As most of you know, I live on the gulf coast in Biloxi, Mississippi (at the moment), although I'm a NYC native. Obviously, my zip code puts me face to face with the BP disaster. Some fireworks shows were cancelled due to safety hazards of explosions and tarballs. Beaches are closed. Hurricane paranoia is amplified in fear of a tar-laden tsunami covering Biloxi. Every other commercial attempts to amass volunteers to save the wildlife. It's real fucked up. I get it.
All over the social web, there are boycott BP groups cropping up. I have been really tempted to join them, but I try not to express political views from within an ecosystem like that if they are not my words so I've refrained. Years of military service have taught to be aware of the light in which I portray myself.
So, I have been doing some reading and thinking and thinking and reading about all of this. I have come to a conclusion. I'm not going to boycott BP. Before you decide to tarball and feather me, I'll explain.
1) Boycotting BP and not buying their gas hurts BP? No, it doesn't (at least not most severely). Their stations are independently owned and operated. So, if Jimmy from high school owns a BP station now, you're hurting him. Does he deserve that? He didn't know this would happen when he bought into the company with his own station.
2) If gas is cheaper at BP, and I'm not necessarily saying it is, shouldn't you save the money in this downturn economy to put back into our country? Moreover, couldn't you take the savings and give to the relief efforts where you'll see your money work saving animals and clean up the shoreline? The situation is negative so do something positive to counter it. Don't fire back with more negativity.
3) Did you know that BP stations don't always use BP gas? This is not confirmed but I've heard that there are instances where individual owners will use a third-party gasoline. If that is true, do you know which stations are doing this at what times?
4) I scream, you scream, we all scream for gasoline. How many of the picketers and anti-BP folks drive to cleanups or demonstrations or to competing companies stations in SUVs and gas guzzlers? BP, like many others, are drilling way the hell out in deep, dangerous water because they have to. One reason is that they keep pumping and we keep buying to fuel our lives. The other reason is because they have to. They can't drill closer to shore where it may be safer. The Alaska situation puts them in the gulf.
5) You think this is a picnic for BP? They're not losing money yet but their profits are cut. The business of business is business. They are here to make a buck and that's not happening as well right about now. I'm sure nobody at BP is having a good day lately. What happens if we all boycott and put them out of business. Then who the hell is gonna fix this mess? Give them the cash so they can shut it down.
6) Are all other companies exempt from an accident of this magnitude? Seriously... this could not have been someone else? It's an accident and it sucks and any other company can have the same issue on any one of their rigs at any moment.
7) BP is in a lot of places. The name stands for British Petrol. Clearly they're not limited to the US. No matter how hard you try, you're not gonna make a dent by boycotting them. Quit stomping your feet and find a better outlet for your frustration.
I'm not here to exonerate them. They've screwed up royally since the accident. A company in Canada (aka America Junior or America's Hat) farms a particular kind of peat for this exact reason. It's a magical solution offered to BP and they turned it down. Why, you ask? Ok, I'll tell you. Because when it is used they can't recover any oil from it. Well you're not gonna recover oil from the marshes in Louisiana or the dead animals either, dingbat, so use the stupid peat and clean it up. That's a mistake.
I think it all boils down to an accident that is just too big for them. Ever lift something to heavy or take on a project to large for yourself and need help? I tried moving a full fish tank by myself once. The worst part about it is that there was nobody around to help and I struggled, spilled water and it took me three times as long to get it done. Funny that my analogy is a fish tank, huh? There's your BP situation drawn to scale. Fish tank had to be moved = not given a choice on where to drill. It was bigger than I anticipated and I couldn't handle it under the circumstances = something went wrong and there was an explosion. Enough said or do I have to continue? The biggest problem I had was that I was alone. Nobody was there to help me. We were offered help but it took someone a long, damn time to accept it. I guess he wanted his largest contributor to climb out of this mess on their own so they could be the hero to their own problem.
All that being said, if anyone wants to mail me a check to foot the difference and subsidize my fuel needs from another company, I'll be happy to oblige. Until that point... I'm going where I can make the most difference on my wallet. I have local responsibilities in my home that come before saving the world. I won't seek out BP stations but when I need gas, I need gas. Plain and simple.
I'm sure this is unpopular. Oh well. What else is new?