Wednesday, July 02, 2008

A Difficult Decision

Tesco Ireland had a very difficult decision to make. The corporate heads got together and crunched numbers, to see if there was some other way to avoid taking the slightest hit to the bottom line.

For anyone else, the decision to boycott products from Zimbabwe would take less than a second of thought. Residents of the troubles African nation are being beaten for exercising their right to vote, all dissent is stifled with barbarity, and the misery won't stop until the world unites against the thug Mugabe. Of course you wouldn't buy anything from Zimbabwe.

Not so easy for Tesco. They buy from Robert Mugabe's fellow thugs because it saves money. Zimbabwean goods that can be had on the cheap are preferable to any other nation's more expensive product.

Many years ago, the Dunnes store chain faced a boycott of another nature, when the check out ladies wouldn't ring up oranges from South Africa. They nearly lost their jobs in a protest that dragged on for months, but in the end, the Irish people realized that supporting a despised regime financially was the wrong thing to do, even if it ended up costing everyone a little bit more.

Tesco Ireland took a look back and recalled the clerks' protest that was supported by the buying public. No need, in this day of fierce competition, to be on the wrong side of public opinion. Let one person walk into a Tesco and ask if anything in the shop comes from Zimbabwe, and the resounding answer will now be "No".

If you pop in to your local Tesco, you won't find runner beans amongst the produce. When enough consumers apply enough pressure to other retailers, all Zimbabwean goods will disappear from the shops, and one of Robert Mugabe's sources of cash will dry up completely. It is unfortunate that the workers in Zimbabwe will be made to suffer even more, but removing a cancer can be painful, and is followed by great relief after a successful surgery.

No comments: