I know I shouldn’t eat at Chik-Fil-A, but I used to work at company where we only had a half-hour for lunch and we shared a parking lot with a Chik-Fil-A. It was the only close restaurant. On those days when I didn’t bring my lunch, I ate at Chik-Fil-A. Sue me.
The thing about political company/product boycotts is they have to be flexible. Some people live in small town where they only large supermarket within 25 miles is a Walmart. What are those people supposed to do?
When I can, I will not patronize businesses that are bad corporate citizens. But I don’t sweat it, and I don’t question other people’s choices. That would be exhausting anyway. I don’t have time for it.
Then again, there are some companies who are so awful, that I would probably go out of my way to do anything I can to deprive any of those companies in any way I can.
Much of the cardboard and paper goods strewn about our homes — the mail-order boxes and grocery store bags — are sold by a single private company, with its name, Uline, stamped on the bottom. Few Americans know that a multibillion-dollar fortune made on those ubiquitous products is now fueling election deniers and other far-right candidates across the country.
Dick and Liz Uihlein of Illinois are the largest contributors to Pennsylvania gubernatorial candidate Doug Mastriano, who attended the Jan. 6 rally and was linked to a prominent antisemite, and have given to Jim Marchant, the Nevada Secretary of State nominee who says he opposed the certification of Joe Biden’s election victory in 2020. They are major funders to groups spreading election falsehoods, including Restoration of America, which, according to an internal document obtained by ProPublica, aims to “get on God’s side of the issues and stay there” and “punish leftists.”
Flush with profits from their shipping supply company, the Uihleins have emerged as the No. 1 federal campaign donors for Republicans ahead of the November elections, and the No. 2 donors overall behind liberal financier George Soros. The couple has spent at least $121 million on state and federal politics in the last two years alone, fighting taxes, unions, abortion rights and marijuana legalization.
I know of one friend of mine, a medium-ranking employee in purchasing/finance at a medium-large, somewhat conservative university here in the Bible Belt, who managed to convince his employer to remove Uline as a preferred vendor in their purchasing system. While his bosses were sympathetic to his political concerns, they managed to find a non-political reason to stop using Uline so that the decision would not bring any blowback onto anyone.
BTW, the 9,000-student non-public university where I work does not use Uline. They use Fastenal instead as our preferred vendor of products which track most closely with what Uline sells. Fastenal is also what the university mentioned above started using when they dropped Uline.
Two universities choosing to not use Uline is not going to bankrupt that awful company. But if enough of us, large and small, stop shopping with Uline, it could have an effect. Even if that effect is small, that’s less money that awful family has to plow into radical right-wing politics.