Values, Conviction and Tempests in Coffee Cups.

Social Media has become the media of choice for any one with a cause to promote. It does not matter whether the cause is just or ridiculous, fair or unfair, for the general good or to pursue vicious vendettas.

Coffee Chain blowing in the wind

Coffee Chain blowing in the wind

It is often hijacked by those with a political agenda.

The latest incident to highlight the dark side of social media has stirred up a tempest in a coffee cup.

Tim Hortons was featuring Enbridge, a major energy corporation with interests in Alberta’s oil sands, on it’s in-store advertising screens.

Self appointed crusaders against the development of the oil sands launched a campaign on social media and collected 23 000 on-line signatures clamouring for Tim Hortons to stop featuring Enbridge.

The coffee chain caved into the pressure.

I don’t have access to the demographic breakdown of Tim Hortons customers, but I think it is a fair bet that most fall into the great silent majority of ordinary, decent, working, Canadians. It’s also probable that the extremists campaigning against oil sands development are not your average Tim Hortons customer, more likely preferring to  enjoy the perceived “green” image and pay the higher prices at Starbucks.

This post is not about the merits or demerits of obtaining oil in Canada by new technology. My opinion is that it is preferable to buying oil from repressive states and transporting it across oceans where the potential for an ecological disaster is far higher than on land.

I have criticised Tim Hortons in the past for banning Christmas , in that post and an update the following day, I wrote about the dangers of bowing to political correctness.

It’s a short-sighted policy to alienate large corporate sponsors of charitable events and a major market segment just to appease a small but vocal minority of social media activists.

It is also a sad reflection on the trend to discard old values, values that have helped Western countries build successful democracies and create infinitely better conditions for their populations than those countries that do not honour those values.

The old adage that “He who stands for nothing, falls for everything” is as true at a personal level as it is for large businesses like Tim Hortons.

Concern for the environment is one thing, appeasing small groups of activists attempting to sabotage the economy by shutting down strategic energy sources is like shooting yourself in the foot or scoring an “own goal” in soccer.

We cannot please every one all the time, whether as individuals, business owners or employees. We will always be too something for someone.

That’s life, that’s the way it is.

We need to be true to ourselves, use discernment, know which values are important and have the courage of our convictions.

Most people get a taste of adversity at some point in life, some more than once, others a far more serious experience. That’s when we rely on our values to get us through, overcome the adversity, thrive on it and move on.

Not by blowing with the wind, trying to please everyone and following the latest politically correct trend on social media.

How do you stand on your fundamental values? Would you cave in to pressure?

Leave a comment.

 

 

Coffe cup photo by Mister GC / Freedigitalphotos.net

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  9 comments for “Values, Conviction and Tempests in Coffee Cups.

  1. June 9, 2015 at 11:59 am

    If any business “caved” to politcal correctness pressure they have lost my partonage, regardless the topic, or whether I agree or disagree with the premise.
    It is a blatant show of WEAK management holding little or no Values, and motivated by a perception that the loudest mouths are generally right.
    Nice post Peter!

    • Peter
      June 11, 2015 at 8:06 am

      Thank you for your contribution Chuck.

  2. Michelle Kosloff
    June 9, 2015 at 7:58 pm

    So true!

    • Peter
      June 11, 2015 at 8:07 am

      Thanks Michelle, good to hear from you.

  3. Roberta
    June 11, 2015 at 7:53 pm

    One never really knows what we would do in similar circumstances as Tim Horton found themselves. I like to believe – hope – I would stand up for free speech and not back down.

    It never ceases to amaze me that big business caves so easily for what is really a very small minority of people. It has gotten so bad I am beginning to think we have the beginnings of Hitler’s brownshirts. Hyperbole? Maybe. But I am nevertheless concerned.

    The Food Police want to tell us what we MUST eat. The Speech Police tell us what we can and cannot say.

    For me these are very scary times.

    • June 11, 2015 at 10:33 pm

      I think you are on the right track Roberta,
      Executives are trained to be Leaders or have Back-bone.
      Companies hire poorly educated CEO’s who have expereinced little to no REAL LIfe business expereince, and have grown up in a ME and cover your a$$ society.
      I have a freind who has a big sign in his grovcery store, English Only Spoken here.
      Business thrives and shoppers are from many ethnicities

    • Peter
      June 12, 2015 at 7:53 am

      Roberta, I believe you would be the last person to cave in and back down.

      Having lived in a country when the government directed the police and political thugs to persecute all political opposition, I am very concerned at what I see happening.

      The speed and ease at which social media can galvanise mob support provides the modern equivalent of Hitler’s brownshirts an effective weapon to control society.

      It also provides the great majority of good ordinary people the means to counter the mobs – if we are prepared to use it and until the government shuts those media down.

  4. June 11, 2015 at 10:51 pm

    Sorry I meant NOT trained to be leaders or have Backbone…
    Only focus on bottom line regardless any Ethics or values

    • Roberta
      June 12, 2015 at 2:50 pm

      I read between the lines, Chuck, and figured it was a typo. 🙂

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