Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Boycott BP Part II

Yesterday I told you why I am still boycotting BP and I still had some questions.  I found out the answers to some and formed more questions.

1.  "The independents will be the people that feel [the boycott] first," BP spokesman Robert Wine commented. "These boycotts are far more painful to the independent retailer," said Brandon Wright, manager of regulatory affairs and communications with the Petroleum Marketers Association of America. "When you stop filling up at BP stations, you're really hurting that community's economy." source  The first thing I want to point out to you is who is making these statements:  BP spokesman and big oil spokesman.  I am really not inclined to believe what they say.

2.  "I understand people are angry and upset, and they have a right to be. But they're taking their anger at the wrong people," Scaramella said (owner of 22 BP stations.) source  Okay so the argument, to reiterate, is that boycotting hurts our neighbors not BP.  So why doesn't owners just drop the brand?

3. "The franchise agreement is 20 years and requires sites to be supplied with BP or ARCO branded fuels for the term of the 20-year contract."  source  Wait, so they do sell BP gas...  

Does this all get very confusing, or what?  They are just talking in circles.  It makes it difficult to write a linear blog post.

So, we are hurting our neighbors not BP because BP doesn't own the store, and therefore doesn't make much money off of them.  But, the owners are in a 20 year contract with BP to sell their oil and brand.  So they are connected...

Our success depends on your success... BP offers significant advertising support, regional sponsorship programs and onsite promotions to build brand awareness, cultivate consumer loyalty and help drive more traffic to BP sites. We utilize radio advertising, direct and online marketing, as well as events and sponsorships to move consumers to a more purposeful and intimate interaction with the BP brand... This significant, ongoing consumer following brings greater value and incremental revenue to your site as a BP Branded Marketer. We even guarantee our fuel quality in writing – with a money back promise – the only major energy company to do so. 
This is all from BP's very own site.  So, obviously, the owners are receiving assistance on many levels from BP and in exchange has a contract with them to sell their fuel.

5.  If the owners and BP were separate entities, as they would like you to believe, why would BP be so insistent that they do not own these stores?
Scaramella and other station owners along the Gulf Coast aren't sitting still. They have reached out to BP for assistance -- and help is arriving.  Independent owners of BP gas stations in Georgia and states along the Gulf Coast will be receiving signage, paid for by BP, early next week that clarifies that these gas stations are not owned and run by corporate BP.  According to preview images provided to gas station owners and managers, the signs that will be put up at the gasoline dispensers will read: "Part of your community. This BP station is owned and operated by people from this community. Your neighbors, your friends, your family. Thank you for your loyalty."  BP spokeswoman Sherry Boldt said they are also advising owners on how to answer questions from the public. "We think it's important to connect. They are the face of BP on the street," Boldt said.  source
So, our neighbors are not going to be hurt by the boycott.  They will be receiving help in many forms, including monetary aide:
Russ Scarmella, managing partner of US Oil Holdings, (which is the largest franchiser of BP stations in the US) let slip in an interview on CNBC yesterday that he expects BP to pay for the revenue losses station owners incur due to this disaster. Though he didn't explain why in this short interview, obviously either BP has promised to compensate station owners who have documented sales losses, or more likely, the station owners will take it upon themselves to sue BP over such losses, and cite BP's own gross negligence in damaging the BP brand.  source
6.  "Think about all the plastics that require petroleum as an ingredient. There's really no way to tell where the petroleum came from that went into making that plastic," Wright added. "Given the number of products that use petroleum, avoiding BP's products is nearly impossible."source  Okay so now the argument is BP is so big, including unbranded oil and plastics, that you are going to buy their products whether you like it or not.  Does it not just feel like they are just scrounging for reasons not to boycott their stations?

7.  "If they want to have a protest at the park or somewhere else, super. But to come to my station to do it, and tell people not to buy my products or come inside my stores, to bash my business without even knowing us is hurtful,"  said Scaramella.  source  What?!?  Now that is just ridiculous.  "Okay guys, today we're gonna do something a little different:  instead of standing outside BP to boycott BP, we're gonna stand in that park on the other side of town.  You with me?!?" 

8. "Michael Monahan, who was protesting at the BP gas station in Atlanta, said: 'I feel kind of sorry for them; they're stuck in the middle. But there's not a headquarters for me to stand under today; there's just that sign.'" source  Exactly.

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Whatcha think?