? Unless its just the laughing gas, in which case, pass the mask!

On Preview: Thanks for the clarification. But this post isn't about states, its about companies and specifically about which party they supported with their donations. And you are right, not all Reds are Red and not all Blues are Blue?

What's wrong with considering political affiliation when shopping? Why support your opponents anymore than they are already are?

I agree that calling states red and blue isn't accurate but it IS how our electoral system works. Maybe you should take it up with the folks that made the system?
posted by fenriq at 11:15 AM on December 3, 2004


The answer:

Democrats better not get sick, or if they do, they better not use accredited doctors. The AMA gave 77% of its donations to Republicans

On the plus side, they can sue all they want. The Association of Trial Lawyers gave a stunning 92% to the Democrats.

Is anyone seeing why the logic of making organizations "accountable for their donations" based on supposed political preference is sort of silly? I mean, okay, take a stand against a company that donates huge amounts to anti-abortion efforts, or (if this is your preference) boycott a company that allows equal benefits to gay couples -- those are at least company policies. Political donations are hardly being made on moral grounds, however.
posted by blahblahblah at 11:17 AM on December 3, 2004


Crash, let me say this again.

The POST ISN'T ABOUT RED AND BLUE STATES. It's about companies that support Republican or Democratic interests. There's a pretty important difference that some folks are just refusing to see.

You and quonsar and others are hung up on the red and blue state crap. But this isn't about states at all.

Unless you're making some argument for the rise of the corporate city-state and I just don't see that anywhere in your comments.
posted by fenriq at 11:17 AM on December 3, 2004


Pissing on the messenger doesn't really do much to refute the message, does it?

my point is, you aren't a messenger! you are a parrot! you are repeating a fallacious idea, and by framing your post in that fallacious idea, you are supporting the spread of that fallacious idea. which is exactly what your opponents want. they WANT you to see this nation as strictly and distinctly divided, and they want you to think geography, rather than ideas, determine the political attitudes of the citizenry. it suits them just fine to have you running around with that fucking phony map, a "sea of red between two slivers of blue" in your head. as for all your supporting references, i get it! you aren't the only one being duped! so?
posted by quonsar at 11:19 AM on December 3, 2004


Hobgoblin, you don't mean to insinuate that there are some bootlickers in the ranks, do you?

Sweet lord, fenriq, maybe you shouldn't have had that second bowl of Paranoia Flakes this morning. Yes, there's a whole cabal of matt bootlickers and tonight we're all having a meeting about how we can further oppress you.
posted by jonmc at 11:20 AM on December 3, 2004


and it's really pretty ludicrous for you to stand here and say it isn't about precisely what you said it was about. read your post again, son!
posted by quonsar at 11:21 AM on December 3, 2004


Funny how I'm not in the least surprised that CostCo treates their employees like human beings, and they support the Democratic Party, while Slave*Mart supports Republicans.
posted by Space Coyote at 11:25 AM on December 3, 2004


just an aside, fenriq - interesting link, and i'm not trashing your FPP, or the idea of voting with your wallet. i'm trying to get you to see that adopting the red/blue framework is not only stupid and simplistic, it's WHAT THEY WANT.
posted by quonsar at 11:27 AM on December 3, 2004


It is *exactly* as stupid and childish because the two are practically the same - politically motivated boycotts that accomplish absolutely nothing.

For the last ten years, I haven't bought products from companies that test on animals.

It has accomplished something: for ten years I haven't bought products that test on animals.

I don't really give three-fifths of a fuck what that means to you. It means everything to me.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 11:27 AM on December 3, 2004


What are people upset about here? That the left has organized, vocal extremists willing to attack with their pocketbooks?

Anyone on the blue side of the line should be cheering these guys on. Organized, vocal extremists willing to attack with their pocketbooks have resulted in a radical right wing take over of every major office in the country, and most minor ones too.

Maybe you've been reading the news lately?
'ethical-governance' CalPERS chief taken out by Republican strategists
How the Republicans remade K Street


To suggest "well, there is no line, it's all a spectrum, really," is to ignore the soldiers stepping on your throat.

Fight, goddammit. Tooth and nail. For every inch of what's left.
posted by felix at 11:29 AM on December 3, 2004


quonsar, again, you and crash seem to think this is about red and blue STATES when its about corporations.

Not a messenger? Okay. A parrot? Nah, they have no concept of what they're saying. I do and will continue to stand by my statements and beliefs. You are free to shop at WalMart, you're free to do whatever you want with your money but don't think for a moment that you're aspersions and rolled eyes have done a thing to persuade me in the least (I know you care loads about that!).

You don't buy it? Don't buy it but being snide and condescending to me because I do believe it and thought it interesting enough to post here is pointless. Again, not that you care in the least.

I reread the original post, did you take my comment about Target being in Minnesota as some stretchy version of the infamous red/blue map? That's the only mention of a state I can find in the FPP.

Are you intentionally not getting it or do you really and truly not get that this isn't at all about red and blue states?

And On Preview: Damn you, quonsar. Damn you straight to Wal-Macht!

And jonmc, I was being facetious.
posted by fenriq at 11:30 AM on December 3, 2004


felix's post sounds better if you play "Battle Hymn Of The Republic" behind it.
posted by jonmc at 11:31 AM on December 3, 2004


i'm not suggesting we don't fight, felix, i'm suggesting we use our own terrain reconnaisance and forward observers, and burn the map the enemy "accidentally" left behind.
posted by quonsar at 11:33 AM on December 3, 2004


fenriq, 50% of the text of your post consisted of the words red and blue. states, carrots, popsicles, whatever. the terms red and blue derive directly from that stupid election results map, and by adopting the nomenclature you validate the idea.
posted by quonsar at 11:35 AM on December 3, 2004


Not surprisingly, IBM is blue.
posted by euphorb at 11:36 AM on December 3, 2004


this is not only idealistic, but completely impractical. take for instance, general foods. so many giant food corporations are owned by "red" companies. myself, i looked at this section first because i certainly buy groceries more often than i buy clothes or video games.

looks like if you want to support "blue" companies, you'd better be prepared to spend a lot of money on overpriced organic food or start eating pastry 24/7. [sara lee was one of the major brands to show up as "blue" - which seemed a bit surprising to me somehow.]
posted by grapefruitmoon at 11:36 AM on December 3, 2004


Just gonna belatedly jump in and also vote for This Is Stupid.
posted by m0nm0n at 11:40 AM on December 3, 2004


I'm with you, quonsar. I think the presentation was bad. Better would have been "shopprogressive.com" or something similar. But let's not bite our own ankles. Every little bit in the right general direction helps.

Along those lines, I humbly present a nugget of actually useful information as penance for my role in continuing the flamewar.

How to help sustain the renewable fishing resource

(background music for this post: cantata in E, for fife and drum)
posted by felix at 11:45 AM on December 3, 2004


sara lee was one of the major brands to show up as "blue" - which seemed a bit surprising to me somehow

[Insert obligatory Michael Moore joke here]
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 11:46 AM on December 3, 2004


Speaking as a furry mythical hominoid with a penchant for omelette, yet a limited exposure to the political realm of the human... This effort smacks of the habitual reflexiveness and arrogance of the unlearned left... feel-good meaningless nonsense.


break time over


resume working in your pundit ammunion factory
posted by breakfast_yeti at 11:47 AM on December 3, 2004


The other problem is that, at least according to the last election, there are more "red" people than "blue" people, and this site tells us (not surprisingly) that there are more "red" companies than "blue" companies. In other words, even to the extent the "colors" tell us anything meaningful about a given person (somewhat doubtful) or a company (very doubtful), encouraging boycotts based on party affiliation will inure to the benefit of "red" businesses (more customers) and "red" customers (more choice).* And, as I suggested above, the net result is we're more divided than ever. Which is nice.

*and don't try to tell me that a boycott by "blues" that got any traction wouldn't be met by an equivalent boycott by "reds"
posted by pardonyou? at 11:50 AM on December 3, 2004


Great link. I'll be getting my gas at the corner Shell from now on, instead of the AM/PM, even though the Shell is a few cents more per gallon. I already shop at Costco and avoid Wal-Mart for the same reason. How you spend your money has an incremental effect on the world around you. Surprising to me how many people are unable (or unwilling) to perceive the obvious.
posted by Manjusri at 11:51 AM on December 3, 2004


i'm really tired of people painting PERSONAL DECISIONS as "dividing the nation". jesus christ, if i only get fast food from arby's from now on, that's not "alienating the south" or any of that bullshit. it's voting with my dollars. and it shouldn't affect ANYONE but the companies i give my money to.

of course, i'd also like to see a rubric that crossed "blue donators" with green companies. i don't see what's so different about this than boycotting companies that support pollution or other bad environmental practices. these companies gave money directly to a group who will continue the rollback of environmental regulations and i consider that JUST AS BAD.

i'm continually surprised how many people still think boycotts are an unconventional form of political participation. it's considered very unconventional in public opinion polls, and i didn't quite believe those polls until i got here and saw everyone piling on as if anyone who chose to change their buying habits because of ideology is "stupid". this pisses me off. no one here is asking any of you to join. no one here is applying pressure saying "no, if you don't shop at whole foods, you're a horrible person". some people are pleased to see this information and will try to "opt blue" whenever they have a choice. WHAT IS SO WRONG WITH THIS?

now, whether or not boycotting is actually effective is an entirely different matter.
posted by pikachulolita at 11:52 AM on December 3, 2004


Shopping based on ideology is no different than shopping based on economics and preference.

I haven't bought, or allowed anyone else in my presence to buy a Dominos pizza in 15 years because of the CEOs pro-life stance.

I take a lot of crap for being a Sam's Club member, instead of Costco. When Costco starts selling tenderloin at $8.98 lb, I'll switch.

I fly on Northwest airlines even though I prefer Continental because NWA is a huge employer in Minnesota.

I shop at Target, not because the prices are better (they are much higher than both Big K and WalMart), but because they are local and I know literally hundreds of people that are or have been employed by Target.

I don't go to McCormick & Schmicks because the bartenders suck.

I go to Chino Latinos because the bartenders know my name, know my drink, and give good conversation.

I shop at the local hardware store for small items because it's an independent locally owned business.

I shop at Home Depot for more expensive items, i.e. when I built a fence because it's cheaper and the tree in my backyard is maple, not money.

And, if I chose my clients based on their political affilittions, I'd never work.

I guess what I'm saying is that we all have to right to choose to whom we will give our money. Whether that choice is based on political leanings, ideology, convenience, or economics. No one should be put down because they support one business over another based on any of these reasons.
posted by Juicylicious at 11:55 AM on December 3, 2004


Alright, we get that a lot of you think this is naive, stupid, infantile, childish, juvenile, and ridiculous. If you want to just shrug your hipster shoulders, tell us you don't give a crap and get on with your life, then fine. Go for it. More power to you. But, the rest of us are tired of seeing this country sliding towards a laisez-faire theocracy and are tired of being the ones that are paying for it, in more ways than one.
posted by euphorb at 11:58 AM on December 3, 2004


I would encourage people to think about what kinds of businesses they want to support. I don't boycott Republican businesses, because I would hate to see a Dem driven out of business by the other side. Still I would never shop at walmart because they treat their staff brutally. I don't shop at stores with annoying advertising, and I never, every buy anything over the phone. Ever.

WHen I was 30 I stopped going to any business that made their employees wear a uniform I wouldn't wear, or forced to perform humiliating tasks, like stewardesses having to sing at South West. When I turned thirty-five, I limited my choices even farther. I have to say, avoiding nasty businesses reduces my stress, and hasn't cost me that much money.
posted by gesamtkunstwerk at 12:02 PM on December 3, 2004


Of course it's more complicated than just donations to Dems or Repubs, but it's a good start. People are very interested in supporting companies that don't hurt us, financially, legally, or otherwise, etc...and money talks--loudly.

Voting with our wallets is what we all do--certainly more than voting, unfortunately.
posted by amberglow at 12:05 PM on December 3, 2004


jonmc: part-timers at Trader Joe's start out at $8-$12 an hour, depending on the location. First-year supervisors get $40,000 a year. Just sayin. If you've got info to back up your minimum-wage claims, I'd love to hear them.
posted by 4easypayments at 12:12 PM on December 3, 2004


Well, vote with the wallet and the world will change?

I guess I don't see it. Let's say your couple dollars here and there actually make the slightest difference in a company's ability to make money... and this changes the ideology of your Bush-voting neighbors... how? Maybe I'm just stupid, someone can spell it out for me if they want.
posted by Tikirific at 12:15 PM on December 3, 2004


OK, so maybe I'm wrong about Trader Joe's politics. I still don't trust a supermarket that dosen't sell Scooter Pies and Spam.

My overriding idea about corporations like Whole Foods and others presenting a "progressive" image but behaving otherwise still stands.
posted by jonmc at 12:17 PM on December 3, 2004


I go to Chino Latinos because the bartenders know my name,

well, they sound nice, but "Juicylicious" is pretty easy to remember, isn't it
posted by matteo at 12:23 PM on December 3, 2004


My problem looking at these numbers is I don't know the whys or the whos. Is signing that campaign contribution check just a routine event now? Is next election's contribution amount already a line item in the budget, nevermind we don't know who the final candidates will be nor their issues?

If it's that sort of blind mentality, I'd just as soon boycott the corporation, regardless if they're red or blue.

And how much of this is for local candidates and how much national? As someone who resists party affiliation, I can tell you my local/national voting record is not unanimously in one political camp.

Just looking at the percentages makes me wonder the whys on everything. The disclaimer on the site states that "totals are based on donations from PACs, employees, subsidiaries and affiliates". For those close margins, how much money came from a few rich CEOs and how much from employees pooling together their money?

Questions, questions. I'd like to see some cross-references into who is making these contribution decisions and why. I know we can't get such background on everyone, but some of it must be public.
posted by Sangre Azul at 12:23 PM on December 3, 2004


and this changes the ideology of your Bush-voting neighbors... how? Maybe I'm just stupid, someone can spell it out for me if they want.

For me, it's not so much that I'll make an economic impact, but that I can feel good about myself and the decisions that I've made.
posted by Juicylicious at 12:27 PM on December 3, 2004


I think it's a great idea.

Let's say your couple dollars here and there actually make the slightest difference in a company's ability to make money... and this changes the ideology of your Bush-voting neighbors... how? Maybe I'm just stupid, someone can spell it out for me if they want.

I think you're missing something. from the choosetheblue.com:

If each American who voted for John Kerry spends $100 in 2005 on a Blue company instead of a Red company, we can move $5 Billion away from Republican companies and add $5 Billion to the income of companies who donate to Democrats.

(a couple dollars) x (lots of folks) = lots of dollars the GOP spin machine won't have to support their media stranglehold.
posted by mcsweetie at 12:29 PM on December 3, 2004


For me, it's not so much that I'll make an economic impact, but that I can feel good about myself and the decisions that I've made.

No offense, juicylicious, but that's not politics, that's therapy.
posted by jonmc at 12:31 PM on December 3, 2004


(And forgive me if I don't fully understand fully how campaign contributions work. Being unaffiliated, I'm not as involved in this sort of thing.)
posted by Sangre Azul at 12:31 PM on December 3, 2004


I guess I don't see it. Let's say your couple dollars here and there actually make the slightest difference in a company's ability to make money... and this changes the ideology of your Bush-voting neighbors... how? Maybe I'm just stupid, someone can spell it out for me if they want.

This is not at all about changing other people's ideology--it's about not giving money to companies that act in ways you don't like. Right now, the right is boycotting Target because Target told the Salvation Army (a very rightwing, antigay org.) they couldn't station themselves in front of their stores anymore. They're perfectly within their rights not to give money to companies that act in ways they don't like, and so are the rest of us. The right knows that these actions and choices work--it's time we learned that too.
posted by amberglow at 12:33 PM on December 3, 2004


jesus, jonmc, what is so "therapeutic" about knowing that you're supporting businesses who share your politics? how is that NOT political? what is so goddamn offensive to you about people choosing to spend their money at "progressive" establishments? you really come off as having a vendetta against ANYONE who buys organic food, much less shops at certain places because they agree with the company's politics.
posted by pikachulolita at 12:34 PM on December 3, 2004


oh, and please shop at Target this holiday season. : >
posted by amberglow at 12:35 PM on December 3, 2004


I had a friend who used to say that she was willing to spend more money to buy from a store or person she liked, because "She was happy to give them money."

I think that's all the "boycotters" are talking about here -- not driving all Republican contributors out of business, but simply being aware of who you're giving money to, what they're going to do with that money, and whether you're happy contributing to that cause. Again, NOT because your contribution makes a huge difference to *their* bottom line, but because it's nice to feel like you're supporting your own community and causes when you give money.
posted by occhiblu at 12:35 PM on December 3, 2004


No offense, juicylicious, but that's not politics, that's therapy.

Oh please jon. I'm not suggesting that you or anyone else mimic my spending habits (if I did, you'd be dressed a bit snappier), but we all make dozens of decisions daily based on what makes us feel good. When you buy one brand of cereal over another, is that therapy? When you buy one kind of beer over another, is that therapy? The list goes on.... If so, our entire lives are therapy and my therapist wouldn't be too happy (not that I have one, but if I did).
posted by Juicylicious at 12:38 PM on December 3, 2004


And jon, you do it too, each time you patronize a regular bar instead of a martini place or chichi lounge. We all do it, and this just lets us know where the money goes so we can make more informed choices.
posted by amberglow at 12:41 PM on December 3, 2004


When you buy one brand of cereal over another, is that therapy? When you buy one kind of beer over another, is that therapy?

There's a difference between "feeling good" is the sense that I enjoy the taste of the beer or cereal and feeling good in the sense that my decision is boosting my self-esteem because I think I'm making the world better. Which is what the wording of your post seemed to imply.

you really come off as having a vendetta against ANYONE who buys organic food, much less shops at certain places because they agree with the company's politics.

no, my vendetta is against people who do so and feel the need to constantly toot their own horn about it and/or imply tht everyone who dosen't go along is somehow "the enemy."

And jon, you do it too, each time you patronize a regular bar instead of a martini place or chichi lounge.

Not really. I choose a bar based on factors like atmosphere, price and what kinda beer they serve. I could give a rat's ass who the owner voted for.
posted by jonmc at 12:48 PM on December 3, 2004


no, my vendetta is against people who do so and feel the need to constantly toot their own horn about it and/or imply tht everyone who dosen't go along is somehow "the enemy."

can you show me where anyone said that?

they may have said that those companies are "the enemy", but i do not believe anyone called people who didn't shop at progressive stores any mean names.
posted by pikachulolita at 1:00 PM on December 3, 2004


jonmc, you're right about people who constantly toot their own horn. Sometimes they get to me too.

Your argument, unfortunately, doesn't make much sense. Supporting companies that support your political party isn't such a large step from supporting your political party directly. There is no leap of logic here.

(Unless you're arguing that supporting political parties, in general, is "therapy." In which case I might even agree with you. As the saying goes, if voting actually changed anything they wouldn't let you do it.)
posted by nixerman at 1:02 PM on December 3, 2004


Domino's Pizza and Curves Fitness donate lots of profits to pro-life organizations, and I'm glad that I know that--I don't want my money ending up supporting those ideas.

Well, good news then -- once you give them money, it's not yours anymore!

This is the argument I heard at church when I was a kid that you shouldn't buy rock 'n' roll records because you will support the decadent lifestyles of the artists. That was bullshit then and it's bullshit now.
posted by kindall at 1:02 PM on December 3, 2004


pikachulolita: The NASCAR dad segment of the republican ideology only works if there are threatening scarecrows and phantoms at which the aggrieved proles may rail.
posted by felix at 1:06 PM on December 3, 2004


can you show me where anyone said that?

it's implied. when they promote their choice as "progressive" and "conscious," the obvious deduction is that they believe that people who do otherwise are regressive and unconcious.

Not to mention, how far do you want to take the whole thing? Am I supposed to investigate every corner store in my city before buying a pack of cigarettes? Everybody and every company is guilty of something, me and you included. Making some gigantic spreadsheet dictating how we should feel about it is kind of a pain in the ass.

The NASCAR dad segment of the republican ideology only works if there are threatening scarecrows and phantoms at which the aggrieved proles may rail.

felix, does the thin air up there on the mountain top ever get to you?
posted by jonmc at 1:08 PM on December 3, 2004


Basing your shopping strictly on political donations is silly. There are other relevant issues.

Knowing which company donates to which political parties and/or causes is always interesting and sometimes useful. I like to know who bought my elected officials.
posted by QIbHom at 1:10 PM on December 3, 2004


oh jon, there is absolutely nothing "progressive" and "conscious" about choosing a bar based on service. I, in no way implied that there was. Nor is it "implied" in choosing to shop at Sam's Club because I can get tenderloin at a super-good price.

Really, stop it with the broad, inaccurate, sweeping statements.

Or, were you only referring to the "political" based comments?
posted by Juicylicious at 1:15 PM on December 3, 2004


No offense, juicylicious, but that's not politics, that's therapy.

jon, let's put in term that you can grasp more easily: if you go to a bar and the bartenders there are extremely rude, do you keep going there, if you have an alternative? I guess not, you choose not to go.
same thing -- if you don't like a business for whatever reason (because of union-busting, because the CEO is a Republican/Democrat/Atheist/Fundy, because of the staff's rudeness, because blacks/Jews/Arabs work there and you don't like blacks/Jews/Arabs) you perfectly have a right not to support them with your money. it's not therapy, it's basic common sense. jon.
posted by matteo at 1:16 PM on December 3, 2004


felix: i'm not entirely clear on what comment you're referring to. do you mean that calling those companies "the enemy" (which i didn't do and think is actually pretty silly) is distracting leftists from railing against the things that actually need railing against? i would probably agree with you there. if that's not what you mean, i probably need a little more context to get your gist.

jonmc: it's implied. when they promote their choice as "progressive" and "conscious," the obvious deduction is that they believe that people who do otherwise are regressive and unconcious.

see, this is where i stop understanding where you're coming from. i don't think that's implied at all when people make those choices. "progressive" is not a value-loaded term in my mind; progressive is a political term used to describe people who make their choices based on future livability and human rights compliance. just because "progressive" happens to be a positive term doesn't mean that everyone who is "progressive" looks down on and hates everyone who isn't.

i don't mean to sound in any way condescending, but every time in my life i think people are looking down on me for not making the same choices they make (vegans, for example; i eat meat and i like meat and i choose not to stop eating it), i find that it's my guilty conscience dictating a negative reaction. i have this reaction even to vegans who don't say "oh, you really shouldn't eat meat" or anything - the ones who just go about their merry vegan ways - and the reason i have this reaction is because i feel guilty about eating meat because i know it's not right. however, i still choose to eat it. just the same way i choose to smoke cigarettes. and when i see those TRUTH commercials on tv, i usually go smoke a cigarette, just for them. but again - that reaction is based on my own guilty conscience. i know i shouldn't be smoking and i know they're right, and the fact that they point that out to me somehow pisses me off.

so i think i recognize the reaction you're having to people making "conscious" choices, and i understand that feeling of thinking you're being "looked down on", but that doesn't mean that that's the intent behind the people making those choices. their intent is certainly not to look down on you, and whether you infer that from their actions is, in my experience, a good indicator of a guilty conscience. i also have a guilty conscience. everyone does. we're all complicit.
posted by pikachulolita at 1:20 PM on December 3, 2004


Trader Joe's fucking annoys me. It's a place where yuppies can go buy dophin safe tuna and free trade coffee and feel all exalted and holier than thou

I know... it's unimaginable that anyone would shop there because the products and prices are good. And if they do select products based on their environmental or social impact, it's only to grate on YOU, jonmc.

Get over your hippie envy and you might even learn to enjoy some of the goodness TJs has to offer. You remind me of all the people I've ever spoken to who firmly believe that I go to Burning Man specifically to make them feel boring and mainstream.

Surprise: I don't fucking care how they feel, or what you think of my groceries! The hummus is good, man. Period. But stick with your Cap'n Crunch if it makes you feel unpretentious. That's your business.
posted by scarabic at 1:24 PM on December 3, 2004


Or, were you only referring to the "political" based comments?

Yes. The rest was just about expressing personal prefences. And matteo, I never said people didn't have a right to do whatever they want. Again, it's just the preciousness of the whole enterprise: the idea that some third world worker will sleep more soundly tonight because some American consumer decided not to go to starbucks. Thus it becomes about making the consumer feel better about himself. That's what I meant by calling it "therapy."

It also starts to seem vaguely weird to me, like someone's handing me a rulebook: "These are the party-approved breakfast cereals, these are the party approved cigarrettes, lunchmeat, etc,"

Get over your hippie envy and you might even learn to enjoy some of the goodness TJs has to offer.

I have no hippie envy. I've been there, done that. I've actually had food from Trader Joe's, some of it was good. If it makes you feel better to ignore the substance of what I'm trying to communicate to do armchair psychoanalysis, that's your prerogative.
posted by jonmc at 1:30 PM on December 3, 2004


i think it's safe to say that target is dem - if not even handed with its contributions... after all it was founded by a brother of us senator mark dayton (the minnesota senator we are actually proud of - unlike the scum bag)
posted by specialk420 at 1:31 PM on December 3, 2004


MetaFilter: Nomenclature adoption validates the idea.

So discussing it validates it? That's a pretty big leap. Does that mean we can't discuss being anti-puppy stomping because it validates puppy stomping?

The election came down to Republicans and Democrats. I'll call them R's and D's if you like, it doesn't matter. Choose the Blue is an information site, it lets you know where companies spend their money. If you don't want to consider where your money goes then you're free to do so.

I truly had no idea that people would feel so strongly against this, MetaFilter continues to amaze me.
posted by fenriq at 1:35 PM on December 3, 2004


Scarabic: The hummus is good, man. Period.

Not to bag on TJ's, which I love, but their hummus is nasty compared to homemade. And homemade hummus is easy as pie...
1 can garbanzos
3 tbsp tahini
1/2 cup lemon juice
1 clove garlic
salt
1/2 tsp cumin
1/4 cup water
parsley
olive oil until the consistency is how you like it

put all in a blender and add oil until its as you like it.

mmmm, good.
posted by H. Roark at 1:37 PM on December 3, 2004


addendum to scarabic's Trader Joe's rant: Two-buck Chuck by the case. 'Nuff said.

150+ comments so far and mathowie's just sticks out like a sore thumb.
posted by quasistoic at 1:40 PM on December 3, 2004


I think Dayton Hudson was founded by an ancestor of Mark Dayton's, not a brother.

But you're right about Norm Coleman being a scumbag.
posted by COBRA! at 1:42 PM on December 3, 2004


jon, I'm just a little bewildered by your premise that considering the social/environmental impact of products one buys is pure masturbation. The money goes somewhere. Industry has an impact. You can't bring about world peace by changing coffee brands, true. But small differences matter too.

I agree that the "green marketing" is overdone, and that people can be lulled into a sense of zen just because they buy the "green" toothpaste. This thinking needs to be challenged, deepened, complicated with more facts. But why attack the instinct to do better, buy better, think before buying?

People in the 80s used to go to sleep soundly just because they recycled. People are now starting to apply purchasing power toward cleaner cars, more sustainable foods, companies with better business practices... it isn't going to overturn the status quo tomorrow, but what's wrong with the impulse? Why piss on it?

(I make my own all the time, H. Roark - my recipe looks much like yours, except I add sesame oil and tamari, too, and more tahini. I agree homemade's better than TJs. But TJs is better than the other store-bought brands in my area by far).
posted by scarabic at 1:44 PM on December 3, 2004


Yeah, I don't really get some of the responses here. "They're trying to encourage personal political action! Let's mock them!"

Even if this boycott site is a little misguided (and I believe it probably is), isn't apathy a huge problem with the current political process? How does calling people 'stupid' encourage them to get involved and care about things?
posted by jess at 1:48 PM on December 3, 2004


Funny, that, johnmc -- I choose a bar based on factors like atmospohere, price and what kinda beer they serve. Oh, AND who the owner gave money to.

Point of fact: I love eating at a certain restaurant in New York, because the sauces are terrific, and my grandfather-in-law is a part owner. This Thanksgiving, we stopped in and on the way out, saw a picture on the wall of GWB and wife with an autograph referring to another (primary) owner by name, thanking him for his contribution.

Now, will I stop eating there? Nope, I really like them, and the food. The thing is, I'll enjoy my meal significantly less knowing that they contributed to his campaign. In this case, the service, people and food more than make up for it.

On the other hand, other industries (such as big box stores where I buy my cleaning supplies) have few differentiators, other than price, hours, location, and checkout line length. So, in cases like this, the owner's proclivity towards financial support of a given political campaign might be enough to tip me over the edge and encourage me to shop somewhere else. The website in question can help me make that decision, so it's a good thing.

I won't argue with your complaint about the horn-tooting and making opposing viewpoints "the enemy", of course, because that's generally a bad thing no matter what side it comes from, and it does come from all (notice I didn't say "both") sides. And yes, saying "I don't make judgements based on that sort of thing" counts as horn-tooting, too.
posted by davejay at 1:50 PM on December 3, 2004


How does calling people 'stupid' encourage them to get involved and care about things?


These people are already involved. The trick is to not to look completely asinine to regular day-to-day folks who will swing the votes in your favor. Which is why the people currently involved, in my opinion, keep on losing.
posted by Stan Chin at 1:53 PM on December 3, 2004


For me, it's not so much that I'll make an economic impact, but that I can feel good about myself and the decisions that I've made.

Oh no, I think that's fine.

This is not at all about changing other people's ideology--it's about not giving money to companies that act in ways you don't like.

And that, to me, is perfectly acceptable too.

(a couple dollars) x (lots of folks) = lots of dollars the GOP spin machine won't have to support their media stranglehold.

This, I'm not so sure about. It proposes to use your buying power to divert funds that would otherwise go to the GOP. Which is a nice idea, but I'm doubtful that such a massive diversion of funds is even possible (just the thought of having to dissect what product comes from which parent company boggles the mind - not to mention, when buying things like automobiles, where each part is made, where the seat covers are manufactured, who provides raw materials, the power, the water, etc., etc.).

More importantly, I think that 51% of the country violently disagrees with me - not because the GOP raises more funds, but because the 48% and 51% differ on some key issues. They've devolved to pigeonholing each other as opposites, despite being quite similar (and if you want to feel dirty being compared to Republicans, that's part of the problem). I think whatever monetary damage you may do to the Republican Party is offset by the fact that you fail to affect the minds of those people whose votes will facilitate the changes that are needed for this country.

I'd certainly boycott Walmart because they treat their employees badly, but I certainly don't see it as a way to enact political change...

On Preview:
fenriq: For me it's not that I feel so strongly about other people doing what they want with their money. In fact, I'd do it myself out of principle. But "Choose the Blue" as a political tool? To somehow throw off the conservative hegemony? You can't do that unless you effect changes on the voter level, and choosing blue just doesn't seem to do that, in my opinion.

On Second Preview:
I do like what scarabic says.
posted by Tikirific at 1:53 PM on December 3, 2004


pikachulolita: you had asked why jonmc had made up out of whole cloth this bogeyman group that defines "The Enemy" as people who don't strictly adhere to their reductionist policies.

The answer: he has to. Because without a flapping, flickering, black-hatted Adversary of sufficient evilness, he'd have to carry too much cognitive dissonance.

This is why one of the most lauded economists of our time is generally referred to as an hysterical feminine communist barking moonbat -- he just has to be the most evil thing ever, otherwise we're all wrong. And since that is an unacceptable conclusion...

This is the same impulse that, of course, puts me as an oxygen-deprived elite on the top of a mountaintop.
posted by felix at 1:54 PM on December 3, 2004


I agree that the "green marketing" is overdone, and that people can be lulled into a sense of zen just because they buy the "green" toothpaste.

OK, then maybe you did get the thrust of what I was getting at.

it isn't going to overturn the status quo tomorrow, but what's wrong with the impulse? Why piss on it?

Nothings wrong with the impulse, and I'm not pissing on it. It's the baggage that comes along with it, and the dogmatic didacticness of many of the mouthier adherents.

This thinking needs to be challenged, deepened, complicated with more facts.

Taht's kind of what I was trying to do with my comments about companies presenting progressive fronts to consumers (in order to make a profit) while still behaving like cutthroats within the corporation, thus reducing a social conscience to something people can purchase. See what I'm saying?

And my Lebanese brother-in-law made hummus for an appetizer on thanksgiving. It wasn't bad, but not my bag. I prefer chevre on my crackers.
posted by jonmc at 1:56 PM on December 3, 2004


well, they sound nice, but "Juicylicious" is pretty easy to remember, isn't it

chino latino is definitely the kind of place one would run into someone with the name "Juicylicious" - :)
posted by specialk420 at 2:00 PM on December 3, 2004


I'm not pissing on it.

Coulda fooled me, but okay.

It's true that every company under the sun now tries to appear "green," and you're right that this needs to be highlighted and penetrated with the facts. I think you're off base by calling TJ's an offender. That's all. They don't even do very much marketing. Their monthly mailer is all about how low their prices are, and how delicious everything is. I'm not seeing the image-spinning with TJs.

FWIW - I have accepted the fact that I'm an earth-raping motherfucker until I stop driving completely and go vegan. People who go out of their way to buy organic produce, but then fill up the cart with meat/milk/eggs are, indeed, deluded hypocrites, whether they think they're holier than me or not. But I think it's ridiculous to give *them* a hard time when other people are loading up on meat/milk/eggs and pesticide-laden GM produce to boot.

That's just kicking the person who's trying.
posted by scarabic at 2:02 PM on December 3, 2004


Tikirific, I see Choose the Blue as a reference site. Its not much beyond a gross indicator but that can be enough to sway my wallet towards or away that store.

I like to shop at places like Trader Joe's and CostCo because I see how they treat their employees, I know people who work there and love it. I also like them because of their products. If TJ's private label goods were crap then no one would buy them. They aren't crap and people do buy them. Choosing where you spend your money isn't stupid at all.

And sorry, quonsar, but the world is, presently, a very much Us and Them place. Bush promised to reach across the divide, he just didn't say that he'd be slapping people instead of shaking their hands.

I'm choosing to support my party in as many ways as I can. Does that mean I'll never go to Home Depot again? Nope, there are things I can get there that I can't get other places nearby. But I'll spend as little as I can there and more at the local independent hardware stores. If it costs a little more to be socially aware then I can live with that.

On Preview: TJ's has a good selection of Chevre, Jonmc, you should check them out while you're in their chomping on your circus peanuts.
posted by fenriq at 2:04 PM on December 3, 2004


Their monthly mailer is all about how low their prices are, and how delicious everything is. I'm not seeing the image-spinning with TJs.

I think it's actually incredibly effective "anti-marketing". People are so sick of slick marketing, that the homemade feel of TJ is appealing. I know after reading it I'm always itching to go there and buy some of their BBQ sauce and cheap wine... but it's too far from my pad at present.

It's definitely not traditional marketing, but it is marketing and I think it's effective. It's image-building, for sure.

I was one of the people who said this was stupid without giving it an explanation. The reason I think it's stupid is that campaign contributions from corporations mostly only tell you what party the corporation thinks is going to server its interests. This could have as little to do with their ideological leanings as the congressman in the district where they want to open a new branch is running unopposed.

If you want to pick where you spend your money based on social/ethical/etc. concerns, that's great. But just because a corporation gave to Republicans doesn't mean that they are Republicans, or have their values. Furthermore, with money deeply entrenched in our system, your choices are going to be a lot more severely constrained by the current election cycle. Whichever party has the power to make rules favorable to corporations is going to get their money.
posted by chaz at 2:14 PM on December 3, 2004


well, that's it, i'm boycotting food because it's all sold by republicans in my town ... does anyone want to mail me care packages of democratic food so i don't starve to death? ... and none of that costco stuff ... they sell bread that's made with wheat that's grown by republican farmers

hypocrites

this is sooooo stupid
posted by pyramid termite at 2:24 PM on December 3, 2004


wow, thanks for that blinding insight, pyramid termite. And by blinding, you do know that I mean blindingly stupid and completely unnecessary, right?

Its a guideline for people who care, you don't so why did you even bother commenting at all. Just to jump on the piss parade? Good for you.
posted by fenriq at 2:27 PM on December 3, 2004


well, that's it, i'm boycotting food because it's all sold by republicans in my town
oh, really? (and there's that zipcode lookup thing too, to see who gave to whom in your area) See how helpful a little information is? Now you won't starve, jerk.
posted by amberglow at 2:30 PM on December 3, 2004


FWIW - I have accepted the fact that I'm an earth-raping motherfucker until I stop driving completely and go vegan. People who go out of their way to buy organic produce, but then fill up the cart with meat/milk/eggs are, indeed, deluded hypocrites, whether they think they're holier than me or not. But I think it's ridiculous to give *them* a hard time when other people are loading up on meat/milk/eggs and pesticide-laden GM produce to boot.

You make a good point -- there is a dangerous amount of "all-or-nothing" thinking that goes on in America, especially when it comes to social conscientiousness. I feel that many people give up on attempting to be socially conscious because there's always some way they could be doing more/doing better. I believe in the power of small steps.
posted by trey at 2:32 PM on December 3, 2004


I'm just glad that I'm morally justified being a Steeler fan. Yes the Steelers that play at Heinz field.
posted by monkeyboy_socal at 2:36 PM on December 3, 2004


just because a corporation gave to Republicans doesn't mean that they are Republicans, or have their values.

Well, sometimes it is simply business interests at work, not social values. But sometimes, you definitely do know that a corporation has certain social values. Journalists have outed Snapple, Coors, and Carls Jr. as right-wing fucks, for example, and I don't give them money as a result. Campaign contributions aren't the only thing to look at, but they're hardly arbitrary or insignificant.

there is a dangerous amount of "all-or-nothing" thinking that goes on in America

Yes, and it goes hand-in-hand with apathy. Like "Why are you doing that? It's not going to change EVERYTHING right NOW. Better to do NOTHING and think about other things." It's as if idealism is on the outs in US culture. How pathetic is that?
posted by scarabic at 2:43 PM on December 3, 2004


Great link. I'll be getting my gas at the corner Shell from now on, instead of the AM/PM, even though the Shell is a few cents more per gallon. I already shop at Costco and avoid Wal-Mart for the same reason. How you spend your money has an incremental effect on the world around you. Surprising to me how many people are unable (or unwilling) to perceive the obvious.

This is another example of where things are not quite that simple. Shell has some very shady dealings in Nigeria for example.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 3:07 PM on December 3, 2004


I think those that would mock us for including our ideals and politics into our daily lives are just envious of our motivation and sense of purpose.

(apologies, in advance, if my comment marginalizes and offends middle america.)
posted by mcsweetie at 3:25 PM on December 3, 2004


envious of our motivation and sense of purpose.

I think I agree, but I would probably rephrase as:

"so settled into apathy that they are annoyed to be reminded that ethical choices exist"

...which, in itself, is a funtion of conscience! Hope is alive!
posted by scarabic at 3:43 PM on December 3, 2004


Q sounds fair and reasonable. Is it ony because I am tired? The only thing interesting to me in the link was the amount of support thrown the replublican way by the meat industry. Frightening. /"Fast Food Nation" reader
posted by Dick Paris at 4:10 PM on December 3, 2004


Shouldn't you simply shop for the best price/value?

Can't employees can shop around for the best work/pay?

Owners can contribute to whatever causes they want, right?

And Wal-Mart has Everything for Much Less than Everybody Else. How again is that wrong?
posted by MarkO at 4:12 PM on December 3, 2004


Wait, which color is good and which is bad? I have to get dressed for a party tonight and do not want to come across as one of them.

This is kinda like the bloods and the crips on a national level.
posted by strangeleftydoublethink at 4:14 PM on December 3, 2004


I would still definitely recommend boycotting TV, BTW.
posted by MarkO at 4:14 PM on December 3, 2004


Marko, this is part of the reason why WalMart is pure evil (self link disclaimer).

Besides WalMart does not, in fact, have everything. They have mountains of shit, they have WalMart censored video tapes, DVDs and music that's been approved. Shopping at WalMart condones censorship and some really pretty ugly business practices.

That said, you (meaning you) can shop however you like. So can I and so can quonsar. If you have no issue with WalMart exploiting their employees and running local businesses into bankruptcy then shop there. They'll never see another dime of mine though.
posted by fenriq at 4:20 PM on December 3, 2004


amberglow ... we were talking about the people who SELL the food, not everybody and their neighbor

fenriq ... i've got another blinding revelation ... part of living in a civilization like ours is that you're going to end up supporting people who do things you don't like WHETHER YOU WANT TO OR NOT ... and unless you're going to live like hippies in the country and grow all your own food, you're going to be supporting the system ... and even then, you'll have to pay taxes on the land, won't you?

christ what a bunch of whiny posers you guys are ... businessmen have always tended to vote and contribute republican ... it's nothing new

and if it's blindingly stupid and completely unnecessary, why haven't you figured it out yet? ... oh, because you're a bunch of elistist idiots in liberal bubble land

not all of us have the luxury of considering the political impact of everything we buy ... not when we're surviving paycheck to paycheck and doing it in smaller cities where we don't have any choice but to shop at the stores of "the enemy" ... more proof that many of the people here don't know jackshit about how we live or what we have to put up with
posted by pyramid termite at 4:49 PM on December 3, 2004


(totally late to the party)

I think the problem is it's so reductive. Sure, as an "all other things being equal" factor, why not. But when you buy something, you're not even close to knowing enough information to make a ceteris paribus decision. So you end up being ridiculously reductive.

So you decide to buy some rice, or a screwdriver, or a microwave at store X. How many different steps were involved in manufacturing and selling that product to you? What do you know about the choices made by all the people involved?

Maybe the people involved in step 342 of bringing this product to you voted for Bush, but they're really nice to their employees, but the boss beats his wife, but he gave money to Save The Whales, but he built his house on an Indian burial ground, but it's a beautiful house, but... Rinse, repeat, for the infinite number of factors involved.

So, OK, it is kind of fun to say: "Look! This is red, this is blue." But 99% of the time there's something a little weird and taking-oneself-very-seriously about buying toilet paper X at store Y thinking this is morally better than something else.
posted by Turtle at 4:53 PM on December 3, 2004


pyramid termite says: fenriq ... i've got another blinding revelation ... part of living in a civilization like ours is that you're going to end up supporting people who do things you don't like WHETHER YOU WANT TO OR NOT ... and unless you're going to live like hippies in the country and grow all your own food, you're going to be supporting the system ... and even then, you'll have to pay taxes on the land, won't you?

The fact that we can't have a perfect world does not prevent us from trying to improve it, nor suggest that improvement is bad, wrong, detrimental or impossible.
posted by felix at 4:59 PM on December 3, 2004


No need to apologize for saying what you believe mcsweetie --- especially when you back it up with action. We here in middle america appreciate someone who walks the walk.

Any information you can find on how corporations, politicians, and individuals spend their political dollars is important information.

As my Senator says, "Money equals free speech."

[this is good]
posted by ?! at 5:09 PM on December 3, 2004


Interesting post and I personally think its some fairly interesting data. I'm not sure why all the vitriol.

The company I used to work for, an educational software company. was a heavy contributer to Republican candidates. I remember the CEO showing me an autographed photo of Bush he had received because of his support. He and I tried to see if the thing was authentically signed or if it was machine generated. He and the rest of the company's execs were deeply apolitical. I remember drinking with them and everyone being deeply cynical about the current situation.

That being said, the reason they were a 'red' company was for purely pragmatic reasons. We supported the president, various senators and reps for one reason and one reason only. By having a reputation as being strongly republican meant members of Congress would pass educational grants which would make schools buy large amounts of our software and we'd make a ton of money.

Now that I've started my own business, I'll probably end up doing the same thing, once we've reached a certain size. This doesn't represent my personal political beliefs but it does seem to work when your company is very tightly tied to government funding.
posted by pandaharma at 5:10 PM on December 3, 2004


I'll just add to my above comment that, when I buy eggs, right above the eggs, I totally want a live webcam of the hen who laid the eggs, and her detailed biography with pictures (a drawing of a happy "free-range" chicken running through the fields doesn't cut it). Then if I decide to buy the cheap eggs below the webcam of the horribly unhappy cramped mutated mutilated hen, well, at least I know what I'm doing. And that's just one example. I want this for everything I buy.

So I'm not saying that you can't/shouldn't try to make moral decisions when you buy stuff. Just that there's usually way more useful information than red/blue, left/right, good/bad, god/satan, crips/bloods, paul/john, with us/against us, etc., etc.
posted by Turtle at 5:18 PM on December 3, 2004


Oops, I meant my above comment, jeez, what's the point of previewing it 10 times if I still get it wrong?
posted by Turtle at 5:20 PM on December 3, 2004


not all of us have the luxury of considering the political impact of everything we buy ...

I don't have enough cash on hand to make charitible donations, but I don't deride those that do.

I think there's something to be said for people who attempt to act responsibly whether or not it has an actual effect. For example, if I shop at Wal-Mart or Domino's, I know that I'm supporting a company whose interests don't jive with my own. Maybe the money I spend will get around to them eventually, but making an effort to endorse (because that's exactly what you're doing) companies that I agree with isn't some kind of therapy -- it's basic personal integrity.
posted by j.edwards at 5:24 PM on December 3, 2004


I think those that would mock us for including our ideals and politics into our daily lives are just envious of our motivation and sense of purpose.

Yes, we only hate you because you're so terrific. Get over yourself.

Y'know, liberalism as I learned it, meant questioning and investigating the effects and motivations of everything, icluding yourself.
posted by jonmc at 5:59 PM on December 3, 2004


Owners can contribute to whatever causes they want, right?

Right. And you can contribute your business to whoever you want.

And Wal-Mart has Everything for Much Less than Everybody Else. How again is that wrong?

If price/value is your only concern, then by all means, shop where you please. If you don't believe in this concept called "purchasing power," then don't worry about it. If you have no opinion on social, economic, and environmental issues in your community and country, then it's all good. And if there's not an activist bone in your body, then sleep soundly! Ignorance is bliss!

Is patronizing your friends, neighbors, and like-minded fellows such a new idea? Granted, it's a little lame boiling it all down to Red/Blue, but still. The basic idea is quite simple.
posted by scarabic at 6:18 PM on December 3, 2004


wow ... so i'm irresponsible and lack personal integrity because i shop at republican owned food chains ... (never mind that i don't have a choice)

someone, for the love of god, stop me before i shop again!!

turtle, johnmc ... you make good points ... the assumption people are making here is that they can possibly know all the consequences of their buying behavior ... and it's just not true

besides ... both parties support the corporate state, don't they?

Is patronizing your friends, neighbors, and like-minded fellows such a new idea?

no, it goes on in metafilter all the time
posted by pyramid termite at 6:26 PM on December 3, 2004


When you buy your Toyota, you're screwing over a hell of a lot of Democratic UAW members, as well as a few Democratic engineers such as myself. Don't kid yourself - there are many more "Blue state", Democratic workers involved in making a GM or Ford vehicle than any Toyota.
posted by rfs at 6:28 PM on December 3, 2004


rfs, I think that illustrates the whole problem with this broad-brush "red" or "blue" labeling when applied to something like states or gigantic corporations. Hell, it's only marginally useful as a tool to understand any given voter.
posted by pardonyou? at 6:43 PM on December 3, 2004


"When you buy your Toyota, you're screwing over a hell of a lot of Democratic UAW members..."

So the companies and executives that fail to compete against Toyota are not a factor?
posted by juiceCake at 6:56 PM on December 3, 2004


Well my first rule of purchasing is buy local whenever possible. Buying locally, that would put a stake through the heart of that omniverous beast, WalMart. Frankly, I don't know why anyone would shop at WalMart if they have a choice. The WalMart closest to me is filthy, the lighting is bad, the stock is shoddy and the employees are apathetic and ignorant.

Buying locally means absolutely no chain restaurants. I hate them. All of them . All the TGIF, Olive Garden, Red Lobster, McDonalds. Their food is preprocessed junk. Give me a local eatery every time.

Talking about Trader Joe's though made me nostalgic. I love TJ big time. Low prices and unusual selections. My favorite combination. But still no TJs in NC.

We do have a Whole Foods but it is known locally as Whole Paycheck, because the prices are so high. Still, if I can afford a really good cheese, Whole Foods is where I have the best selection. And if you have dreadlocks, facial tatoos and several piercings, Whole Foods is where you can find a job.

I don't have much money, but what I spend I try to spend wisely and part of that is spending it on businesses you want to do well for whatever reason.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 7:31 PM on December 3, 2004


Do you really not see the difference between boycotting based on nationality and ideology?

Do you really not see that this whole Freedom Fries idiocy had far more to do with ideology than with nationality?


For the last ten years, I haven't bought products from companies that test on animals... I don't really give three-fifths of a fuck what that means to you. It means everything to me.

An false analogy coupled with a verbal excretion, all in the vein of what we've come to expect from you.
posted by Krrrlson at 8:20 PM on December 3, 2004


So you decide to buy some rice, or a screwdriver, or a microwave at store X. How many different steps were involved in manufacturing and selling that product to you? What do you know about the choices made by all the people involved?

If it says "Made in China" somewhere on it, you know it was probably made with state-sponsored prison labor, or the capitalist-sponsored equivalent. I don't think those people who made the product got to make many choices in their lives. But you did. Think about that, for a New York minute.
posted by AlexReynolds at 8:35 PM on December 3, 2004


and the employees are apathetic and ignorant.

But fenriq's link says walmart employees are underpaid. Dammit, who should I be mad at? Walmart for underpaying their employees? Or the employees for not even deserving the pay they get?

And if there's not an activist bone in your body, then sleep soundly! Ignorance is bliss!


You need to look up "ignorance".
posted by justgary at 8:55 PM on December 3, 2004


p termite: " the assumption people are making here is that they can possibly know all the consequences of their buying behavior ... and it's just not true"

no. no. no.

That is not the assumption I am making. Or that some I see are making.

The assumption I seeing being made is: "If I can't know all the information than some information is useless."

You entire life is taking information where ever you can find it and molding it into your world view or using it to alter your world view. If one had to wait to act only after recieving all information he'd sit silent until death.

No one does that. So, if you don't give a damn where you end up or how you get there or who you touch -- continue sit in your boat and float downstream. Spend your money any way you please. Those who make concious choices -- as informed as possible -- at least can paddle a bit.
posted by ?! at 9:19 PM on December 3, 2004


So the companies and executives that fail to compete against Toyota are not a factor?

Most of them are in Germany, and they fail to compete because they consider Toyota down-scale. The American car companies are not "failing" to compete.

My point is that if you buy a Toyota because it is supposedly Blue, you are actually hurting Blue state workers, as well as Blue unions. Toyota only has one assembly plant in a Blue state, California. Their other plants are in Red states, just like all of the other transplants. That's not what I call supporting Blue more than Red.
posted by rfs at 9:23 PM on December 3, 2004


?! ... there's more, much more to my life than where i choose to spend my money ... and your suggestion that my lack of "consciousness" means that i'm not "paddling", assumes that money, and where i choose to spend it is the the definition of who i am and what i do ... i reject that idea utterly ... mostly because it plays into the hands of those who would limit us to what we consume ... and creates a state of co-dependency, where we are trying to "make" a set of money and power addicts change, when we don't have the power to do so

render unto caesar what is caesar's ... and god what is god's ... that's how it was back then and it's still that way today
posted by pyramid termite at 3:11 AM on December 4, 2004


An false analogy coupled with a verbal excretion, all in the vein of what we've come to expect from you.

Wow, it's like you didn't actually offer a countering opinion, but said something clever as if to imply it meant something. I LOVE YOU TOO BESTEST FRIENDS 4EVAR!
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 4:37 AM on December 4, 2004


My point is that if you buy a Toyota because it is supposedly Blue, you are actually hurting Blue state workers, as well as Blue unions. Toyota only has one assembly plant in a Blue state, California. Their other plants are in Red states, just like all of the other transplants. That's not what I call supporting Blue more than Red.

Ahh, well, I never saw this as a blue state red state thing but a rather loose connection to one or the other party. And I still don't see this as state thing as there are of course, a mix of people with different affiliations in each state.
posted by juiceCake at 6:56 AM on December 4, 2004


Yes, we only hate you because you're so terrific. Get over yourself.

I anticipated a response along these lines, and prepared a rebuttal in advance.
posted by mcsweetie at 7:37 AM on December 4, 2004


Finally, after 205 comments, JuiceCake gets it clearly. A loose connection to one or the other party.

Why was this so difficult?
posted by fenriq at 8:26 AM on December 4, 2004


Can't employees can shop around for the best work/pay? ... And Wal-Mart has Everything for Much Less than Everybody Else. How again is that wrong?

You should check out this book.

The idea that high demand for unskilled workers should increase wages is a logical theoretical concept that doesn't exist in reality.

As for Wal-Mart, to answer your two questions, the reason that they have everything for much less than everyone else is simply because their employees can't shop around for better pay.

Seriously, though, check out the book. It's enlightening.
posted by padjet1 at 10:01 AM on December 4, 2004


P termite: No. No, I did not say "assumes that money, and where i choose to spend it is the the definition of who i am and what i do" If you took that out of what I wrote, well, I'll try again...

I do not define who you are and what you do. I believe one does that through his/her actions.

I believe that where you spend your money is a part of what defines you. Give all your cash to St. Jude? Some of it to your drug dealer or your pastor? It is a part of what makes you you. A part. As is where you spend your time. As is where you spread your love. And your kindness and your anger. And so on...

And for your last comment: I don't exist in dual worlds of spirituality and secularity. For me they are one.

What I give the government is forced as I don't choose to go to jail. On the whole I've understood it goes to some programs I favor and some I oppose. Still, I could choose not to give anything to my government and suffer the consequences.

As for anywhere else I spread my wealth, love, time, etc. I make conscious choices. Even if on occasion that choice is to waste it or give it someone or something I don't really know well.

As for god. Still looking for proof. How about I just render unto my family and neighbors? And even that is a choice.

And with all choices...the more information you have available the better.
posted by ?! at 1:09 PM on December 4, 2004


[long]
I promise to read "Nickel and Dimed". But let me say a few things about the "working poor":

- Around 3 percent of workers earn minimum wage, and half are teenagers. And part-timers are much more likely to earn minimum than full-timers. Eventually, people go on to earn more.

- Is the situation for unskilled workers worse today than it was in most of the 20th century? Probably yes, by most measures (see Gini coefficient chart, U.S. Census Bureau).

- The cause of this situation likely has much less to do with tax structures, pensions, or welfare and much more to do with the fact that we have transitioned to an "information economy." This new economic structure, which began in the 70's and rapidly accelerated though today, made industries such as manufacturing much less value-added compared to information industries. Example: Software CD's sell for $50-$500, but the actual CD's are made for next to nothing. Thus, unskilled workers are much worse off because they are much larger in number compared to demand for them.

- It is hard to deny that most people classified as poor in America today are not poor by the standards of past generations. According to this report, 97% of poor households own color TV's, 62% get cable or satellite reception, 73% own microwave ovens, 76% have air conditioning, and so on. These are luxuries once not available to the richest individuals.

Before you flame, I am NOT saying being poor does not suck; it certainly does. And there is definitely a gap in education and health care which perpetuates this problem.

But don't attack Wal-Mart. They are a completely transparent, ethical, above-board, public company. They are the Most Admired company in America. They save consumers $20 billion/year. Their profit margin for the last nine months was a measly 3.5%. They are the #1 buyer of IT worldwide, and were responsible for one quarter of the productivity growth from 1995-99. The company gives out millions in scholarships to associates and children of associates, and the Walton family has donated $700 million to education charities since 1998. And most of all, the company has helped trigger a huge industrial transformation in China, which will in turn bring ever-rising demand for American goods, ultimately benefiting unskilled workers.

Note that I am not a Bush-lovin' bible-thumping conservative. Please do not treat me as such.
[/long]
posted by MarkO at 1:40 PM on December 4, 2004


I am surprised that the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review gave any money at all to Democrats, since it is owned by Richard Mellon Scaife, who is about as right-wing as you can get.

And Shell Oil being blue surprised me too.
posted by SisterHavana at 11:23 PM on December 4, 2004


So if I shop at Wal-Mart while in China does that mean I am shopping at a red red store? Do the two reds cancel each other out making it a blue store? I am so confused!
posted by wobumingbai at 1:00 AM on December 5, 2004


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