Yesterday, we put up a poll about whether or not to boycott of BP. It wasn’t an indictment or even a suggestion of whether or not we should boycott, just trying to gauge where people stood.
We didn’t get a huge amount of votes, quite frankly, but the last time I looked it was pretty much split.
One of my friends owns a convenience store. Their supplier is BP. I’ve bought gas from this man and his family for roughly 25 years. I don’t want to see him suffer due to the mistakes of others.
Chris Wage addresses this today at Pith.
1) BP gas stations aren’t owned by BP — they’re owned by independent franchisees. This means that if you boycott these stores in general, you’re only screwing some poor guy trying to make a buck.
2) Oil is what they call a “fungible commodity” — this means basically that if you don’t buy it, someone else will. Further, since boycotting BP stations means they’ll just sell their gas wholesale elsewhere, the result could actually be marginally higher prices due to reduced suppliers.
3) Finally, even if a boycott did affect BP somehow (which it won’t), one wonders how you reconcile this with the fact that we’re trying to force them to clean up their mess. Hitting them in the pocketbook right now, in the midst of a truly unprecedented (and perhaps futile) clean-up effort, seems a bit ill-advised.
When it comes to easy answers regarding Deepwater Horizon, there aren’t any. I’ll be honest. Part of me wants to never give BP another dime. The other part of me wants the little guy that is just trying to make a dime at his store not go under. So what do we do about BP?
Just like the poll yesterday, many of us are split in our thinking on what to do because this is situation where we have been rendered helpless. One thing we all agree is that this is the worst environmental disaster we’ve ever had in this country.
Related: R. Neal also has more where there is a bit of debate going on in the comments in his post about the oil spill.