Tuesday, January 31, 2017

BOYCOTT UBER?

A number of our FB friends have posted that they are boycotting Uber. I don't agree with this as a political strategy, but the larger question is why boycott anything?

The boycott has been used effectively a few times in our recent history. The United Farm Worker's Union, under Ceasar Chavez, used a boycott of Gallo wine and table grapes as a way to build public pressure on the grape/wine industry to negotiate with farmworkers to improve working conditions, pay and other benefits. The boycott campaign was well thought-out and managed, and actually helped achieve the union goals over a period of many years.

A boycott's effectiveness depends on how widespread it becomes, and how persistent. If the target is a large corporation or industry, the target will have greater staying power (i.e. money, lawyers, public relations, etc.) than a poorly organized "organic" boycott. The various social media make it relatively easy to spread the word; however, this type of home-grown boycott has little chance of success over the long-term because there is no strategy, no plan, no funding and PR campaign.

The underlying question about boycotting Uber or any other company is: "what is the goal?" The Uber boycott, apparently started by one or more persons on Twitter or Facebook, was in response to the perception that Uber's CEO is a major Trump supporter, and that Uber didn't stop service to JFK when one of the taxi companies did as a way to protest the Trump immigration/refugee Order.

But what does boycotting Uber really do? Does your deletion of the Uber app hurt Donald Trump? No, absolutely not. Does it harm the Uber CEO financially? No. If enough people do this, maybe it will have a financial impact in part of their market. But more likely your boycott of Uber will hurt the Uber drivers in your neighborhood, you know, the people who are trying to make a living by driving you around. Is this really your intent? (And btw, a bit of research shows that Lyft is heavily financed by major Trump supporters, so the boycott Uber - use Lyft meme is nonsense.)

Jumping on a boycott bandwagon is not necessarily a PC thing to do. In fact, in my opinion, it is rarely a correct thing to do. Too many people jump on these bandwagons simply because someone they know has done the same, and it is very likely that no one has taken the small amount of time needed to check facts and then think about it. It is easy, way too easy on social media, to click on something, or share something that sounds like a good idea. We all need to be more mindful. We all need to toss PC in the trash bin and be more intentional.

We are presently being played, big time, by Steve Bannon, the puppet master pulling Trump's strings. He is laughing at us. He tells Trump to ban immigrants and refugees, and the left boycotts Uber! Hilarious! We fools are doing exactly what he wants us to do - taking our eyes off the reality of his political coup and fighting among ourselves.

Let's be smart, not PC.

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