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.