Boycotts are Powerful and Dangerous Tools: Know Your Facts

28 Apr

I heard about a call to boycott Arizona Iced Tea, which got me to thinking about boycotts.

The new immigration law enacted in Arizona has inflamed debate by supporters and detractors. Some have called for tourist boycotts of Arizona as a way of demonstrating displeasure with the new law. This approach worked once before when Arizona opted not to declare Martin Luther King Day a State holiday. The National Football League joined that boycott and refused to award Arizona with the ability to host a Super Bowl until the State approved a state holiday honoring Dr. King.

I received an email requesting that we join a boycott of Arizona Iced Tea to protest Arizona’s passage of the immigration law. My teenage son loves this iced tea, particularly their Arnold Palmer line that mixes lemonade with iced tea, so we have plenty in the house. This is one wrong-headed boycott. Arizona Iced Tea is a privately owned company with headquarters in Lake Success, New York. It is not based in Arizona and boycotting Arizona Iced Tea will only hurt a Long Island business and have no effect in Arizona.

People have a right to use their economic power to boycott products, but in making such a decision, please know the facts. Before boycotting any company, make sure the boycott will have the intended effect. Boycotting Arizona Iced Tea only hurts a New York-based business.