Every evening I drive by Regent University to get on the interstate and head home. I resist the urge to spit as I drive past because I'm a mature, tolerant person. I don't hate the students at the school, but I do have a bit of disdain for Pat Robertson himself. What other state would have Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson within a three hour drive? Lucky us. Last night was the first night I drove by this year after Thanksgiving. The whole campus is lit up. And it will only grow. Over the next few weeks every piece of flora or masonry will be covered in lights. The place almost glows. My mother claims that God must pay his electric bill.
Thinking about my refusal to have anything to do with Regent made me wonder if sometimes I'm a little too principled for my own good. I'm pretty stubborn about stuff at times. But I can only think that if you don't have certain standards, then you are just a cog. It's not easy, though. You have to be well researched. A few examples.
One of my classmates in college was a waitress at Pizza Hut. A group of grad students and their professor came in for lunch. She took everyone's drink order and when she asked the professor what she would like to drink she asked for a Coke.
Waitress: "Would Pepsi be alright?"
Prof (keep in mind this is back when Pepsi was getting a lot of flack for their human rights policies etc.): "NO! Pepsi is horrible. They have no concerns for human rights! I won't support them!"
Waitress: "Well, I guess you won't be needing a plate, 'cause Pizza Hut is owned by Pepsi."
The professor stared at her and then meekly asked for a glass of water.
My father is a bit of the other extreme. He refuses to buy Exxon gas. Ever since the Valdez crash, my father had no use for them. Granted, most oil companies are probably all corrupt, but he had to draw the line somewhere. My father has almost run out of gas because he won't go to Exxon. If he absolutely has to, he'll buy one gallon just so he can make it to another gas station to get gas somewhere else. He won't give them the satisfaction of a full tank. I must admit I'm almost as bad in that I don't go to Exxon's unless I can avoid it.
Bossman, though, will only go to Exxon stations. He drives a high performance car and says they have the best gas (we may all disagree on that point, but it doesn't matter). The other week we almost ran out of gas in his car because he wouldn't go to a Texaco, but drove the extra 5 miles to our local Exxon. He hates Texaco with a passion because they charged him $40 to jump his car in college after he had bought gas from them. I could have some animosity for that particular Texaco, but don't know if I could boycott the entire chain.
I know that Joe won't go to Wal-Mart. And while I really hate K-Mart, I still find myself going there because they are only across the street from our development. It shames me every time I go in there. I also hate Cracker Barrel because they're country fresh Nazis who openly discriminate against their employees (ask anyone who's worked there). But the grilled sourdough calls my name and I feel like crap every time I eat there.
Where do you draw the line between petty grudges and steadfast principles? Are there places that you won't patronize or products you won't buy?