Destroying a coffee maker is not a boycott

Recently, tv and radio show host Sean Hannity interviewed Roy Moore, a candidate for the U.S. Senate from Alabama. Moore, as we all know, is mired in quite a mess. He is accused of sexual molestation of an underage girl and pursuing a relationship with several teenage girls. By all accounts, the interview was a friendly one. Critics of Hannity claim the interview questions were too soft.

The accusations against Moore put most conservatives in an impossible position and given the years gone by, we will never know what really happened. As it is a month out from the special election in Alabama, it is easy to think the whole story has been to torpedo Moore’s campaign.

Enter Media Matters for America. This liberal non-profit organization was formed as a watchdog of conservative media outlets. Let’s be honest – we’re talking about Fox News. Alerting their activists via social media, the push was on for Hannity’s show sponsors to withdraw from advertising on his shows. Over the weekend, names of sponsors pulling advertising became known and the reactions on social media were as you may expect. Supporters were outraged and critics were delighted.

The first sponsor to pull advertising dollars was Keurig, the coffee maker company. The second sponsor mentioned was However, by Monday, Saturday’s decision was reversed by and their sponsorship continues. As the Washington Post article reports, other companies announced ending sponsorships, too.

In addition to Keurig, four other advertisers confirmed on Twitter over the weekend that they will not be running TV ads on the “Hannity” show: Eloquii, a plus-size women’s clothing company; 23 and Me, a DNA genetic testing company; and Nature’s Bounty, a vitamin manufacturer.

Hannity supporters announced a boycott of Keurig but then it got weird. Supporters began making videos of smashing the coffee makers and Hannity was only too happy to encourage that.

Over the weekend, Hannity fans posted videos destroying their Keurig coffee machines and encouraging others to do the same. One smashed a Keurig coffeemaker with a golf club, another pounded one with a hammer, and another dropped a Keurig from a second-story balcony, watching it shatter on the cement below while saying, “Hope you’re happy, Keurig.”

Hannity shared the videos and commended his “deplorable friends.”

“Thank you and Game on!” he tweeted Sunday.”

Smashing a product already purchased isn’t a boycott, it is a temper tantrum. The company already has the consumer’s money. Hitting a company in the pocketbook is a very effective way to voice an opinion as a consumer. Using a hashtag on Twitter – #BoycottKeurig – and then smashing a coffee maker, though, isn’t a boycott. It’s just dumb.

Many years ago, as a young working woman, I read a book about conscious consumerism. I practice it regularly. In today’s polarized political environment, with politics seeping into all aspects of our lives, I would say conscious consumerism is a necessity. It’s an effective way for your hard-earned dollars to work for you.

Don’t let the perpetual outrage machine in social media mislead you. Boycott as often as necessary. Skip the temper tantrums.