Consumers of the world, unite!
February 4, 2005 8:14 PM   Subscribe

Boycott City. This interesting Askme thread and this informative post inspired me to post this. There are many of the usual suspects here, and boy, do these folks hate Jiffy-Lube. Also boycott news and personal essays. You can even oppose a boycott, thereby boycotting a boycott. requires registration, but it is free and fun
posted by marxchivist (14 comments total)
Registration is only required if you want to start or join a boycott, you can browse all you want without registering.
posted by marxchivist at 8:15 PM on February 4, 2005

Boycott city = farked. Er, metafiltered.
posted by mudpuppie at 8:32 PM on February 4, 2005

Oops, it's back.
posted by mudpuppie at 8:34 PM on February 4, 2005

Y'know, I just dunno about boycotts. Sure, there have been really, really effective boycotts here and there, but for the most part, it reeks of slacktivism. These days, it's just too hard to organize anything big enough to counteract the huge influx of cash any given corporation is getting from people who just don't give a sh*t about political issues.

Which isn't to say we shouldn't do it, and it doesn't mean I'm going to start shopping at Wal-Mart anytime soon. But as a first line of defense, it's pretty weak.
posted by hifiparasol at 8:41 PM on February 4, 2005

well, slacktivism is about all people can manage, mostly. and money does talk.
posted by amberglow at 9:20 PM on February 4, 2005

Man, after I read the askme thread, I think the key to success in business is to somehow get the metafilter groupthink boycott list. The consolidated list of corporations in that thread are the most successful, profitable firms in the world.

If money talks, you guys are a deafening silence...

Also, I'm really bothered by the Starbuck's boycott people. Starbuck's is like on of the only national hourly wage providers in the United States that provides a majority of their employee's with healthcare, they pay extraordinarily fair wages, they listened and took action with regard to environmentally unsound coffee, and they have the consistently cleanest bathrooms and most comfortable couches available is suburbia hell.

It just strikes me as a 'They're big and therefore must be eviiiil' mindset that strikes me as unthinking zealotry.
posted by PissOnYourParade at 10:59 PM on February 4, 2005

The boycott site is more of a forum for venting than a tool for organizing boycotts. How do you boycott "Bad Manners," or "Slow Shoppers,"or "sick people at work," let alone "People With Good Hair"?

I do get that Jiffy-Lube is not where I want to have my car serviced, though.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 2:48 AM on February 5, 2005

If you take your car to Jiffy Lube you are a giant schmuck and get what you deserve. There, I said it. Can't you ask your friends, neighbors or co-workers who they would recommend for something as simple as an oil change?

Anyway, most of these seem like pissing in the wind. I have this not-so-original theory that the Internets were the rebirth of the customer complaint writ large. When I was a kid, my mom, a former legal secretary, would pound out a complaint letter on her Royal portable. She'd keep a carbon copy for herself, of course. This was after walking to our local library to use the Thomas Register to look up a point of contact. A lot of effort, but she almost always got a response, in the form of her money back or a letter of apology or a coupon. We've just automated the complaint process, and sites like this are just the meta-version. Tag your complaints!
posted by fixedgear at 3:31 AM on February 5, 2005

Although I actively don't shop at Wal-Mart, I actually take my car there expressly for the oil change. My reasoning is this:

My understanding is that most mechanics don't do oil changes because they like doing them or because they're profitable. They do them because it keeps a customer "regular," and keeps the shop top-of-mind for most people. Also, if the car was making a funny sound, the customer would ask the shop to take a look at that, too, while they're doing the oil change. But the oil change itself is not a big money-maker for the shop, and my regular shop (which I love) would rather spend their time and garage bays working on projects that generate higher revenues.

Wal-Mart's rates for oil changes are very very low. $16 or so. They're treating oil changes as a loss leader, to get you into the store for 45 minutes while they change your oil, so you can buy stuff. They lose money (or break even) on the oil change, but almost all oil change customers will, in the time they're waiting, spend much more money than they would have, were they not "trapped" in the store. I don't buy anything at Wal-Mart while I'm waiting, so they're not making any money off me.

SO ... because it's not really taking business away from my normal car repair shop (again, a local business I love), and because it's costing Wal-Mart money (assuming that it is a loss-leader for them), and because it saves me money, I think it's win-win.

Feel free to jump in and find flaws in my arguments.
posted by Alt F4 at 6:37 AM on February 5, 2005

Well, it's not just bitching--see the Sinclair Kerry doc, see the FCC and complaints by that right-wing org, see grapes a long time ago, see even our government's ban on travel to Cuba, which is a boycott itself...
posted by amberglow at 7:07 AM on February 5, 2005

They lose money (or break even) on the oil change

Maybe, maybe not. Your point about your regular shop is correct. They would rather be doing bigger ticket stuff. But let's take a look at Wal Mart.

Five quarts of the cheapest oil purchased in bulk, probably forty cents per quart, so two bucks. A poor quality generic oil filter, two bucks. That 45 minutes includes wait time, so actual "mechanic" time is more like fifteen minutes. They are probably paying that "mechanic" eight bucks an hour. Labor cost two bucks. Add overhead, they have to keep the lights on and dispose of the old oil, two bucks. Total cost eight bucks. I doubt Sam Walton would do it to break even or lose money.

My Subaru goes back to the dealer for oil changes, Lance would want it that way. I pay a little more but get great peace of mind.
posted by fixedgear at 7:25 AM on February 5, 2005

I boycott any site that asks me to register .
posted by IndigoJones at 11:15 AM on February 5, 2005

My experience is that having mechanical work done on a car at places like Wal-Mart, Kmart, or Sears is a mistake. They do not pay enough to consistently employ competent mechanics. I consider oil changes mechanical work, only because of the innumerable stories of damage caused by incompetent oil changers. They can't do as much damage as easily while changing tires or batteries, so using them for those things is reasonable. You may be doing your 'real' mechanic more of a favor than you intended if the Wal-Mart kid neglects to tighten your oil-drain plug, or puts the wrong fluids in somewhere.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 1:52 PM on February 5, 2005

Fair enough, then, no more of the blue for you, Indigo...
posted by Samizdata at 9:34 AM on February 6, 2005

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