Social media and gray news web-sites have been known to include content about having a world-wide ban against big conglomerates by not patronizing them for a day or so. These temporary bans are intended to “hurt” these large companies that are, as viewed by the entitled consumer, charging higher prices than appropriate or providing poor customer service.
Temporary bans are just temporary – they don’t hurt the large companies; they hurt the little guy!
The biggest problem with these temporary bans is exactly as their title describes – temporary. Large organizations have operating reserves that will outrun short to long financial droughts.
Who do these Temporary Bans hurt?
Let’s start with an example. “Gas out” efforts have been attempted numerous times in the last 15 years. The claims have been that by not buying fuel for one day, the large conglomerate will lose significant moneys and reduce their prices. The reality is that even without the operating funds these companies have in reserve, one or two days will not hurt them the slightest – especially because the next day, they’ll just sell that much more fuel. As long as people keep driving, they will still need fuel for their vehicle.
Many companies operate and expand through what is called a franchise. A franchise is where local small businesses, often mom and pop shops, are licensed to operate and sell product under the name of the franchisers. This is especially true with small retail, restaurant and fuel businesses. The local franchisees are the people getting hurt by temporary bans. They cannot afford to stop moving product for several days in sequence.
How to Make a Difference
For the sake of this part of the discussion, let’s forget about the dilemma of hurting the local small business that franchises the big name. Sometimes they are an unfortunate casualty of changing times.
Temporarily banning a company or product will unlikely result in a permanent resolution. To truly make an impact, people need to stop consuming the product or service being provided. Stop driving large gas guzzling vehicles – replace them with a bicycle or alternative fuel vehicle; at the very least use something more fuel-efficient. (I replaced a Ford Explorer with a Toyota Prius – that was a huge change in fuel consumption.)
To make a difference to the environment and carbon emissions by my energy provider, I’ve changed virtually every incandescent light bulb in my home to either fluorescent or LED based components. This action alone has dramatically reduced the amount of electricity I buy from my energy provider. When a fluorescent bulb reaches end of life, it is replaced with an LED equivalent.