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.


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