Buycotting is better than boycotting

The problem with boycotting - withholding from someone you don’t support - is that too few people usually participate (often so few that there is no noticeable difference to a company’s bottom line - “Boycott? What boycott?”) and also that you have no way of inflicting pain on a company if you weren’t a customer to begin with. If you never bought Adidas products, for instance, then your boycott of Adidas means absolutely nothing - you can’t make your consumption become less than zero. Adidas doesn’t even know you exist.

But buycotting - spending money to donate to or purchase from a person or entity that you support - has far more leverage. Not only does it cause non-customers to become customers, but even existing customers can increase their ongoing purchases to make the bottom-line effect noticeable. Someone who didn’t buy Starbucks stuff before can go out of their way to buy it (if Starbucks does something they like and agree with), and an existing customer can increase their Starbucks consumption 2-3x.

How would “buycotting” have helped against segregation?

Or help end Apartheid?

I’m totally comfortable boycotting. The last time a bunch of us got together for a meal (pre-COVID) someone suggested Chik-fil-A. I said that I wouldn’t eat there, which generated lots of conversation. We wound up at Mad Mex, where we discussed Chik-fil-A some more.

Let me take a stab at this… maybe you could have deliberately purchased products from businesses that didn’t racially discriminate?

Ah if only MLK would have been as smart as the OP. He wouldn’t have cancelled the buses, he would have simply just told people to buy tickets on all those bus lines that were integrated.

For clarification, I’m not saying boycotting can’t be done - generally, boycotting and buycotting go hand in hand. You’re avoiding the company you dislike, and buying from the company you do like.

I’m just saying that for a variety of reasons, buycotting is, in many situations, potentially a lot more useful and effective than boycotting. And buycotting also gives one single rich individual far more leverage than boycotting. Someone like Bill Gates, for instance, could reward a cause he supports by spending $100 million purchasing their products (hypothetically,) but Gates has no negative power to cancel $100 million’ worth of other people’s purchases from a cause he dislikes.

Say you oppose Trump (which the vast majority of this message board does.) You vow that you’ll never go to a Trump hotel, buy Trump towels, MAGA hats, or eat at the Trump Grill. But…you were never doing any of that to begin with. How is the Trump Organization supposed to notice your absence when you were always absent?

Both can be effective in different circumstances, but the economic leverage of buycotting is a double-edged sword. I am somewhat skeptical of the political power of spending more money on stuff because it makes consumption feel like political action, when it’s really not.

Making a stand on principle should ideally involve some real cost to the person making the statement. When workers strike, they forgo their wages. When Kap took a knee, he cost himself a lucrative career. "I’m going to go to Starbucks even more to fight for " just doesn’t have the same impact because there’s no hardship involved.

I’ve noticed that a lot of political movements have trended to this method of following the form of past protests without thinking about the actual impact of it. When students stage a walk-out to protest some issue and the school administration supports it, there’s no impact because there’s no cost. Kids already don’t really want to sit in school, so finding a reason not to do so doesn’t have a cost to them. I’d be much more impressed if the kids marched and then had to go to detention or come in on Saturday for class. When you don’t give anything up, you’re just following a fad, not standing for a principle. Or like the regular “don’t buy gas” days that people try to organize, that have actual zero impact on anything. “Don’t drive your car for a day” has an impact, because you actually change your behavior. “Don’t buy gas for a day” does nothing, because it comes at no cost to anyone. People just buy gas on other days.

Whatever it is about the world that you want to change, I bet that buying more Starbucks will not materially advance that goal.

Buycotting is all too easy for corporations with massive advertising budgets to manipulate people into spending more. We’ll end up with different political coalitions congregating around brands the way that sports fans celebrate their teams. It’s a lot more valuable to a brand to get people to really love it than to worry about the people who hate it, so buycotting could easily end up with increasing polarization in every sphere, while boycotting instead works to cause the worst actors to trend toward a more neutral position.

If you buycott one product that usually amounts to boycotting another one.

With respect, this comes across as armchair quarterbacking.

Me, I’ve never played a game of football on any level, much less a professional level. So on the occasions where I’m watching a game, the last thing I’ll do is try to second-guess anyone’s strategy: I trust that the coach, the quarterback, and everyone involved in the game knows what they’re doing far more than I do, and any idea that occurs to me has already occurred to them. If they’re not doing something that I think is a good idea, it’s not because they’re dumb, it’s because it’s not a good idea.

So, do you have experience in organizing a social justice campaign that’s designed to pressure a company into changing policies? If not, have you at least studied such campaigns extensively (as in, spent hundreds of hours reading on the history and efficacy of everything from the Nestle boycott to the FLOC Mt. Olive Pickle boycott to the Amazon boycotts to the Seattle non-union boycotts of the 1920s to the BDS campaign against Israel to the anti-Apartheid boycotts of the 1980s?

If you lack either direct experience, or extensive knowledge, you may want to change your OP: instead of telling everyone that boycotts aren’t as good as buycotts, maybe you should be asking why those with expertise in the field think they’re actually better.

IMO, boycotting often comes across as childish foot-stomping. Chik-Fil-A is closed on Sunday, so I won’t ever eat there, WAAAA!

He does have the capacity to take out $100 million’s worth of advertising and related efforts to advocate for and support such a boycott, though.

Mandela and Tutu - what tantrummy toddlers they were… :roll_eyes:

You think that’s why people boycott them?

It’s been one of the stated reasons, so yes.

And why should the Trump Organization care that their horribleness is causing me to spend extra cash at Hilton I wasn’t going to spend anywhere at all? There’s no incentive there for them to do anything. If they stop being terrible I’m not suddenly going to book a Trump holiday, I’m just not, by the concept of “buycotting”, booking another extra Hilton holiday.

Boycotting is a weak exertion of power from each small participant in the economy. But like with voting or donating $20 to a political campaign it is the power available to "not-Bill Gates"s so it’s the power to use. If you think “buycotting” somehow gives you more power, you’re letting your bias ignore how weak that power is.

Your examples so far, “buying more Starbucks” and Bill Gates using his money, are so, so weak. Sure, you could plausible up your Starbucks intake somewhat to reward Starbucks, but how many areas could you spend this power before it constitutes you just wasting your money on things you don’t need to, very indirectly, influence corporate policy. And if you weren’t buying Starbucks, but were buying coffees, your behavior is indistinguishable from boycotting your previous coffee slinger.

And I assume you meant the Bill Gates example to show how spending money is unlimited, while not spending money isn’t. But that only works for people with unlimited spending cash. For most of us we don’t have that much money to toss around. For most of us a “buycott” would be a one off in response to some marketing wokeness, incentivizing performance wokeness from companies instead of the lasting, stable change the threat of boycotts have the power to create.

I think you’re confusing a store being closed on Sundays and a store highlighting that they are closed on Sundays makes them more moral and religious. They are speaking to a very specific population.

Lots of stores aren’t open on Sundays but they don’t make the huge deal about their religiosity. That, coupled with a public and vocal anti-LGBTQ stance is the main reason most boycott them.

Cite please

Do have any examples at all of a successful buycott campaign?

I think of boycotting as something more than just withholding business from someone you don’t support. I would only use the word “boycott” for an organized effort to try to get a company to make some specific change: “We will not patronize your company until you do (or stop doing) ______.”

It’s like a strike, only by customers instead of employees. It’s done with the intention of making the company change a policy that you object to.