I didn’t realize that when I did that, I affirmed myself as a liberal, dedicated to the downfall of western society and just a general scourge. Because Costco is evil, apparently. First off, they put the bible in their fiction book section, sparking an outrage in November of last year that I didn’t even hear about until just now. That’s how much of an outrage it was! Of course, I live in a liberal ivory tower complete with a cable package from DIRECTV (they’re probably also somehow liberal) that doesn’t have Fox News but does include every gay and cooking channel that exists or ever existed (the ones that have ceased to exist are still shown on a rerun loop). I’m kidding, of course; I do have Fox News but like MSNBC, I don’t watch it. If I did, of course, I would have known about the November Costco outrage and would have acted accordingly, which means I would have ignored it even sooner. I could have saved myself months of ignorance if only I’d have watched Fox News!
But that was then, this is now. Now, Costco has sparked outrage by temporarily pulling Dinesh D’Souza’s books from their shelves. If you don’t know who Dinesh D’Souza is, you probably have the same liberal cable and internet service as do I. He’s a conservative hero because he’s brownish and he’s tilted at Obama-shaped windmills for a few years now. Costco pulled his latest book because it was selling a brisk 15 copies per location (http://www.bizjournals.com/seattle/blog/2014/07/costco-defends-decision-to-pull-conservative-book.html); conservatives obviously didn’t care about the book and liberals already had coloring books to keep them occupied, apparently – even though liberals love to correct the grammar of others they are quite dumb and easily amused, hence all of us having coloring books. So, Costco made a business decision and ditched Dinesh, and some conservatives showed how much they hate sound business practices by getting upset about this and ascribing political motives to the removal. It had to be political because James Sinegal (the current Saul Alinsky, apparently), the co-founder and former CEO of Costco, is an avowed democrat. That trumps good business sense, apparently, even though by just about any metric Costco is one of the most successful businesses in America. So, a bunch of people who apparently didn’t care about D’Souza’s book while it was in the warehouse were suddenly upset when they couldn’t not buy the book anymore. It reminds me of my daughter and some of her discarded toys; when I go to donate them to Goodwill (not the Salvation Army because I’m a good liberal) she suddenly gets interested in them again and doesn’t want to let them go. Much like my daughter, these conservatives have thrown a snit and are urging the boycott of Costco. In an amazing twist I’ve seen a few of them advocating Wal Mart in place of Costco.
Let that sink in for a bit: Wal Mart over Costco.
When I go to Costco, the first thing I notice is that it is clean and well-organized. The next thing is the free samples because I’m a mooch and I love to get something for free. After I’m done stuffing my face for nothing, I see that the employees are generally happy and seem to be glad to work there. There’s also the quality of product that Costco offers – I know if I get something there it’s gonna be good. If it isn’t good, they have a liberal return policy. In short, Costco is just about everything a shopping experience should be.
Now, let’s venture over to Wal Mart. The first thing you notice is the trash in the parking lot, and I’m not talking about the customers (racist high-five!). Their parking lots are usually depressing. Once you get inside you may get lucky and be in a clean Wal Mart, but that’s about a 30% chance. That’s a true statistic that I just made up, no source needed because it sounds about right. Most customers in Wal Mart don’t look like they’re happy to be there (I could make up a statistic but you get the idea) and neither do the workers. Especially the workers. It’s no wonder; Wal Mart treats their employees like my dogs treat their toys; chewing them up and moving on to the next one. Just about every aisle you go down will have items left behind from other aisles from shoppers who just gave up. There’s precious little joy in Wal Mart; it’s the consumer equivalent to…well, there’s nothing equivalent to Wal Mart. They’ve succeeded by selling cheap products in bulk, one step above the 99 cent store. I confess that I occasionally shop there just for the cheapness. However, while I enjoy going to Costco I never look forward to visiting a Wal Mart. Wal Mart is the cheap hooker of retail stores.
So yeah, some people – a small but exceedingly vocal group, to be sure – are suggesting to boycott Costco and instead go to Wal Mart. Pardon my liberal, but that’s about as un-fucking-American as it gets. We should skip the good store and instead go to the bad store. That’s grossly simplified but still accurate.
About two years ago there was a big dust-up about Chick-fil-A, and how we should boycott them because their owner donated to anti-gay causes. I’m proud to say that I did not boycott them; I visited them (and continue to visit them) at exactly the same frequency as I did before this news broke, which is almost never. There were several reasons for that. First, it seems like every time I wanted to go to one it was on a Sunday and they were closed. Second, I always seem to live at least 25 miles away from one. Finally, the times I have been there I wasn’t overly impressed with their food. It was good, but not so good that I was in a hurry to get back.
There was also a fourth reason, and the most important: boycotts usually affect the employees the most, and the employees aren’t who I would have a beef with. I also understand that people have different beliefs than me and that I won’t always agree with them, and that’s OK. We can agree to disagree, and each of us can go about supporting our causes. I wouldn’t boycott a company for donating to a cause I agree with; wouldn’t it be hypocritical of me to boycott a business because they donate to a cause I don’t agree with? Both are political, and by boycotting one of them I’m trying to invalidate their beliefs and rights. I don’t agree with that, even if I don’t agree with you. If I’m going to boycott a business it will be because they have terrible service or product, or because of reprehensible business practices. Not because of a difference of political opinion. One of the most glaring problems in the United States right now is the political divide and how extremists on both sides have made themselves unable to accept a difference of political opinion. It’s also a false dichotomy because most of us will share quite a few beliefs but differ on a few issues, and those issues are being used to drive us apart. Compromise in politics is dead and that’s a shame, because any adult will tell you compromise is a part of life.
So, I will continue to shop at Costco. Not because I agree with the politics of their former CEO, and not because they pulled D’Souza’s book off the shelves. I will shop there because I enjoy shopping there and because they’re a well-run business that meets my consumer needs. I will shop there because I’m an adult.