So, Who Am I Boycotting This Week?

 

In the spirit of lively debate, and because what started out as a comment that went on way too long, this is a rebuttal to @cliffordbrown ‘s post, in which he calls for a boycott of Walmart over their announced policy of discontinuing sales of pistol ammunition. I personally require no convincing to not shop at Wally World. I dislike the stores for a wide variety of reasons too long to enumerate here, and I’m not about to start shopping there except in case of immediate need.

So far so good, but let’s be honest, Wally World ain’t losing any money on my account so far because they ain’t getting it in the first place. And I imagine I’m hardly alone in my lack of effect on Sam Walton’s legacy — unless you live in one of the more rural towns where Walmart is the only general-goods game around, you’re not going to be shopping there unless you either need to, unless you like Walmart. But here is where I significantly part ways with Clifford: In his words:

Any one who values the Constitution, let alone gun ownership and the right to effective self-defense, will immediately punish Walmart, shifting all purchases to: [list of alternatives]…The rule is simple: no shopping, and no allowing people who shop there to bring stuff to your dwelling, your office, your picnic, in Walmart bags or with Walmart house brands.

African-Americans won with this technique in the 1955-1956 Montgomery bus boycott. They won by ruthlessly self-policing. It is disempowering nonsense to assert that boycotts are ineffective. They simply take real grassroots will, with a bit of organizing direction…

Effectively, immediately, intensively socially shame anyone who slacks off and goes to Walmart.

So it’s just one more store on the checklist we all now are demanded to carry in our heads of “places my politics tells me to boycott.” Seems every other week now someone is asking for a boycott of something. Skip this place because they gave to Planned Parenthood, skip this other place because they donated to Hillary, skip this third place because they banned open carry (nevermind that I never open-carried), boycott movies from this other studio because their CEO spouted nonsense after the Oscars, best to avoid this brand of socks because they used whale oil to make their elastic, and don’t walk on floor tiles from this company because they fired my great uncle Charlie in 1936 for decking a foreman, don’t go here, and don’t go there…

After a while, the grievances weigh one down and they’re competing for much-coveted memory space with “places we should feel obligated to patronize because it makes leftist heads explode.” So while I’m avoiding getting coffee from Starbucks, I’m obligated to dine at Chick-Fil-A, even though I think their chicken is overrated and I’m never able to get my food in under 20 minutes due to the crowds of other chicken obligates.

I’m supposed to shop at this bakery because the owner is a Christian, even though my waistline is screaming “put down the cake and walk away slowly (because walking quickly is unlikely).” And I simply must buy something from this other place because I’d be “supporting a good cause” (really, do I need another useless tchotchke?), and I have to buy this razor over there since they sponsor a show I like, and then buy this car because my grandmother said they hired great uncle Charlie after that unfortunate incident with the foreman…

So I have to say I object on principle to yet another boycott. We make fun of the lefties for hating the Christian ethos of Chick-Fil-A and mock their hypocrisy when they buy the chicken anyway. Maybe we should focus on something else.

All that said, there are some specific issues with the nature of the proposed boycott that are problematic in their own right. I’m going to address the second quoted point first to clear the decks. I do not see the parallel with a city-owned and city-operated bus system that an urban population depended on for their livelihoods. The bus boycott worked because it was concentrated and impossible to miss, and because the black populace of Montgomery had to make real, tangible, and visible sacrifices in the boycott. A boycott of Wally World is diffuse because there are, for most people, many, many other places to shop, and diffuse because Walmart has such a broad customer base around the country. And it’s not like it would be a particularly pointed sacrifice for most people except in more rural locations.

Further, Montgomery discriminated virulently against blacks on the basis skin color. This discrimination was impossible to ignore. The blacks who depended on those buses to get to work or to do their shopping were treated terribly from the moment they got on the bus. Does a Walmart greeter even notice me when I enter or exit their store? Am I, as a gun owner, wearing some tag that tells Walmart to treat me badly? Will I face hostility, derision, or violence while shopping, just for being a gun owner? (I know I’ll face a slow checkout regardless, but that’s another matter.) There is no parallel here, and it does us no good at all to compare our comparatively petty grievance to the African Americans living in Montgomery in the 1950s — to do so is an insult to them.

But what of the social shaming advocated for those who will not boycott? Given how increasingly militant we are divided as Americans, where our politicians and pundits demand that we boycott this or that, or support that other thing because “it makes leftists’ heads explode,” is the added antagonism worth it — especially over an issue this small? I’m an employer – should I really tell my employees not to bring Sam’s Choice cola to a company picnic, or tell the lady who brings in donuts some mornings to get them someplace else? Should I make my politics their issue too, where they have to consider their own political loyalties a factor in whether they feel welcome and valued as human beings at work?

I have enough political arguments too with our extended family, to the point where I will hush people at family gatherings if they cannot talk politics civilly. I even had a relative storm out of a Christmas party because I told them to can it in front of the kids. In the years since, however, the family has come to respect my rule and abide by it. It’s not that we cannot talk politics, but when talk starts to turn to swapping barbs and trying to “win” by shame or browbeating, it ends or I ask people to leave. To do as suggested would be to tell those relatives to forget everything I have tried to enforce about respect and to make my politics central. They know my politics already. They know what I stand for and why. But I will not make agreement with me a condition for whether they can come into my home. My home is welcome to all, and that I will not compromise.

But there is one more matter:

The only boycott exception, where legal, is to get in the CEO’s face with open carry. Carry politely, legally, openly. Then, expecting confrontation by employees, have a partner obviously employing a cell phone or GoPro camera to capture everything as you tell them they will either respect the American Constitution and your God-given right to self-defense or you will never spend another dime in Walmart and only show up to mock them for “just following orders” when the store closes.

How have these sorts of things gone for us before? Not well. Remember when Starbucks allowed open carry? How did that work out? So long as people did not make it an issue, it was not an issue. The hoplophobes, of course, found out and started to protest and demand Starbucks explicitly ban open carrying. What happened next was that more gun owners started open-carrying at Starbucks. If they had stuck just to discretely holstered pistols I imagine the issue would have gone away eventually. Instead (and you can image-search this easily) people showing up toting long-guns into suburban coffee shops. That was entirely unnecessary, and was little better than LARPing for the spectacle of it all — there was then, and is now no credible case for toting around an AR-15 slung on your back when you go to get a latté. Pretending otherwise for the sake of “muh rights!” is risible.

Open-carrying into Walmarts now, with a friend in tow and a gotcha camera at the ready, is also spectacle, and it will only serve to further shred credibility and perception. Walmart has every legal right as a business to conduct itself in this manner, and I have every right to not shop there. To say otherwise is to likewise say that a cake shop has to bake a gay wedding cake. We all rightly recognize that the lawsuits against Masterpiece Cakes have been borne of malice and spectacle, is that a game we should stoop too as well?

Published in Guns
32 likes
Ricochet editors have scheduled this post to be promoted to the Main Feed at 1:30PM (PT) on September 9th, 2019.

There are 213 comments.

  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 3
  4. 4
  5. 5
  6. 6
  7. 7
  8. 8
  1. Misthiocracy grudgingly Member

    I’m on a diet boycotting multinational fast food chains.

    • #1
    • September 7, 2019, at 9:18 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  2. SkipSul Moderator
    SkipSul Post author

    Misthiocracy grudgingly (View Comment):

    I’m on a diet boycotting multinational fast food chains.

    Down with Tim Horton’s!

    • #2
    • September 7, 2019, at 9:20 AM PDT
    • 5 likes
  3. DonG Coolidge

    Boycott boycotts? My strategy is to buycott capitalism. Anyone offering better products at a better price gets my business. 

    • #3
    • September 7, 2019, at 9:24 AM PDT
    • 14 likes
  4. Misthiocracy grudgingly Member

    SkipSul (View Comment):

    Misthiocracy grudgingly (View Comment):

    I’m on a diet boycotting multinational fast food chains.

    Down with Tim Horton’s!

    Oh, I’ve been boycotting Tim Hortons ever since they stopped baking their doughnuts in-store and they switched to mechanically-separated meat in their chicken salad sandwich. That was quite a few years ago. I do not understand how they stay in business considering how much the quality has declined. I guess their customers don’t remember what made Tim Hortons good, back in the day.

    • #4
    • September 7, 2019, at 9:25 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  5. SkipSul Moderator
    SkipSul Post author

    Misthiocracy grudgingly (View Comment):

    SkipSul (View Comment):

    Misthiocracy grudgingly (View Comment):

    I’m on a diet boycotting multinational fast food chains.

    Down with Tim Horton’s!

    Oh, I’ve been boycotting Tim Hortons ever since they stopped baking their doughnuts in-store and they switched to mechanically-separated meat in their chicken salad sandwich. That was quite a few years ago. I do not understand how they stay in business considering how much the quality has declined. I guess their customers don’t remember what made Tim Hortons good, back in the day.

    I think by the time they made it to the states, they had already declined so nobody noticed.

    And last time I went to one, they didn’t have chicken salad at all.

    • #5
    • September 7, 2019, at 9:28 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  6. Stad Thatcher

    I’ve been boycotting Democrats for as long as I can remember . . .

    • #6
    • September 7, 2019, at 9:34 AM PDT
    • 7 likes
  7. Misthiocracy grudgingly Member

    SkipSul (View Comment):

    Misthiocracy grudgingly (View Comment):

    SkipSul (View Comment):

    Misthiocracy grudgingly (View Comment):

    I’m on a diet boycotting multinational fast food chains.

    Down with Tim Horton’s!

    Oh, I’ve been boycotting Tim Hortons ever since they stopped baking their doughnuts in-store and they switched to mechanically-separated meat in their chicken salad sandwich. That was quite a few years ago. I do not understand how they stay in business considering how much the quality has declined. I guess their customers don’t remember what made Tim Hortons good, back in the day.

    I think by the time they made it to the states, they had already declined so nobody noticed.

    And last time I went to one, they didn’t have chicken salad at all.

    Oh man, when I first tried their old chicken salad sandwich back in the late 1990s, I thought it was the most delicious sandwich I’d ever eaten.

    • #7
    • September 7, 2019, at 9:37 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  8. Boss Mongo Member

    SkipSul: So far so good, but let’s be honest, Wally World ain’t losing any money on my account so far because they ain’t getting it in the first place.

    Well, they ain’t losing a lot of money from me. But here’s what they are losing: every two weeks (ie, payday), they’ll be missing out on me buying one box of 9mm x 50, one box of .40 S&W x 50, one box of .223 x 100, and one box of .308 x 20 (I had to at-ease on the 12 gauge ammo; I got more than I think I’ll ever use even come the zombie apocalypse). I don’t get my .308 match there, because trust issues.

    I concur with both you and @cliffordbrown, which is a little dislocating. I don’t usually “boycott” stuff. At the same time, I be damned if I’ll hand over a single sheckel to Walmart, Dick’s, or Nike. I will, however, spend to make a point. I’m a proud owner of Rush’s “Stand Up For Betsy Ross” t-shirt–Oh and his “I’m a Deplorable” tee (and the Ranger Up deplorable T–which is my 2016 and forever my “go to the polls and vote” tee). I got a MAGA hat (literally MAGA).

    Thing is: we gotta push back. Question is: How best to do it.

    How best to do it without being total dirtbags like the left are.

    • #8
    • September 7, 2019, at 9:52 AM PDT
    • 27 likes
  9. DrewInWisconsin, Thought Leader Member

    Boss Mongo (View Comment):

    Thing is: we gotta push back. Question is: How best to do it.

    How best to do it without being total dirtbags like the left are.

    That’s the trick, innit?

     

     

    • #9
    • September 7, 2019, at 9:57 AM PDT
    • 6 likes
  10. SkipSul Moderator
    SkipSul Post author

    Boss Mongo (View Comment):
    I concur with both you and @cliffordbrown, which is a little dislocating. I don’t usually “boycott” stuff. At the same time, I be damned if I’ll hand over a single sheckel to Walmart, Dick’s, or Nike.

    Right, and on that so far I’m fine. But Dick’s quality was always meh, Nike’s have never fit my feet right (I’m flat-footed – truly), and well, Wally World is a nightmare already.

    Boss Mongo (View Comment):
    I will, however, spend to make a point. I’m a proud owner of Rush’s “Stand Up For Betsy Ross” t-shirt–Oh and his “I’m a Deplorable” tee (and the Ranger Up deplorable T–which is my 2016 and forever my “go to the polls and vote” tee). I got a MAGA hat (literally MAGA).

    I’ll spend to make a point, only if I need what I’m buying. That’s a problem I have with fundraisers, no matter the cause. If I don’t need it, just give me a way to donate cleanly, otherwise it’s just more “stuff”. I don’t wear t-shirts much, and prefer blank ones anyway.

    Boss Mongo (View Comment):

    Thing is: we gotta push back. Question is: How best to do it.

    How best to do it without being total dirtbags like the left are.

    That is the challenge.

    • #10
    • September 7, 2019, at 10:03 AM PDT
    • 6 likes
  11. Bob Thompson Member

    Boss Mongo (View Comment):

    SkipSul: So far so good, but let’s be honest, Wally World ain’t losing any money on my account so far because they ain’t getting it in the first place.

    Well, they ain’t losing a lot of money from me. But here’s what they are losing: every two weeks (ie, payday), they’ll be missing out on me buying one box of 9mm x 50, one box of .40 S&W x 50, one box of .223 x 100, and one box of .308 x 20 (I had to at-ease on the 12 gauge ammo; I got more than I think I’ll ever use even come the zombie apocalypse). I don’t get my .308 match there, because trust issues.

    I concur with both you and @cliffordbrown, which is a little dislocating. I don’t usually “boycott” stuff. At the same time, I be damned if I’ll hand over a single sheckel to Walmart, Dick’s, or Nike. I will, however, spend to make a point. I’m a proud owner of Rush’s “Stand Up For Betsy Ross” t-shirt–Oh and his “I’m a Deplorable” tee (and the Ranger Up deplorable T–which is my 2016 and forever my “go to the polls and vote” tee). I got a MAGA hat (literally MAGA).

    Thing is: we gotta push back. Question is: How best to do it.

    How best to do it without being total dirtbags like the left are.

    The Left stays on this gun control effort while faced with the 2nd Amendment. I support all the resistance to gun control efforts. I wonder how resistance should be shown to the Left’s efforts to control speech especially in the educational institutions from the public schools to universities. I would like to see an all out effort for school choice and have an Executive Order to deny federal funding to any university determined to have standing policies in violation of 1st Amendment rights. That might get the attention of some on the Left.

    • #11
    • September 7, 2019, at 10:09 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  12. Western Chauvinist Member

    I pay a dollar more per box of my favorite breakfast cereal at any place other than Walmart. I’m already a poor steward of our resources. I’m not in a position to pay 20 percent more for staples. Fool me once…

    • #12
    • September 7, 2019, at 10:25 AM PDT
    • 7 likes
  13. Boss Mongo Member

    SkipSul (View Comment):
    I don’t wear t-shirts much, and prefer blank ones anyway.

    Skip…wha…?

    My kids have learned that it’s an easy out. Instead of goofy ties, I get tee shirts from Ranger Up, Gruntstyle, or Gruntworks.

    The kids’ calculus is: Does this sound as offensive as something Dad would say? In the way he would say it (ie, no profanity)? Boom! Instant great gift.

    • #13
    • September 7, 2019, at 10:57 AM PDT
    • 6 likes
  14. Spin Inactive

    100% agree with almost everything. I vehemently disagree with this being a members only post. I want to share it on social media.

    • #14
    • September 7, 2019, at 11:22 AM PDT
    • 7 likes
  15. GeezerBob Coolidge

    Fine, let Wally stop selling ammo, etc. That means there is now a niche for smnaller businesses to take up the slack. Let them stop selling a lot of stuff. The less they have, the more reason to go elsewhere.

    • #15
    • September 7, 2019, at 11:29 AM PDT
    • 13 likes
  16. Spin Inactive

    The EssJays, they get uptight about a company’s whatever, they decide to boycott, then they demand everyone else boycott it, too.

    Us? We don’t do that. We simply boycott if we feel the need. And we might tell folks why. But are we going to stop someone coming to our house with a six pack they bought from Walmart? No. We might as well just start telling our liberal friends and family to get the hell out of our lives.

    • #16
    • September 7, 2019, at 11:30 AM PDT
    • 5 likes
  17. SkipSul Moderator
    SkipSul Post author

    Spin (View Comment):

    100% agree with almost everything. I vehemently disagree with this being a members only post. I want to share it on social media.

    I made it member’s only because I wanted to keep this argument in house – it is an argument between Rico members.

    • #17
    • September 7, 2019, at 11:31 AM PDT
    • 6 likes
  18. Western Chauvinist Member

    GeezerBob (View Comment):

    Fine, let Wally stop selling ammo, etc. That means there is now a niche for smnaller businesses to take up the slack. Let them stop selling a lot of stuff. The less they have, the more reason to go elsewhere.

    Yes, and if I understand correctly, they’re going to sell out their current inventory of ammo. Buy it up and then reduce your trips to Walmart. 

    • #18
    • September 7, 2019, at 11:31 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  19. Boss Mongo Member

    Spin (View Comment):
    But are we going to stop someone coming to our house with a six pack crow bar they bought from Walmart?

    Yes. Yes we are. And, apparently, with ammunition we didn’t buy at Walmart.

    • #19
    • September 7, 2019, at 11:33 AM PDT
    • 5 likes
  20. Mendel Member

    I agree with this post wholeheartedly.

    While I’m fine with anyone who wants to boycott Walmart for their recent policy changes, Clifford’s post went much too far in my view – not only with the call to shame friends and family, but with the repeated comparisons to the civil rights movement.

    What’s lacking is perspective. At their core, gun rights are as vital and sacred as civil rights. But that doesn’t make Walmart’s change the moral equivalent of the hardships faced by blacks in the 1950s, and to equate the two is to both play the victim and cheapen the suffering and hardships of being black in the Jim Crow South. Most conservatives rightly deride the left’s “moral equivalent of war” constructs; let’s not follow them by introducing the concept of the “moral equivalent of the civil rights struggle” every time somebody does something we don’t like.

    The problem I see is that we’ve taken the “camel’s nose under the tent” and “slippery slope” rhetorical arguments so far that we consider ceding an inch to be ceding the entire battle. Everyone using those arguments needs to take a breath and look at the larger war. From the perspective of an individual soldier in WWI, defending a given trench was literally life or death. But the war was not decided on the gain or loss of any single trench – in fact, the outcome didn’t have all that much to do with trench warfare at all in the end.

    Please don’t think the trench you’re currently standing in is the only one left between Western Civilization and the barbarians.

    • #20
    • September 7, 2019, at 11:35 AM PDT
    • 15 likes
  21. Boss Mongo Member

    SkipSul (View Comment):
    it is an argument discussion between Rico members.

    Skip, FIFY.

    • #21
    • September 7, 2019, at 11:38 AM PDT
    • 5 likes
  22. Spin Inactive

    SkipSul (View Comment):

    Spin (View Comment):

    100% agree with almost everything. I vehemently disagree with this being a members only post. I want to share it on social media.

    I made it member’s only because I wanted to keep this argument in house – it is an argument between Rico members.

    Fair enough, but it’s also a larger issue we need to talk about. Maybe it isn’t. What do I know? I have painting to do!

    • #22
    • September 7, 2019, at 11:40 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  23. Spin Inactive

    Boss Mongo (View Comment):

    Spin (View Comment):
    But are we going to stop someone coming to our house with a six pack crow bar they bought from Walmart?

    Yes. Yes we are. And, apparently, with ammunition we didn’t buy at Walmart.

    “I don’t want none of you Walmart shoppers touchin’ my stuff!”

    • #23
    • September 7, 2019, at 11:41 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  24. Western Chauvinist Member

    Spin (View Comment):
    We might as well just start telling our liberal friends and family to get the hell out of our lives.

    It’s not the liberals shopping at Walmart. It’s rural Normals and Normals like me who are too lazy to shop carefully otherwise and just go where we know what we want is cheapest. 

    • #24
    • September 7, 2019, at 11:41 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  25. Spin Inactive

    Boss Mongo (View Comment):

    SkipSul (View Comment):
    it is an argument discussion between Rico members.

    Skip, FIFY.

    “An argument is a disagreement between two or more people, but it can also be a statement backed by evidence, like your argument that your school doesn’t need a dress code.

    Argument comes from the 14th-century French word of the same spelling, meaning “statements and reasoning in support of a proposition.” An argument can be a fact used as evidence to show that something is true, like a study that shows exercise improves certain health conditions — an argument for being more active. Argument also means “a discussion between people who have contrary views.”

    It very much IS an argument! It’s what we do here!

    • #25
    • September 7, 2019, at 11:42 AM PDT
    • 6 likes
  26. Mendel Member

    Another angle: it seems like conservatives keep asking how the left took control of so many of the towering heights of society.

    When it comes to a number of those institutions, specifically ones like social media platforms and other tech companies that influence great realms of our daily lives, the answer is fairly simple: they worked their asses off to build useful products.

    Having grown up in many of the same circles and worked in Silicon Valley, I know quite a few employees of the tech companies continually accused of silencing conservatives. And here’s the dirty secret: even though most of them are Democrats, almost none of them are woke, tuned-in activists checking the provenance of every coffee bean and article of clothing they buy. Why? Because they’re too busy working to create dominant companies to care about the ideological minutiae of their every private action.

    Conservatives aren’t going to take back civil society without being able to build solid private sector institutions and companies of a similar quality as those run by the left – or even to populate the existing companies with conservatives who are indispensable at their workplaces. But the level of productivity and dedication required to reach that goal is not compatible with having to spend 30 minutes each evening to make sure the CEO of your virus scanner didn’t just get fired for being an NRA member.

    Again, not a blanket disapproval of boycotts. Just pick the few battles that really count and let the other ones go.

    • #26
    • September 7, 2019, at 11:43 AM PDT
    • 11 likes
  27. DrewInWisconsin, Thought Leader Member

    The problem a lot of people will encounter is that for us poors, Walmart offers good products and groceries at a good price. Also a one-stop shopping place. We poors depend on that. And we simply can’t afford to stop at five different stores when we can do it all at one place. Nor can we beat the savings.

    So yeah, . . . good on you who can afford (in both time and money) to limit your purchasing to smaller stores. For many of us, out of practical necessity, Walmart is the place to go.

    And it’s too bad that’s the way it is, but that’s the way it is. I don’t agree with Walmart’s policy. But I don’t have much of an option to shop elsewhere.

    Walmart also provides employment for a lot of locals. And if I worked to shut them down, I’d basically be saying “I don’t want you people to have a job.”

    Seriously, why would you pick Amazon over Walmart anyway? You’re just funding the Washington Post.

    • #27
    • September 7, 2019, at 11:44 AM PDT
    • 14 likes
  28. Mendel Member

    Boss Mongo (View Comment):

    SkipSul (View Comment):
    it is an argument discussion between Rico members.

    Skip, FIFY.

    But I came here for an argument.

    • #28
    • September 7, 2019, at 11:44 AM PDT
    • 9 likes
  29. The Reticulator Member

    Boycotts are a underutilized tool for social change, especially by the right. I was saying this back in the days (early 90s) when the left thought it was just deplorable that rightwingers would refuse to patronize certain restaurant chains because of politics. I still think it’s a good idea to boycott things, even though Republicans have used the federal budget process to transfer most consumer buying power to the left. 

    Having said that, I decide on a case by case basis which boycotts to take part in, how strictly I’ll observe a boycott, and to what degree I make my choice known and urge others to join. I have no blanket rule that covers all situations. In other words, I’m unprincipled about it. 

    • #29
    • September 7, 2019, at 11:46 AM PDT
    • 7 likes
  30. SkipSul Moderator
    SkipSul Post author

    Boss Mongo (View Comment):

    SkipSul (View Comment):
    it is an argument discussion between Rico members.

    Skip, FIFY.

    • #30
    • September 7, 2019, at 11:47 AM PDT
    • 6 likes
  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 3
  4. 4
  5. 5
  6. 6
  7. 7
  8. 8