Boycotts. Sometimes they work. Sometimes they don’t. There’s nothing wrong with withdrawing patronage from a business for whatever reason – bad service, bad morals, etc. I silently take my business elsewhere when it comes to a handful of places. And, on the other hand, I have companies I prefer doing business with – like O’Reilly’s Auto.
The problem with Christians boycotting is that 1) it takes “the light” out of the business, and 2) while the company’s bottom line may not be hurt, decreased sales and tips (think Starbucks) affects the employees who may be on “your side’ of the issue and who are just trying to make a living. In theory, enough Christians may be hurting Starbucks income in Texas. But what do you tell those baristas when they end up closing a location? “Sorry you lost your job sweetie, but I’m doing the Christian thing by boycotting. God bless you as you look for another job.” (Okay that’s a bit much, but you get the idea).
Now, I’m not a financial planner or economist, and I don’t understand the finer points of Wall Street, but I crunched some numbers and came up with this:
If 142 million Evangelical Christians (half of the worlds total estimated Evangelical Christians) spent $200 each year and purchased stock in Target (TGT) or Starbucks (SBUX), they could would have the purchasing power of $28.4 billion. At this mornings stock quotes that would purchase over 246 million shares of Starbucks and almost 172 million shares of Target. In a year 28% of Target would be owned by believers. After two years of this, believers would own 33% of Starbucks! What kind of impact do you think that would make on company policies?
Boycotting makes us feel good, and has it’s place, but its long-term effects are questionable. Can you imagine what Target would be supporting in 3 years when over half of the shareholders are believers?
(SBUX at $57.72 with 1.478B shares outstanding; TGT at $82.6 with 596M shares outstanding. Based on opening numbers, Apr 27, 2016)