Wash that Whopper down with a Frappuccino

Beth Rankin

I have a bit of fiscal advice for you.

What sort of financial tips can you get from a person with $4.44 in her savings account? Why, sociopolitical fiscal advice, of course.

Everybody wants to boycott these days, and I can’t blame them. Baby Gap’s tiny sweater vests are made by tiny babies. Wal-Mart pays illegal immigrants to wash its floors with Strychnine for $2 an hour. The $400 you just spent on textbooks will go to some aging businessman’s preteen hooker fund.

I’m exaggerating a bit (a small bit), but you get the point. What I’m trying to tell you is that you can say a lot more with the money you do spend than with the money you don’t.

Those of you who choose not to consume meat may boycott fast-food establishments such as Burger King. But if you take the time to educate yourself, you’d learn that Burger King, along with offering a veggie burger on its menu, recently changed the way it receives some of its meat and poultry. After PETA’s “Murder King” campaign ended in 2001, PETA Vice President Bruce Friedrich urged members to go to Burger King and buy a BK Veggie Burger. Why tell members to patronize an establishment that still (and always will) pay for slabs of slaughtered animals? Because buying their veggie burger is a vote in support of vegetarian options at places notorious for selling only animal by-products. And the more people buy veggie burgers, the more likely these burgers are to stay on the menu.

Another example of educated consumerism is also still an open wound for the city of Kent. Now, I will preface this by saying that I have always lived in a post-Brady’s Kent, but I am tired of all the dirty glances I get when I walk through downtown with a Starbucks cup in my hand. Go to Susan’s, I’m told. Don’t support the evil giant that took out Brady’s.

First of all, bad business is what caused Brady’s demise, not Starbucks. And second of all, I am ready to stand tall and say I am proud to spend $1.65 for a small cup of coffee. Why?

Aside from the fact that their coffee is damn tasty and has eight times the amount of caffeine per cup, I bet you didn’t know that anyone who works at Starbucks for 20 hours a week becomes eligible for full domestic partner benefits.

Does that phrase sound familiar? It’s because groups such as PRIDE!Kent have been working for years to get domestic partner benefits for campus employees. President Lester Lefton has said repeatedly that offering these benefits violates the Ohio Constitution and that the university’s position will not waiver until the Supreme Court does.

But domestic partner benefits don’t just help gay people. A close friend of mine owns a successful small business in Kent. He makes enough to pay the bills but not enough to cover his mounting medical bills. His fiancée worked at Starbucks, and all of his medical and dental bills were fully covered. Well, until they broke up, but that’s a whole other issue.

My point is this: It will be a very long time before we can all feel comfortable with the money we give to big corporations. But by supporting the corporations who are taking steps toward a better world to live in, we are supporting our ideas in the marketplace.

Now can I just enjoy my grande Breakfast Blend in peace?

Beth Rankin is a senior photojournalism major and columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected].