I know this is a non-starter. Costco has high-quality products at low prices. Their employees are well-paid (if I’m not mistaken) and there always seems to be a really upbeat vibe inside the store.
Besides, if you do a web search for “Boycott Costco,” not many links come up.
But I’m gonna rant anyway. Costco spent $22.5 million — the largest election purchase in Washington State’s history — promoting Initiative 1183 to privatize the state’s liquor industry. Costco funded a similar initiative last year but it got defeated. So Costco changed the wording a little, quadrupled their campaign spending and — Presto — the voters “saw” things differently this time. 60% voted Yes on 1183.
Currently in Washington you have to buy your booze at a state-run liquor store. They’re open until 8 or 9 p.m.; closed Sundays and holidays. It’s a bit less convenient, but I never heard of anyone going through the DTs because they couldn’t get to the liquor store on time. (You can buy beer and wine at any grocery store or mini-mart; just not liquor.)
Every state is different; I didn’t see why Washington’s approach was a problem. I spent most of my adult life in California where every grocery store and mini-mart has a full liquor selection. That seemed like the norm, so when we moved to Washington, their state liquor stores took some getting used to. (Washington’s system will be similar to California’s when 1183 takes effect next year.) In some other states (e.g. Wyoming), if you want anything alcoholic — even beer or wine — you have to go into a bar and buy it off-sale.
So every state does it differently. I don’t see why a huge corporation needed to spend $22.5 million just to change the liquor laws in one state. And if you shop at Costco and notice their prices going up, you’ll know the reason.
I don’t know whether people voted for 1183 because they thought the price of booze would go down, or because it’s just too difficult to get to the liquor store before 9 p.m. So far the only effect of 1183 is that about 1,000 state liquor department employees will be out of work.
The Yes on 1183 campaign was a perfect petri dish to show how endlessly-repeated propaganda seeps into the public consciousness. Washington residents were bombarded for months with TV, online and newspaper ads saying “let’s get the state out of the liquor industry.”
And that exact phrase has been used in countless editorials, answers to survey questions and letters to the editor. Recite the same slogan often enough and the parrots will repeat it.
So anyway, there probably won’t be any sort of boycott of Costco. But the nearest Costco happens to be next door to a Grocery Outlet, which also has high quality products at low prices. And unlike Costco — if you see an item you like at Grocery Outlet, you don’t have to buy fifty of them.
Let’s hope the local Grocery Outlet siphons off a few Costco shoppers.