Thursday, June 10, 2010

Calling Bullsh*t on British Petroleum's attempt to shelter its profits behind Independent Business owners.

Many independent sellers of BP products are crying foul over the dramatic drop in business they are suffering due to the public relations disaster that is "The BP Gulf Oil Spill."

The common refrain:  Boycotting small gas stations that happen to sell BP gas is really only "hurting the independent small business owner."

I call BULLSHIT! on that.

Here's why:

The small business owners made rational economic decisions to align themselves with and to sell BP products.  Do they get only the benefits of the relationship, but none of the consequences?  What fantasy world are they living in?!  When you sign a franchise deal you take the good with the bad--simple business 101.

If BP is a popular brand, then these small business owners accrue the benefits of reflected glory by using the BP trademarks to advertise their businesses.  These businesses gain added revenue by selling other non-BP items to customers attracted to the BP brand.  

In grown-up business language it's called: Win-Win-Win --for BP, Independent Business owner, and customers.

Now, when the proverbial shit hits the fan and BP despoils its reputation, these independent businesses want to throw themselves on the mercy of the buying public's conscience for the "small business owner."  

Frequently, I hear these guys bellyache that "they didn't cause the spill and shouldn't be punished for BP's malfeasance."


These small business owners made rational economic decisions to franchise with BP.  Contractual relationships are like marriages--you take the good with the bad.

If consumers want to punish BP, the only way they can do so is with their wallets.  Just because these small business owners made a bad choice in selecting BP, it doesn't mean the rest of the buying public has to bail them out; their whining is just that.

The real problem here is BP.  If these small business owners want to complain about their loss of income, they should take it up with British Petroleum--not with those of us who want to take our business elsewhere.

These are the consequences of business decisions--small business owners need to grow up and live with the choices they make instead of expecting America to bail them out.