Social Purchasing Power

I frequently read a Web site that discusses Apple products, like Mac computers and iPhones. This morning there was an article about Apple entering the payment processing business. One of the commenters to the story pointed out a company already doing a great job in payment processing but refused to do business with them because of their anti-2nd Amendment agenda. A couple of other commenters thought it was silly to base business decisions on the social “agendas” of companies. It only took a moment for me to realize I do exactly the same thing.

I don’t like the deep-fried chicken parts of unknown origin at Chick-fil-A; but even if I did I wouldn’t eat their food because the corporate ownership are very public homophobes. When Exxon bought Mobil Oil they tore up Mobil’s very inclusive Equal Employment document and wrote one that’s much more limited. I don’t buy at ExxonMobil. Staying with the petrolium theme, I won’t buy BP because of the Gulf oil spill they haven’t done enough to clean. There are probably a dozen more companies that I go out of my way to avoid because of their public social stances on a variety of subjects even though it’s occasionally inconvenient.

This can go the other way too. I make a point of shopping at Whole Foods whenever I’m passing near the store.  Even though it’s significantly out of the way for normal grocery shopping, I approve of their stance on environmental issues. Chipotlé’s chicken parts are grilled and locally sourced whenever possible; I enjoy their food and like doing business with them.

What about you? What companies do you avoid and which will you go out of your way to support?