Do You Boycott Companies Because of Your Beliefs?

Do You Boycott Companies Because of Your Personal Beliefs?Do you ever choose to boycott companies due to their political contributions, religious values, or business practices? When a corporation steps into political or religious debates, it usually makes headlines and often faces significant negative consequences; companies like Ben & Jerry’s are the rare exception. Here are a few examples that led customers to boycott companies taking a stand:

1. In September 2012, the evangelical Christian owners of Hobby Lobby filed a lawsuit contesting the Affordable Care Act’s requirement that employers pay for emergency contraception. The issue was resolved in June 2014 with a 5-4 Supreme Court decision stating that the ACA violated the Religious Freedom Restoration Act by requiring “closely held” private corporations to cover certain forms of birth control in their health care plans. Some customers said they’d shop at Hobby Lobby more often; others said they’d boycott the chain.

2. After the Southern Baptist founder of Chick-fil-A donated $5 million (through his WinShape Foundation) to groups that oppose same-sex marriage and support conversion therapy (and made public statements denouncing same-sex marriage in June/July 2012), many customers decided to boycott the chain while others gave it more business. In September 2012, the company announced it would no longer give funds to organizations that promote discrimination.

3. Fashion designer and entrepreneur Ivanka Trump has stayed pretty quiet regarding her father’s presidential campaign (except, of course, for her speech at the Republican National Convention). Partly because of that strategy, and partly because her brand isn’t as high-profile as #1 or #2 above, there hasn’t been much in the news about boycotting her fashion line (although some people boycott companies connected to Donald Trump). Still, several Corporette commenters have mentioned not wanting to buy or wear her products. (Other challenges Ivanka has faced this year include a lawsuit accusing her of copying Aquazzurra’s designs and a recall of her scarves for not meeting flammability standards.)

4. Earlier this year, Lands’ End managed to offend customers on both sides of an issue when their website and catalog featured Gloria Steinem. Because of Steinem’s support for reproductive rights, the retailer received many customer complaints, leading it to apologize and remove Steinem from its website (as well as any mention of donations to the ERA Coalition’s Fund for Women’s Equality). The backtracking simply angered those on the other side. A few days ago, CEO Federica Marchionni, whose decision it was to feature Steinem, left the company after less than two years at the top.

Do you boycott companies that do things you disagree with? Or do you simply not pay attention to news stories like those linked above? What about issues like animal testing, sustainability, or working conditions for employees? Would you cross a picket line as a customer? Do you ever visit websites like or Leaping Bunny, or use apps like Buycott? And: when do you forgive/forget and end your boycott? 



Hobby Wednesday: Coloring Books for Adults

Coloring Books for Adults

What kinds of hobbies do you like to take part in after work and on weekends? (We’re talking about offline activities here — no computers required/allowed!) This is the first in a series of occasional posts where we’ll take a look at how to pick up various hobbies. Today we’re talking about coloring books for adults, an activity that has exploded in the last year or so. You can find coloring books of all kinds at sites like Amazon or stores like Michaels or Jo-Ann Stores — I even saw a small selection at the grocery store the other day. I’ve dabbled in this trend myself; I received a Doctor Who coloring book as a gift a while ago and just took it up a notch by buying Color Quest: Extreme Coloring Challenges from Amazon, a color-by-numbers book in which each mystery picture has teeny-tiny squares or other shapes to fill in. (The picture isn’t revealed until you’re done.)

If neither of those appeals to you, don’t worry — there are many, many options out there for coloring stress relief (or just for fun) — in fact, it’s almost overwhelming. You can find coloring books of mandalas, animals, flowers and landscapes, fashion, abstract designs, tattoos, TV and movies (from Bob’s Burgers to Buffy to Lord of the Rings), lawyersarchitecture, sports, quotes, Internet-famous cats, and anatomy. There are religious coloring books, coloring books of Disney villains and Disney princesses, and several books with titles like Calm the F*ck Down: An Irreverent Adult Coloring Book (which has 800+ reviews). Your favorite website may have even put out its own coloring book, for example, The Oatmeal or Young House Love.

A few books that are highly rated at Amazon are pictured above. From L to R:

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The Busy Woman’s Guide to Last-Minute Cleaning

Do you adhere to a cleaning system for your home? Have you hired a cleaning professional or cleaning service? And — if you only have 3 minutes to clean your home before a new visitor walks into your home, what do you clean? 

We’ve talked before about the wonders of hiring a cleaning professional, and talked about our general cleaning systems and methods before — but something we’ve never talked about is total last minute cleaning. As in, “I wasn’t expecting my friend to come over after dinner and now I have two seconds to run in and make the place look vaguely presentable!” quick cleaning hit list.  (I’m half-remembering a quote from Working Girl where Harrison Ford’s character warns Melanie Griffith’s character that if it’s a day or two before his cleaning professional is due to come, it can be pretty bad…. I totally agree!) I’ve adopted my own systems, and read some other things, so I thought it might be an amusing conversation today.  (Pictured.)

Given limited time, I clean:

  1. Whichever bathroom sink a guest might use (if you only have one bathroom the answer is clear!)
  2. The toilet in that bathroom (and a quick Lysol wipe of the toilet seat, too)
  3. If time permits I wipe the bathroom mirror down if it needs it
  4. If time permits I put any dirty dishes in the sink instead of the counter

I read in Apartment Therapy years ago that you should dust your TV at the last minute, but I often feel like with toys, shoes and a zillion Amazon Prime boxes sitting around, the TV is the last of my worries — and I’d much rather people know I’m messy than suspect my house is a petri dish.

So how about you, ladies — what does your last minute cleaning routine look like? (I now see that we haven’t really talked in general about cleaning since 2012 either — so let’s discuss! Do you have a cleaning professional come on a regular basis? How often, and how did you find him or her? (Any tips on cleaning for your cleaner — organizing everything so surfaces are clear enough for them to be sprayed and cleaned?) Do you adhere to the Fly Lady system or anything else? If you have roommates or a partner, do you like the current division of labor or do you feel like it’s a work in progress?) Another fun topic we haven’t ever discussed — do you have a similar “cleaning quick hit list” for your office if your office is on the messier side

"If you only had 3 minutes to clean your apartment, what would you hit? Find out Kat's top 4 (and hear the other readers' ideas) on the blog!

6 Things to Have on Hand When You’re Sick at Work

6 Things to Have on Hand When You're Sick at WorkWe all know we shouldn’t go to work when we’re sick. But whether you’re a presidential candidate or have a more typical career, most of us do it anyway. (Note: Here I’m referring to the average Corporette reader with full-time benefits; the millions of Americans without paid sick leave don’t have much choice about whether to stay home and rest.) Maybe you have a conference or special event to attend, a big scheduled presentation to give, or a meeting to lead, and you just can’t avoid being sick at work. We haven’t talked about tips for going to work while ill in quite a while, so we thought it was time to revisit. (Disclaimer: Of course, please don’t take this post as medical advice.)

In the past we’ve also talked about shaking hands when you’re sick, what to do when you think you’re coming down with a cold and ways to get over a coldhow to deal with many medical appointments, and how to explain an embarrassing illness.

First of all, here’s some information from an actual doctor on determining whether you’re too sick for the office. But if you need to go in no matter what, here are six things that can help you handle being sick at work (besides the age-old advice our mothers have given us since we were kids):

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Backpacks for Work

backpacks-for-workAre there any backpacks that are stylish and large enough to hold file folders, binders and more on your commute from work? Backpacks are super trendy right now, but all of the really stylish bags are far too small for file folders or work papers. I was just at an event where I saw a young lawyer carrying a large, stylish backpack and my first thought was, good for her — whether she’s biking to work, walking to work, or just watching out for back problems down the line, it’s a smart move.  Coincidentally, I also recently got a question from Reader B, who wants to start walking to work and carrying large files — so I thought we’d go on a mini-Hunt. Here’s B’s question:

I’m looking to start walking to work more as I recently bought a home which sits about a mile away from my office. However, I’m an attorney and am often carrying case files and other paperwork back and forth. Tote bags, no matter what the straps are like, begin to hurt my shoulders on this. I know a backpack would solve the problem but as a relatively young professional, I’m afraid to look like I can’t let go of my college backpack days. Is it ever acceptable to wear a backpack to the office

Interesting question, B — I’ve written before of my love of walking to work, but I’ll admit that for any real file carrying I took cabs and client-paid cars to and from the office.  A few notes on tote bags, just at the outset: first, note that a leather bag is going to be far, far heavier than a nylon tote for work — and that I always found a single shoulder strap to be more comfortable for a long schlep. (You may also want to check out our advice on how to lighten your load.) Still, if you’re already feeling pain, there are a ton of backpacks right now that distribute the weight better across your back — I’ve rounded up a few of my top picks below, ranging from $29-$550.  Readers, would you consider wearing a backpack to work? Have you bought any backpacks for work lately that you love — and what qualities make one more or less professional and stylish in your mind?

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How Do You Keep Up with Current Events?

How Do You Keep Up with Current Events? What’s your favorite way to keep up with current events? Has it changed recently (such as when Facebook changed their “trending stories” to “trending topics”)? Have you adopted a new curated source that seems like a helpful one for you, like theSkimm or The Broadsheet, or have you rediscovered an older source (like the NYT or WSJ)?

Readers had a lively debate the other day while discussing reading news online and paying for media/content in general. Some felt that it’s important to, for example, pay for New York Times online access (which is $4–6/week), while others didn’t see a problem with finding the loopholes that let you keep reading for free (or, say, with using your parents’ HBO GO password). Looking at the bigger picture, The Media Insight Project did a survey in 2014 that led to some interesting conclusions on news consumption among the generations and genders. For example:

  • “Adults age 18–29 … are less inclined than those 60 and over to follow news about national government (57 percent vs. 79 percent) or foreign affairs (59 percent vs. 79 percent overall).”
  • “[F]or the youngest adults, age 18-29, social media and the web in general have hardly replaced more traditional ways of getting the news. Nearly half … also read news in print during the last week, 3 in 4 watched news on television, and just over half listened to it on the radio.”
  • “Women … are more likely to share news and get it through social media, and to follow news about schools and health and lifestyle. Men are more likely to watch cable news and follow different subjects, including sports and foreign affairs.”

Do those numbers seem to ring true for you and your family, friends, and coworkers? And all of this makes us wonder: How do you like to keep up with current events? Do you:

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