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Do you boycott shops and businesses?

I was walking past a place this morning on the way to work and started trying to remember the last time I’d been in there. It took me a food few seconds to remember that I was actually boycotting the place and that that was the reason I hadn’t been in there for about 2 years.

Do you have your own personal boycotts of businesses? In the greater scheme of things, it’s not likely that individually any boycotts will have any impact, but it can make us feel better.

And despite our history, we’re not all that good at unified consumer action in our own best interests.

The Q102 and Consumers Association of Ireland “Ignore that Store” campaign before Christmas really fizzled out, and despite calls from a number of fronts for Irish consumers to boycott stores involved in the euro-sterling pricing controversy, the practice continued unabated.

While a minority of people may decide to take action by avoiding businesses, the example of the euro-sterling pricing controversy shows that enough people continue to shop in those stores meaning that it’s more profitable for the stores to continue the practice rather than change.

From my own perspective, there are a few businesses that I will conscoiously avoid.

  • There’s a coffee shop in Dublin 2 that I’ll avoid both for their extravagently expensive pricing as well as the owner/managers shockingly ignorent treatment of both his customers and his staff.
  • There’s the whole company group that I avoid any business or product that they sell because of their involvement in a predatory pricing policy a number of years ago with the sole intent of closing down one of their competitors (a successful action as it turned out unfortunately).
  • There’s also another whole company group that I avoid because of the other companies that they’ve invested in in the past – unsuccessfully as it turned out (to my delight).
  • I’ve added a new business to my boycott listing this week following weeks of suffering that persons guff on the Irish Dragons Den. And it’s unfortunate, because I used to enjoy their products and service.
  • I’ve also started to avoid local shop close to where I live because of their excessively expensive pricing, plus also the fact that the number of times I was overcharged or shortchanged just became too common to be coincidences.

I know these companies don’t miss my business, and wouldn’t care one way or the other, but it’s important for me. And the thing about it for me is that there are valid alternatives to all of the above where I’m more than happy to take my business instead.

I think that if more people acted when they noticed an issue rather than talking to Joe, the dodgier businesses out there would slowly but surely lose business and end up having to do something about it – ideally to the benefit of the consumer.

11 comments On Do you boycott shops and businesses?

  • I stopped using a taxi man after he insisted the (then new) national maximum fare was a national minimum fare.

    That was just weeks after he had asked me to print out the legislation and explain it all to him so he would understand it when it came into force.

  • I will never shop in Tesco after a manager in my local store accused me of shoplifting.

    Not sure how he picked on me, but claimed there was cctv footage evidence.

    Only for my wife was with me (a solicitor), I’d have been done for something a whole lot more serious.

    I used to try to avoid Ryanair, but given the prices and choices of destinations, I just can’t avoid them most of the time now.

    There are a couple of restaurants that I avoid now as well after some bad experiences.

    I also avoid a couple of places where I know I was ripped off (short changed, over charged etc) but didn’t bothter going back to complain.

  • does trying to buy irish wherever i can mean that i boycot other shops?

  • I try to avoid Chinese products – not for any political reason but because they always break!

    Also few pubs/restaurants because of bad service.

  • @declanh – You raise an interesting point with regards to Ryanair. In some situations, because of Irelands lack of competition, we like to avoid companies but because there’s no alternative, we’re stuck with the crap we have to deal with sometimes.

    @roisin – I guess what you’re doing is effectively a kind of boycott. I’m a big supporter of buying Irish here, and I would act somewhat the same way as you.

    @Tom – Bit of a generality there, but each to their own I suppose.

  • If you are not happy, complain and don’t go back.

    Walk away, if you go back then you cannot complain because you have accepted the service/price that is being offered to you.

    Each one of us has the power to change things.

  • I have been boycotting Nestle since forever. I used to work for an agency in France which had Nestle as a client, it was a prob for me. It gets harder and harder to keep going, Nestle own so many different things. I have noticed in some cases that they have removed the Nestle name on the packaging and reverted to the original…
    Why boycott? N was the company who introduced breast milk substitute, and still sells it, in underdeveloped countries, where walter quality, amongst other things, is a problem….

  • I’ve boycotted Apache pizza ever since they made a complete mess of a delivery order about 8 years ago. When I rang to complain, they were quite offensive on the phone (I wasn’t, by the way). I then wrote a letter of complaint, but never heard back. I haven’t bought a pizza there since, and I have bought quite a lot of pizzas! None of my friends do either, after this experience. Another takeaway gave me severe food posining (it was the only thing I had eaten) and I wrote a letter of complaint to them, although I knew there was little they could do – however, I figured the manaager would like to know. No response, therefore no further business from me or anyone I know – who wants to order from a firm with a risk of food poisoning, when there are so many others? A polite letter back from them might have saved their (now closed) business.

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  • I’ve avoided Chartbuster ever since a fine was incurred for a late return and I wasn’t allowed rent the film I chose. I went next door to Xtravision and have been going there ever since. That was about 8 years ago now so that’s a lot of business they lost.

  • I boycott Claire’s Accessories ever since I pointed out the difference between the £6 and €10 on an item. I was told they were repricing. They were – the next time I looked the sterling price had been blacked out and it was now €11.50!!!

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