This whole thing around shaming people for “supporting ” because they bought a product or service is actually kind of shitty

There’s nothing wrong with the line of thought that goes: if I’m going to spend money on something, I’d prefer to spend it with the least objectionable people. It’s awesome when someone loses business because they behave badly

But shaming or anger directed at people who weigh that differently is controlling and awful. People need things (including art and entertainment!); very often, meeting those needs means dealing with people/orgs they’d rather not.

You’re not a bad person for buying something from Amazon or Walmart, even though those are awful companies

You’re not “supporting evil” by using GitHub or Gmail, even though it enriches MS and Google

You’re not awful for streaming a Harry Potter movie, even though JKR is a bigoted turd

Sure, if you have better options, I encourage you to use them. I’ll even recommend some! But you’re not bad; you’re not “supporting” the bad things those people and orgs do; you’re just trying to live through this plutocratic hellscape


Yep. "There is no ethical consumption under capitalism."

@mwlucas @calcifer Alllll of this. I try to not use the big evil companies but like, I am forced by insurance to use CVS for prescriptions I need to live, I need a word processing program that reliably saves to DOC format to do both my jobs, and I cannot always get other sundry needs from a small business (either in time for when I need it, or sometimes at all). The math sometimes works out to “the most evil option is also the only option.”

@ByTylerHayes @calcifer

My health insurance declares that I will get my long-term meds from the most evil insurance company I know of (UHC), or do without. :flan_shrug:

I'd love to be able to buy things locally, but the reality of living in rural Ireland is I either buy from Amazon, or I drive an hour to Dublin, pay to park, hope I can find what I need, pay 20% to 50% more for it, and drive home.
It doesn't make sense financially or environmentally for me to do that. 🤷‍♂️


@calcifer buys bottled water in Egypt because the tap water is undrinkable

"why are you supporting Nestlé???"


on board with that, almost entirely, up to the point where saying anything at all about how bad a thing is gets amped all the way up to being called "shaming"


(and not saying you're doing that here. Rather, I've seen people take a rhetorical first-mover advantage, cast critiques of a thing or any alternate approaches as shaming and thus shut down discussion)

@idlestate yeah that’s also shitty. To be fair though, context and framing matter a lot.

Responding to someone who mentions buying something with some criticism about how problematic the purveyor is? That is shitty and unkind; it serves no purpose other than making the original person feel bad


Like you say, context matters.

You have to assume the person already knows whatever the problem is in order for there to be no use. Maybe they do know? If so, bygones. They made an informed choice based on their priorities.

But it's a big complicated world with lots of nuanced shittiness, with new people and things coming in from both directions: New bad things, and people who are new to whatever it is.

This is the missing stair problem essentially, to prioritize our own comfort in avoiding being the bearer of bad tidings, but rather to stand back and watch while someone moves along a path they very well may come to regret anyway, and with greater harm all around, eventually.

I've pointed out things like this (choices, but not purchases) to people a few times, never lightly. I've worked at being respectful about it.

In a couple of cases folks were really appreciative. In one case someone got hyperbolically defensive despite my caution--they had clearly made an informed choice--and I noped away from that topic with them, but with a clearer and more cautious glimpse into their priorities.

@idlestate @calcifer

I was faced with the dilemma recently a second hand book (in German) that I had wanted for some time was *only* easily available via Amazon (they deal better with import duty issues and any customer service problems or non-delivery); but a big reason for this being that misguided fools in my country voted away 50 years of our integration with the EU by a very small margin (which was not something I supported at all, but have to live with due to democracy..) >>


yup. people making decisions like this every day. I do too.


@idlestate @calcifer

even within Britain there's an issue that so many businesses have outsourced a lot of their customer service/delivery to Amazon rather than dealing directly with customers (some local businesses openly admit they cannot match Amazon on delivery times and responsiveness, they do give a slight discount if you buy from them direct but you have to wait an extra few days for dispatch - others don't deal directly with customers at all (only via Amazon)


I've bought bulk, loose rooibos "tea" via Amazon.

Ran out, now using some teabags and soon face the challenge of how next to get it. Just one of many examples.


@idlestate @calcifer

Amazon, for all their faults, are very good at making useful products from small/medium family businesses in China available to the West in small quantities reasonable delivery times - everything from car maintenance tools to miniature computers. If I deal directly with the Chinese companies they are often only geared up to sell 100/200+ units and/or I would have to deal with shipping, HM Revenue and Customs, duty, myself...

@idlestate if you’re in the US, consider TeaSource

They source pretty carefully, their customer service is great, and I’ve never had a quality problem with any tea I’ve tried from them.

@calcifer I think eventually we all reach the point where we have to decide whether it's better to be mice in the walls rather than bravely defying everything.

"Join in the rebuilding
Sing loudly at your labor
Make friends with the new guys
Be nice to your neighbor
Profess keen interest in the welfare of the state

Taste everything they feed you
Say it tastes real great
Spit it down your sleeve
Every time you get the chance
This is just a brief improvisation in the dance"

@spaceportmarketwizard I would hope we all grow to see it’s not as simple a dichotomy, and that standing up and making things better is not served by shaming victims of the plutarchs and purity-testing the oppressed

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