News I Can Use

by , posted on Thursday, June 17th, 2010 at 10:51 pm

I just wanted to send a public thank you out to the Daily Herald, a right-leaning publication that is everywhere in the Chicago Burbs. Yesterday, the Herald published an (unsurprising for them) piece about the BP boycott. It was one of those human-interesty things that seemed designed to make us all rethink who we are really hurting by boycotting BP – “pity the little guy” (or do I mean small guy) type of thing. Along with a description of things these guys are thinking about doing to help with the clean up.

True, DH stopped short of apologizing to the CEO of BP, but they did characterize the ongoing environmental disaster to our south as an incident that “has added to the corporation’s woes” as “President Obama and environmental groups” are being so mean as to pressure them to stop the leak and stuff.

Eh, but the piece soon gets back on track in asking us to consider the woes of the poor franchisees who really own those BP stations. Now I normally consider myself a fan of the small business owner – I’ve known many a Mom and Pop who pour their time, love and soul into their business. But it’s a little harder to feel sorry for these franchise owners, since the story details how many of these things each owns – hint, in no case is the answer “one.”

Anyway the real value of the piece to me was the quote from Bob Juckniess, president of RWJ Management (10 BP stations) who wanted us all to know that we don’t know what we’re doing.

In a couple of choice paragraphs at the end of the piece we get:

Still, taking out any wrath against the independent, suburban business owner won’t change the course of events in the Gulf. In fact, buying gasoline at another station to spite BP may not work either, said Juckniess.

“People think they’re boycotting BP, but then they go to Thorton, Costco or Gas City and BP supplies their gasoline, too,” said Juckniess. “Odds are, if they think they’re boycotting BP, they very well could be at another station with BP gas and not know it.”

Good to know. Now I can stay away from those places too. And Mr. Juckniess? It’s not spite we’re feeling out here, in fact in my case I wouldn’t even call the consumer response a boycott. A conscience would be closer to the mark.

Tonight, after a day that started with a job interview, proceeded to driving a friend to the hospital and waiting for her through a procedure, moved straight from dropping her off to rushing to work, and straight after work to realizing it was about 9:30 at night and I’m out of gas and have another day like this tomorrow, I almost pulled into a BP station – the only one around.

And then I discovered I just could not make myself do it – I would be too ashamed. So I drove home and am hoping I can find a non-BP station in the morning before I run out of gas.

This is no boycott and this is not spite – this is revulsion.

Besides, Mr. Juckniess, your revenues aren’t that far down – one owner said her’s werent down at all – and yours? 20%???

Come on people, can’t we do better than 20%?


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