Finley: It’s bad business to pick sides
The last thing I want to worry about when booking a flight, or ordering a rental car or reserving a hotel room is where the providers of those services stand on the divisive political and social issues of our day.
All I want to know is whether they can deliver the goods as promised.
But the debate over gun control and the rash decision by many companies to join the anti-gun forces have me continuously checking the list of those that have teamed with the #BoycottNRA movement to determine if I can get the things I need without dealing with them.
It’s not that I’m so sympathetic to the National Rifle Association; I’m not a member, though I am a gun owner and avid supporter of the Second Amendment. I feel the NRA tends to shoot itself in the foot in the same way that abortion advocates do in not recognizing that all rights are subject to reasonable restrictions. In both cases, the fear of the slippery slope pushes them away from compromises that would be in their best interests.
But for me, this isn’t about the NRA. It’s about my objection to companies that serve a mass customer base either intentionally signaling their political leanings or bowing to outside pressure to come down on one side or another of a contentious issue.
In a country as passionately divided as ours, and as evenly, it’s bad business for businesses to pick sides. It expresses a hostility toward customers who hold a different viewpoint.
Delta Airlines and the other corporations that are succumbing to pressure from anti-gun groups may as well add a caveat to their advertising that says, “If you’re a gun owner, we don’t want your money.”
Perhaps in this case, those who have signed on to the boycott believe the cause is so universally endorsed in the wake of the Florida shootings that there’s no financial downside to caving in to the zealots trying to strip away gun rights. I hope they’ve miscalculated. Already, Georgia Republicans have threatened to yank a lucrative state tax break from Delta.
Boycotts beget counter boycotts. In a country so evenly divided, for every customer who might be gained when a company expresses overt support for a political or social cause, another is offended.
A Politico/Morning Consult survey released Wednesday found that 36 percent of Americans feel more favorable about a company affiliated with the NRA, while 34 percent feel less so. But most important, 40 percent say they would avoid doing business with a company that expresses political views with which they disagree.
Why take that risk, especially since there appears to be no return? MetLife, one of the companies that joined the boycot, saw no improvement in its favorability rating of 45 percent as a result, but its negative rating doubled to 24 percent.
I don’t expect virtue from the companies who make the products I buy. I want quality at a fair price. I don’t want to weigh every purchase based on whether the manufacturer has insulted my political sensibilities.
NRA boycott organizers are using Delta, Avis and crew as a stepping stone to pressure Yahoo, Amazon and Google to purge their sites of the organization’s videos. To topple the Second Amendment, they’re willing to trample the First. Do these companies really want to be enablers of censorship?
Corporations best serve their shareholders and their employees by staying in their lanes and out of the political and cultural traffic jams.
As a customer, if you judge me you aren’t getting my money.
Catch The Nolan Finley Show weekdays 7-9 a.m. on 910 AM Superstation.