Boycotting the big boys in favor of small businesses doesn’t work.

Source: Boycotting the big boys in favor of small businesses doesn’t work.

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Boycotting the big boys in favor of small businesses doesn’t work.

You have probably heard the phrase “shop local,” or “make sure you only buy locally grown products,” something along those lines.  Although reasons vary, one main reason is that people believe the corporate giants and franchises have become corrupt, and buying from our friendly neighborhood people will force the hands of those darn elitists.  Well, I’m here to rain on your parade.  You see, if you actually dethroned the giants, you’d actually have a very expensive parade to bask in your glory.  And that’s the problem.
For all you small business supporters, have you ever taken a business course?  The very first sentence any college student hears in a business course is “the goal of a business is to make money.”  If your goal isn’t money, you’re not a business.  From the local organic store to the giant Wal-Mart, the objective is to take your money, justly or unjustly, one way or another.
That’s fine.  It’s also fine that people say corporate giants are completely corrupt and are owned by corrupt people who prey on unsuspecting victims.  Again, I can’t argue with you on that.  This is all true to some extent.  Where I have a very serious problem is that we trust that our local alternative can’t possibly be corrupt.  If the primary focus is to make money, the only thing preventing corruption is limitations and being under the lens of a more centralized microscope.  We would buy locally owned organic food because science taught us it was healthier.  What happened?  The bigger regional stores brought organic on board, paying off the local farmers, who accepted.  I personally love my locally owned board game store and the games that go along with it.  Other than Apples to Apples, Magic the Gathering, and Settlers of Catan, you couldn’t find these games anywhere.  But surprise surprise, the local business board games went booming, and what happened?  The corporate giant Barnes & Noble went right after these game designers.  You can now find Italian game designer Antoine Bauza’s 7 Wonders and Hanabi in your local bookstore, when he once claimed to be a strong promoter of local businesses.
It is not corporate giants that are corrupt.  It is people who are corrupt.  You and I are not immune to corruption, just as much as a businessman, a freelancer, a small business owner, or a homeless man isn’t.  We can all lose our value system in the blink of an eye.
I used to watch WWF wrestling shows as a kid, and I remember one character, The Million Dollar Man, who would always berate his opponents by buying them and saying, “Everybody has a price.”  Everyone hated him because they hated mean rich people.  But they also couldn’t stop watching him because they knew he was right, and they wanted to see someone shut him up.
What this all boils down to is not that we shouldn’t be supporting corporations.  It boils down to the simple fact that we are jealous that they got the good money instead of us.  It has nothing to do with poor ethics on them and everything to do with selfish attitude of us.  If we benefited financially from their successes, we wouldn’t say a word, but since we lost the battle, we think somehow our voice must be heard and they must be stopped.  But in an instant you and I can become “they” very quickly.

E-Racing Relationships

We live in a world of technology that intrudes every aspect of our life.  When I was a child, I didn’t know what Internet was.  I never dreamed of a day when relationships could be formed or deleted at the click of a button.  My relationships, good or bad, were the result of my physical interactions at school and around my home.  I lived out in the countryside, so friendships were minimal.  I was isolated, secluded, practically a hermit.  Being shy and fearful of everything didn’t help matters.  My world consisted of toads, plumbers, and princesses inside a virtual 8-bit 2-dimensional world.  You see, we like to blame the Internet and Facebook for our lack of ability to socialize.  The simple truth is, we never learned how to.  We learned how to defeat the evil big bully that steals our woman; we learned how to press a bunch of buttons on a controller that made all the hardest challenges become like a 2-piece puzzle.  This is the way we’ve treated life–to make things as easy as possible, because it’s just too hard.

While in elementary school.  I encountered a bully.  I say a bully, because he constantly tried to find ways to beat me up, and I was just as much a monster, if not more.  In reality, it was I who made the first mistake.  I don’t recall exactly what I said, but I know it offended him.  I had asked him perhaps if he was Japanese, or maybe Chinese or Japanese–not knowing it would offend him.  At the time, I didn’t know.  He was of Chinese descent.  I didn’t know then that there has been some historical anomosity between the Japanese and Chinese, based on what they believe about their cultures–although that anomosity varies from person to person.  To make matters worse, I never thought about trying to understand his culture, or why he felt this way.  I simply felt like he should forgive me if I apologize and meant it (and I did).  I remember his words clearly.  “That’s not good enough.”  And he’s right.  It wasn’t, and isn’t.  Our friendship was ended, and the next couple years became ever-tormenting days as we never worked things out.  Although it’s too late now and I have no idea where he is now, I have thought about patching things up, even though I have no idea how it would go.

Funny thing, though.  Whether or not you believe in Jesus, I do.  The reason it’s important for me to say that is because after learning about Jesus and God I learned one very important thing:  Love; real love, is unconditional.  It does not expect things.  Even so, I expected.  I prayed God would find a way for me to make amends with this boy I had had quarrels with.  God answered with screaming shouts of grace, and never gave me what I wanted and what I thought He wanted, but He gave me what He wanted.  Many will think that it’s all just coincidence–perhaps it is, but at some point you realize that you’re being changed and you have no idea how it happened.

After college and moving out on my own, I lived in an apartment for several years, where I am still living.  Over those years the roommates have shifted a few times.  I think I’ve had about 10 roommates, and 6 of them have been from China.  One might say, “well you live near a diverse University, it only makes sense”  True, but there was never a guarantee that I would live at this apartment at these times under these conditions and that they would also find this apartment at these times.  Anyways, the whole point of this is to say that despite my childhood ignorance, I learned that learning is the best form of a healthy relationship.  I would consider 2 of those roommates very good friends, and most of the others at least ok friends.  Did you know that sending a Christmas gift in a white enveleope can be offensive?  Do you know how they celebrate Chinese New Year?  Do you know how they have to put up with countless people making fun of their driving, despite the fact that they’re nice enough to offer rides (and by the way, he isn’t a bad driver)?  Do you know in addition to sushi and rice, they also like chicken wings?  Did you know that the word “they” isn’t even a fair term because THEY are all different?  We always say they’re just the same as everyone else, and that is the most false statement in history.  they are all different, like you and I are different.  This is the message I want to send to you:  instead of changing the attitude of a thousand bigots, try focusing on loving one person at a time.  Don’t learn about them as if they were some tribe from your history books; instead learn from them as if they were your friend.

Why you should engage in discussion, even if you hate the viewpoint.

So, I recently came across a situation that got me thinking.  I genuinely want to be a part of society, and I genuinely want to either change it for the better, or let society change me for the better.  In life, you will have disagreements all the time, We live in a society of people who love to air their opinions and have no shame in letting the world know (even me writing this is a prime example).
We may remember the recent racial gun shooting case, where there were divided opinions.  Homosexuality was a very divided topic between activists vs. Christians.
There are debates about men liking under 18 in America whereas the age of consent is 16 in other countries.

Throughout these issues, it seems one constant remains:  whatever side is the majority, just puts their offenders on the ignore list.  When heated controversy arrives, the method to win is to disengage.  This is neither healthy nor a step in the right direction for your cause.

I shared my opinion about Pride & prejudice with someone, and gave them my reasons.  They promptly said I was insensitive, stereotyping, and insulting women, and then ignored me from then on (which, by the way, only proves my point that looking for a Darcy is unrealistic because the same person who wants a Mr, Darcy, will likely be too offended to give him a chance; not saying that I fit Darcy’s character, but it certainly only reinforced my belief on P&P, which we’ll get to).  I find it totally fine that she shared these opinions, that’s great, but the problem is that she’s not willing to engage on why I’m so insulting, stereotypical, etc.  Believe it or not, I would have at least listened.  I may have countered with arguments with why I disagree, but I also may have considered her view as well.  If all you do is say, “you’re a jerk, you’re a swear word, you have no idea what you’re talking about,” then educate me.  Just putting it off only leads to a viewpoint of confirming what I already suspected, because it comes off as you have no argument, you’re just taking offense.  When that happens, it leads me to a decision of I’m right and you’re wrong, EVEN IF I am wrong and you’re right.

When the homosexuality debate came about in regards to gay marriage, I was a bit taken aback at how it was handled, by both sides.  It seemed like both Christians and homosexuals were expressing the sentiment, “this is why we’re right, oh that’s your view?  Well whatever, goodbye.”  Again, this isn’t healthy.  I would have liked to hear more arguments.  For example, one argument was that animals engage in homosexual behavior, and animals are natural.  It sort of made sense, but after thinking about it, I also thought, well, animals also kill each other, mate with seventeen different partners a week, and some animals practice cannibalism (or whatever the word is for when animals eat each other).  So I thought, that doesn’t mean humans should take the example of animals (understand I’m not trying to take a side on that issue, it is merely for the effect of what I’m trying to explain).  Christians often complain that they were bullied into silence when trying to express their viewpoint.  We don’t want to engage.  Again, educate them, don’t just say they’re idiots.

I recently watched a film entitled “Are All Men Pedophiles?” in which the director analyzes why he believed America is wrong for setting the age of consent to 18 when most societies hold it at 16.He contests that this was a modern change based on education, and not on maturity level, and that it’s normal for men to be attracted to 16 and 17 (referred to as hebephilia).  As you could probably guess, the comments on IMDB shout how much they are offended at his nonsense, but very few of them give a rational, researched answer.  If I were to make the argument, I would contest that girls that age have too many responsibilities as it is, that their education should be important, that there are emotional consequences for being with a girl so young; while they SAY they are emotionally mature, it seems more common that they find themselves heartbroken when rejected by a more “mature” or older man.  Again, all I’m saying is that we need to be honest and not compromise our talk when someone comes off as rude or mean, because honestly, it really just means they are passionate about their view.  Again, educate them.

There is difference between someone who just starts attacking you, saying you’re a swear word or so and so, and someone who just really takes offense to your VIEW.  It’s ok to back off from someone who is just calling you names or whatever, and I also think it’s ok to take a break, and say something like, “ok, look, I’d like to talk about this, but let’s do it later so we can gather some thoughts and cool down.”  Totally ok with that.  Responding to a legitimate viewpoint as “YOURE AN IDIOT” gets you nowhere.

If you want to change the world you live in, you have to teach the world you live in.