– by The Shitty Activist
If we activists could unite on one thing, it’d be our hatred of corporations.
Take a drive down the local strip, and you’ll roam through a wasteland of McDonalds, 7-11’s, and Wal-Marts. Nearly every business is now a national—or global—chain, and to find a truly independent, locally-owned store you’ve got to do some hunting.
So how do we eliminate these multinational conglomerates that are destroying our environment, mistreating and underpaying their workers, and pumping out a bunch of cheap, toxic crap, and replace them with small, local, sustainable alternatives?
First, we must all vow to continue our tirade against these soulless corporations through word of mouth, via social media, in letters to the editor, and through public protest. Expose their deforestation and air pollution, their sweatshops and poverty wages, their nutrition-less food and disposable junk, their overseas tax havens and filthy rich CEOs.
Make sure your friends, family, co-workers, and acquaintances know how diabolical these mega-chains truly are. Encourage the media to report on it. Complain about it to your elected officials. Remind the world that these corporations are nothing less than the Death Star, and they must be destroyed before they kill us all.
I know what you’re thinking: Is that your big solution? Just whine about these businesses and hope they go away?
Of course not. Talking about how wicked corporations are without taking meaningful action is the same as doing nothing at all. So here’s my proposal:
Make a list of your top ten most hated corporations. Map out their locations in your city or town. Then take a quick visit to each of the stores, for a little recon.
Then, after you’ve compiled your research and put yourself into the right mental headspace, you strike!
Stroll into the first of these vile establishments, say a T.G.I. Friday’s, and make a purchase. Just a plate of cheese sticks and a Coke, nothing so extravagant that you’ll attract unneeded attention. Smile at your server, nod at all the passive sheep around you, and consume the crap, I mean, food—ironically, of course.
Here’s the hard part: do everything in your power to convince yourself that you’re enjoying the fatty, salty, sweet garbage you’re shoveling down your gullet. A part of you might want to throw up, or call out in dismay that expecting anything other than processed and unnatural food substitutes for a mere 4 dollars is absurd. But, remember, you’re undercover, and can’t give yourself away. If it helps, think of yourself as a method actor, sinking deep into your character.
The next day, take a trip down to your local Wal-Mart and pick up a twelve-pack of fly swatters for seventy-five cents, a half-gallon of Vaseline for a buck fifty, and a pair of underwear for two dollars. Yes, it’s cheap. Yes, it’s garbage. But make sure to nod amiably at the cashier as you swipe your credit card.
The day after, stay at home and order all the products you need (or don’t need) from Amazon and have them delivered straight to your door.
Repeat this formula every day for the next several weeks. Or months. Years, even.
Over time, by making regular purchases from these corporate monsters, you’ll slowly win their trust. Once you’ve given them thousands of dollars, they’ll assume you’re on their team, when secretly, you hate everything they stand for!
Meanwhile, small, independently-owned businesses will be disappearing all around you. Be sure to mourn their passing and speak publicly about the need to support the local economy, reminding everyone how it’s the corporations fault this is happening. I know it will be hard to resist the temptation to occasionally buy something from these small businesses, but refrain at all costs because doing so will only blow your cover. Remember, you’re playing the long con, here.
Finally, when the last local business has been shuttered for good, and all that’s left are the same handful of mediocre and generic corporate products, you’ll whip off your mindless consumer mask and reveal who you truly are! The very person who has been buying their products loyally for years is actually their biggest enemy? Whaaaat?! Watch as their corporate minds are blown!
And that’s when the corporations will realize what they’ve done. How people truly are okay with paying slightly more for a higher-quality product, and supporting entrepreneurs who pay their employees a living wage, keeping money in the local economy.
Then, these very corporations will dissolve their assets and donate their earnings to local community members, who will reopen their abandoned businesses and finally create the local, small-scale, and sustainable economy that we’ve all been dreaming of!
But none of this is going to happen overnight. To get there, you’ve got to do your part.