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No soup for us.

August 17, 2017

The lady stands in line at the supermarket return counter, patiently waiting her turn. She looks to be in her mid-thirties, her hair pulled into a ponytail, dressed in a tank top, black shorts and sandals. In her arms is a cardboard box. It is seven in the evening on a perfectly ordinary Wednesday.

When she gets to the front of the line she takes out 21 cans of Campbell’s soup and a receipt and asks for her money back.

When asked the reason for the return she simply says “I don’t want them anymore” and points at the side of the box.

Written neatly on it in heavy black marker were these words.

Campbell’s doesn’t support the President or America, so I won’t support them.

The cashier gave back her money (and the box) and went on to the next person. I might have been the only person close enough to hear the conversation and read the words on the box.

She didn’t make a big deal out of it, so I waited until she got outside to engage her in conversation.

She clearly wasn’t looking for publicity and she was hesitant to speak at first. Finally she said

“It’s just my own private little boycott. I don’t say anyone else should do it. But these humongous companies and their rich owners are such idiots. They would rather the country fail than admit that both sides in that riot were wrong. There was nothing wrong or bad or racist about what the President did or said about the riot. Both the far left and the far right are wrong. When my two boys get into an actual physical fight I don’t cuddle one and spank the other one. They both get a lecture on settling their problems without fighting, and they both get grounded. I can make soup and freeze it. I don’t need to buy it, and I won’t, ever again.”

She turned away, and I thought she was finished when she suddenly turned around.

“You know what I think about those CEO’s?  I think the ones that quit were saying, ‘F.U. Mr. and Mrs. Working America.  We were only here because it looks good on our resumes. We don’t care about your needs at all.’ That’s what I really think they are saying.”

And then she really was gone.

For people that missed the story that prompted her actions,  the President had put together two forums of business and financial leaders to help him formulate business, employment,  tax, and trade policies to help improve America’s economic outlook.

A bunch of those corporate CEO’s got their skirts in a ruffle over the President’s remarks that both sides in Charlottesville were wrong, and resigned from the two main forums as a sign of protest, citing board and stockholder pressure to do so. One of those resigning was the CEO of Campbell Soup.

Since he was going to lose many if not all of the forum members anyway, President Trump then disbanded both forums.

Musings has no way of knowing if Main Street America as a whole sees the fallout from Charlottesville in the same light as the soup return lady does, and as a practical matter, even if they do, it isn’t possible to boycott everything these corporate giants make or do.

The point of reporting this little vignette is that it so perfectly illustrates the chasm between the politicians, the media, the elites and the people.

Main Street thinks in terms of the practical. That doesn’t mean pitting black against white for political gain, or choosing hate over tolerance.  It means charting a course for the country that gets us all back to relative prosperity and safety.

Corporate America,  you might do well to remember that.

There might be more soup return ladies out there than you counted on.

From → op-ed

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