Thursday, January 21, 2010

Oycottbe (Oy-cot-bay)

Sometimes, it’s not what you’re saying but how you’re saying it. I’ve noticed this before, of course. When I wrote for AvWeb -- and still, as I write at Get the Flick -- I noticed that I was saying the same basic things over and over. Read “the Book”. Follow the rules. Use the system. If the system is broken, don’t work around it -- Fix it.

What I’m saying really doesn’t change much. But how I say it makes a difference. A slight turn of a phrase. A subtle difference in how I state things. And all of a sudden the light bulb goes off for an individual or a group. I’ve had it happen to myself and -- if you’ve lived long enough -- I’m sure you’ve noticed it too.

So, I’m watching The Daily Show with my wife last night and this guy (that we’ve never heard of) comes on for the interview segment -- Jim Wallis. He’s a preacher, talking about what preachers always talk about -- Right vs. Wrong. He and Jon Stewart are talking about Big Banks and Reverend Wallis says if you think the Big Banks are Wrong the solution is simple -- Switch Banks. Move your money and your loans and your credit cards -- move your business -- to a smaller, local bank. I was blinded by the light bulb above my wife’s head.

And I’m like, Helloooooo... It’s all in how you say it I guess. Or in who is saying it. Or in how angry the Public is, I reckon. The unions have been trying for years to get people to stop shopping at Wal-mart. If you want your children to have decent jobs -- a living wage and benefits -- then stop giving your money to giant corporations that don’t pay their workers a living wage.

Michael Pollan does the same thing with food. If you want healthy, wholesome food for your kids, stop giving your money to giant corporations that raise animals in factories and spend your money to support local farmers. Eat Locally.

If a preacher can convince you of the power you hold in your hands better than Arianna Huffington can...that’s fine by me. But I’d like you to see the bigger picture if you can. I thought the Great Recession had made it obvious but maybe not. So let me spell it out for you.

There is no business on Earth that can survive without customers. When America stops spending money, the World goes broke. And it doesn’t have to be all or nothing. It would be nice to think that you can convince your friends and neighbors to act collectively but most businesses can’t stand to lose many of their customers. We’re in a recession, remember, and most businesses are operating on the edge already. A business doesn’t have to lose all of its customers. Losing a significant percentage of them will make them change their ways -- or go broke. If you don’t like the fact that Wall Street is paying out billions in bonuses with your tax money, don’t give your money to Wall Street. Switch Banks.

I can say boycott in Pig Latin if that is what it takes for you to hear. The idea is certainly nothing new. You -- the consumer -- have all the power you need to change the way America does business. The problem is that corporations have billions of dollars they’ll use to convince you not to use that power. All I have is this blog.

Don Brown
January 21, 2010

P.S. I recently watched The Corporation again. If you’ve never seen it, find a couple of hours and watch it.


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