Sunday, June 24, 2007

Boycotting Merchants and Vendors

If you are looking for a card-look later tonight. I am answering some inquiries about boycotts today.

Many people ask why I boycott companies or products. As a consumer with disposable income, I believe other than writing letters, being vocal at the craft stores and informing and educating my friends, boycotting is my form of protest. I always inform the companies that I am boycotting why I am doing it and how to get it to stop. Much of my protesting is also being done by others who feel the same.
Martha Stewart at Micheal's is a big and well known boycott at this point and it's a fairly new one. I will not buy anything with Martha Stewart on the labels-this includes magazines, books, craft products, household supplies etc. I believe she thought she was above the rules and flaunted it and made money falsely and at the expense of those who do follow the rules. While she serves a short incarceration and paid a fine, others lost their lively hood because of her lies and deceits and they were NOT rewarded with more money making possibilities. Some are now on welfare or making less than they previously were. Her products at Michael's are sitting on the shelves because they cannot be discounted per her contract with EK Success and are exclusive to Micheal's (yeah right, before they even debuted in the stores EBay had tons of them to sell). Micheal's personnel say the products are just sitting and few are buying them as they are overpriced and bland.

So people ask about my boycotting of Provocraft/Cuttlebug etc. Back when the Cricut was first introduced, small independent shops were not allowed to discount the machine one penny. Yet Wal-mart was practically giving them away at wholesale prices-marking them down 50% or more at times. The little guy who stocked up on them and then could not give their loyal customers even 10% off got stuck with machines for months. Supposedly there was a shortage of machines but Wal-Mart always seemed to have them. Even Micheal's had a hard time getting them and they Were allowed to discount but not as much as Wal-Mart. The s**t hit the fan so to speak when stores that decided they had to do something to move stock decided to sell them cheaper than Provocraft dictated. They did not advertise them as being on sale-you either had to put them in your online basket to see the sale prices or ask at the customer service centers for the unadvertised pricing which is how the agreements were written. Provocraft heard about this "unauthorized" sales tactic and cut off the stores from all products. Many local stores and online stores used a large amount of staple products like glues, paper etc and now they had to scramble to find replacements for these well made products.

Shoppers like myself who were long time users of the glues wrote Provocraft complaining about the different set of rules for the little guy vs. Wal-mart and got form letters back basically saying they didn't care. Their bottom line was their own pockets and the all inclusive agreement and set of rules for Wal-mart. So I and many others will never buy another Provocraft item until they make one set of rules and abide by them for all crafting. I was boycotting Wal-mart long ago so nothing will ever change there!)

Provocraft has also left the original owners of the Cricut pretty much on the limb when they introduced the new machine recently and did not address problems with upgrading the ones who put Cricut on the map for them. I would love to sell mine along with all its cartridges (all of which I bought before the whole fiasco started) but when Wal-Mart etc can sell them new at almost half of what I paid-I am kinda stuck, ya think?

Just so no one feels I am picking on any one company here-I also boycott McDonald's. For many years they used beef fat (and still do last I heard) in their fries. This was even after they advertised they used healthy fats. It was devastating to the Hindu community to find out they did in fact use beef products in the fries but lied about it for a decade. McDonald's lost 10 million in a Class Action law suit but still continued to use the same fat (altho they now labeled some products). Being a vegetarian myself, I was deeply sickened that I had this product in my body and I have not eaten fries in the Golden Arches in years. Makes you wonder what else they were hiding.

I also will never shop at Borders Book Stores again. I purchased an item and it rang up 5.00 more than the price on the book. The bar code they placed on the book was wrong but when I returned it, they said it was correct, even after I looked online in the kiosks in the store to check the prices and the retail price was 14.99 in every place online including their own Internet store. I returned the entire bag of products that day-165.00-and informed them I would not be back. A Barnes and Noble opened a few weeks previously across the street and I went there instead. Will my boycotting Borders change anything? I have no clue but the company itself is in financial trouble and needs to clean up its act and treat good customers better and hire personnel with a better attitude than "Oh Well"

I speak with my wallet and my mouth as a consumer. I will not be used and abused by merchants, vendors, or be made to buy simply because everyone else is buying. I think before I purchase.

Boycotting and complaining does work. I was awarded 100.00 by my state consumers office after Best Buy gave me the run around on a rain check a few years ago. Employees were holding products for their friends instead of honoring rain checks for customers as promised. All it took was one visit to the store manager, who was a wash and one email to my state attorney general. Very little of my time but worth it. And the rain check that wasn't being taken seriously? I took it to a competitor of Best Buy and they honored it and gave me another 10% off! Guess where I go back to these days?

I hope this enlightens you to my boycotting history and that it will help make your purchases in the future well thought out to fairness for all. I will post another card instead of War and Peace later tonight.

5 comments:

  1. WOW...I didn't know most of what you talked about! I have been privately boycotting Michael's and Martha's stuff mainly because of the limitations on the coupons. WHy even have the coupons when you don't let us use it on anything big? I didn't realize all the stuff about Provocraft...I bought mine at Michael's with a 50% coupon and the next week they put up the limitations...makes you think...thanks for the info!

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  2. Jan, Thank you for enlightening us on this matter. Some of it was new news to me. I agree with you completely. My local scrapbooking store owner was just telling me about provocraft a few days ago and also that they are really pushing them to buy the Martha Stewart line. When they do they have to buy it all not cherrypick it, and couldn't get it until September. I advised her not to buy it that it wasn't going well at Michaels and really wasn't worth it. She agreed. HOpefully, more companies will not fall for the lure of Martha.

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  3. wow....I was totally clueless about the company Provo Craft. I (personally) have never heard a complaint about them or their tactics. However, I HAVE heard various complaints about Martha Stewarts Products (you can't use the 40% coupon and that they are over priced). I do have to say that your Boycotting Merchants and Vendors was an interesting "read"

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  4. My mother had a lawn service come and spray for whatever the service sprays for. She set it up to have them come back once a month. The very first visit, they broke a tree that was newly planted, and left a "snake" pattern in the grass where the hoses lay. She called the company, told them she cancelled the service, and would be requesting retribution. This was over a year ago. It took about a year of letter writing and phone calling to get the damages repaired, and all during that time the service continued to do thier duty (although she cancelled it). Near the end of the year, she got "over due" bills and phone calls, to which she replied "When I get a new tree, you'll get your check." It's amazing what a little boycott will get you...

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  5. I just found your post via Scrapbook Update. You reminded me that I, too, boycott Martha Stewart, but not because of the same reasons. I boycott her because her items never go on sale! The whole store (Joanns or Michaels) could be on sale, but not her stuff. And I like to feel that if I am buying someone's product, like Lisa Bearnson, it should be their work. I don't ever get the feeling that Martha is actually designing and doing all the scrapbooking, magazine, home dec and website work, all on her own.

    Leslie

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Thank you for stopping by and sitting a spell with me and mine. I hope you take away a smile!