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Nov 26, 2012 10:09 AM

Have you ever boycotted a restaurant for non food/service related issues? (i.e. political statements)


In Toronto it was ruled today that the Mayor didn't act correctly in a conflict of interest case and he was removed as mayor (pending appeals/etc). I noticed on twitter a bunch of places that I follow starting to making insulting comments (like, sending messages to the Mayor's twitter laughing at him) and other places that were commenting about politics that normally deal with food issues/etc.

Anyway, I don't really have a strong view about him either way but just the way that some people have immatuerly commented on it via twitter has made me second guess if I will support their business again.

I know that there was a lot of boycotting with regards to chick-fil a but just wondering about other instances/experiences or if you let the food/service rule your decision.

  1. If the restaurant is in my face with their politics, and I don't agree with those politics - for example, posters on the wall, frequent political discussion, donations solicited for certain causes - then I will not patronize that restaurant. On the flip side, if the restaurant supports a similiar ideology to me, I will not patronize it any more than the food warrants.

    Establishments that support causes unobtrusively, such as chik-fil-a, are fine by me. As long as their crusades aren't in my face when I walk in to grab a bite, I will continue to patronize them.

    The several places around me that have been very vocal about their politics and causes have been very polarizing and tend not to stick around long once they start being very vocal and in-your-face about their ideology.

    Really, I don't think food and politics mix very well. Personal ideology shouldn't be served with my meal!

    6 Replies
    1. re: MonMauler

      So if you knew that, say, CFA supported the Ugandan proposal for death penalty for gays and lesbians (hypothetical, perhaps, but surely not completely beyond the realm of possibility), but "weren't in your face about it", you'd continue to eat there?

      Bon appetit.

      1. re: linguafood

        Exactly. Your hypothetical carries quite a bit of hyperbole, but I agree with the basic sentiment, that if an establishment donates to a cause I do not agree with - but does so unobtrusively - then it is really none of my business. If I like the food, I'm not gonna stop going there simply because I disagree with the views of some faceless dude the profits go to. For me, and most people (I think), this applies to most businesses.

        What one wants to support with their proceeds is really not my concern. I'm not going to let their personal views interfere with my enjoyment of life as long as they aren't shoving them in my face every chance they get.

        1. re: linguafood

          Here in Pittsburgh, I don't buy anything at the gayhating Peace, Love, and LIttle Donuts, even though I walk past the Oakland location weekly. It's just donuts, but still. That he uses the sentiments of peace and love to market his little balls of hate makes me sick.

          And anyone who thinks Chick Filet has been "unobtrusive" hasn't been paying attention.

          1. re: Jay F

            I think there's a distinction between Peace, Love and Donuts and the CFA situation. I too walk past PL&D often (will possibly do so later today), and I don't go in there, ever, either. But the owner is very chirpy about his views, and there are regularly pamphlets and signage in his store promoting his ridiculous positions.

            CFA is different. I've never been in a single CFA where I've seen the owners views promoted in any way. The staff at CFA is uniformly nice to people of any race, creed and sexual orientation IME. The political leanings of CFA's owner were exposed by media watchdogs and are otherwise impossible to discern by patronizing the restaurant.

            Because of these distinctions I have no problem patronizing CFA, while I absolutely have boycotted PL&D.

            1. re: MonMauler

              That may be true where you live, but my last visit to CFA was when they offered me a free copy of the Washington Times with my order. I knew that the owners trended right before then, but that crossed a line I could not ignore.

              1. re: MonMauler

                The staff may be kind. However, not only are there many cases of labour exploitation at CFA, but evangelical anti-gay activity is linked to Ugandan politics. It's not hyberbole, and it may not be in your face at the restaurant, but it exists.

                It's certainly your choice to disregard this, but I wouldn't try to justify it beyond a statement in which you declare your restaurants to be off limits as a means of expressing your politics.

                If you can't tell, I definitely engage in boycotts for political stances (which also include treatment of labour). That said, I am trying to figure out how to manage this beyond restaurants since so much is caught up in exploitative and abusive systems. *Sigh*

      2. I vote with my pocketbook and will not financially support any business who practices I find abhorrant. For example I will not buy popcorn, etc from the Boy Scouts.

        19 Replies
        1. re: foodieX2

          I won't buy the Boy Scout Popcorn because they charge about 1000% more than the grocery store for an equivalent product.
          BTW, I'm really surprised that the mods haven't shut this thread down.

          1. re: TroyTempest

            I have no problem supporting the young people in my life even though the cost of what I am getting is not usually worth it.

            1. re: foodieX2

              I don't either, but the key to your statement is "young people in my life". Just because some kid lives in my neighborhood, I now have to look at value first. After all, if i'm going to give $15 for some crappy popcorn, that's $15 my family won't enjoy. God, I sound like a grouch.
              Once i worked with a woman who brought her kid up to the office dressed in his boy scout uniform and he went to everyone's office on my floor selling his popcorn. That was when i put my foot down.

              1. re: TroyTempest

                At least she brought her son in to sell his popcorn and didn't just do it herself.

                1. re: viperlush

                  I detest the selling of food items to raise money. I would much rather just give them $20,that they can have all of, than spend $20 for something I don't need or want and they only get part of the money.

                  1. re: kengk

                    That goes for all items and not just food. Wreaths, wrapping paper, Xmas trees, magazines etc. Though I do like bake sales and cake walks.

                    1. re: viperlush

                      Unlike the selling of chocolate almonds and other foods, the people who bake for bake sales are usually donating their baked goods. The charity gets all the money.

                      I only buy baked goods at bake sales that I want so I never run into the problem of spending money on something I don't want. Some bake sales offer a lot of bang for the buck.

                    2. re: kengk

                      My mother has always done this and taught me well. If I want to support the group, I just give them the $5 so they get all of it, rather than the 24 cents on the box that they would get if I bought the stuff I don't need anyway.

            2. re: foodieX2

              +1 This is my response too (and the Boy Scouts are a good example, as is the Salvation Army, the aforementioned Chick Fil A and others). And I do go out of my way to try to support companies that do things I like/believe in.

              During this last nasty election period, the owner of a very small restaurant posted a number of blatant and nasty political posts that were opposite my views. Had he not posted, I would not have known he had such vitriol and I didn't care for him using his restaurants' FB page to voice his personal political opinions. I posted and said I would never patronize their place again, and would tell others not to as well - not because of their particular views, but for using FB as a bully pulpit.

              1. re: rockandroller1

                rock on, rockeandroller, i'm with you there

                1. re: rockandroller1

                  <that were opposite my views>

                  Had the posting(s) been the same as your views would you have been as upset?

                  1. re: latindancer

                    I would have been bothered even were the views were similar to mine.
                    Vitriol and mini coronations in the store front and "social media" get to me,not in a good way.To use Harters' word "fool" and the chosen forum seems to have lost perspective enough to loose me and my pocketbook.Go that far in public,the public will respond and remember.

                    1. re: latindancer

                      Ask yourself -- would you be 'as upset' if someone else held the *same* views as you?

                      Highly unlikely, no? Kind of a non-question.

                      1. re: linguafood

                        <Kind of a non-question>

                        I really don't want to see anything political/religious/philosophical in ANY business I support, regardless of what it is and how much I support what they're saying. I go for the food and nothing else. So, no, I don't think it's a 'non-question' at all.

                        1. re: latindancer

                          But you would likely be more offended by an opposing view than you would be by one you agree with, yes? Or are both of these 'offenses' entirely the same to you?

                          1. re: linguafood

                            You know, I have rarely run into a situation in a business where the question becomes an issue. In my opinion an owner is stupid for risking offending customers, openly, with his/her views. Maybe I'd be more offended by the stupidity than anything else.

                      2. re: latindancer

                        They shouldn't be using the account for those purposes. While if their post had been on the same side of the fence as mine, I might not have been as upset, I still don't think they should be voicing their views this way, and they surely would alienate a different customer that wasn't me.

                      3. re: rockandroller1

                        Owner's a fool, then. Only a fool is going to post views that many customers (and potential customers) are going to object to. It's just bad for business.

                        1. re: Harters

                          Yes, he was a fool. When I complained about the post, he told me not to get my panties in a bunch. REALLY?

                    2. I don't usually boycott, but I have gone out of my way to patronize a local establishment that was willing to put a partisan pro-Democrat sign in its window. I've also been tempted to patronize a chik-fil-a due to protesters that I found to be overly douchy. I once pulled into a KFC drive-through because I didn't like the protesters with the signs out front who looked like a bunch of dirty hippies. (I'm a Democrat who hates hippies.)

                      1. If the owners (of any type establishment) piss me off for any reason I tend to not patronize their establishment. On the other hand, I don't go out of my way to see if they are doing anything that might make me angry.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: kengk

                          That's my basic philosophy. I fear that if I spent all of my time researching the personal philosophies, political causes and favorite charities of the owners of every business that I patronize, I might never be able to purchase food (or clothes, or definitely not electronics) ever again. Therefore, I recognize that I do not have the time nor ability to make a stand with every dollar. However, if I do come across information that upsets me or flies directly in the face with my own beliefs, I will stop patronizing the establishment. Although to be fair, it turns out a lot of the companies I end up feeling uncomfortable about are places I never shopped at in the first place, so my strong boycott probably isn't affecting their bottom line much :p

                          1. re: hyacinthgirl

                            I agree with everything you've stated.

                        2. similar thread here:

                          i know someone who boycotts based on this:

                          for me, it would depend on the issue. some topics are so core to me that doing business with a place would be out of the question. thankfully several of these issues are also illegal so i don't face it often. just about the only one that is still accepted by many is lobbying against lesbian/gay rights. this can take some discreet and hidden forms such as donations to fundamentalist religions and family values interest groups.

                          here's an interesting self-quiz: how would you feel if your favourite store/restaurant/chain were supporting or protesting:
                          (1) store closings on sundays or holidays (still an issue in quebec until not too long ago)?
                          (2) gun control (nra, etc.)?
                          (3) lesbian/gay marriage (doma/pflag/etc.)?
                          (4) banning the word "christmas" from all stores and advertising, substituting "holiday"?
                          (5) white supremacy (kkk etc.)?

                          some issues will push my buttons and others i wouldn't stress over.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: ta0126

                            "i know someone who boycotts based on this:

                            well that's good news - my boyfriend the die-hard atheist will now stop insisting we eat their revolting and over-priced burgers while sitting on a wall in the parking lot. I always though the priest schtick was just a hook for punny burger names, so clearly they don't push their religious beliefs to an extent where it would offend me or put me off, even if their beliefs don't exactly align with my own.