Why I boycott Frontier

Once I was tricked into flying on Frontier because I did a quick flight search on kayak and their flight was slightly cheaper than other options. Then I realized they didn’t offer an electronic boarding pass; this was probably to charge me an extra $30 for my carry-on at check-in. Maybe I should have known, but I didn’t – and Frontier certainly didn’t inform me. No, a tiny, message on kayak that baggage fees may exist does not count. Spirit asks for baggage plans and provides prices during the flight booking process, before payment – that counts.

Deceit as a business strategy is not cool. Capitalism should not require that customers become experts on the industry tricks for the goods and services they purchase. Frontier is in a fairly commoditized business, so I’m happy to pay a few more dollars occasionally to always avoid them. (But I needn’t.)

Why I hate Airbnb but still use them

I was in a lyft over the summer where the driver, who recently moved to Portland, told me that she planned to buy a house purely to rent it on Airbnb, preferably in a nice area where only rich people could afford to vacation. I mortally fear being in enclosed, fast-moving spaces with offended people, so I didn’t say what I was thinking. Which was “WHAT? You’re literally making Portland worse!!!”

Airbnb is a societal problem where it benefits all individuals to use it while traveling, and it benefits individuals who use it to rent out their houses. But it makes everyone worse off in cities with limited housing, due to higher costs and likely missed tax revenue. I have no respect for Airbnb, which is a tragedy of the commons masquerading as a sharing economy. Tragedy of the commons problems require regulation, and Airbnb, being in denial, has no interest in enforcing or aiding regulation. Shameful.

(But I still use Airbnb when I travel.)

Better to complain publicly than boycott 

I’m arriving at the conclusion that personal boycotting doesn’t matter. I keep forgetting my power cord for work and then borrowing my coworkers’, and my manager pointed out, “Er… Apple’s probably not going to notice if we buy you an extra cord.”

More menacing, boycotting suggests that regulating unethical companies is a personal responsibility. Should it be our responsibility to boycott food manufacturers that poison people? No, that’s the FDA’s responsibility, and for good reason. Citizen coordination can’t overcome power collected by every long-standing organization with interests that aren’t aligned with citizens.

As individuals, it’s respectable to consider the impact of our economic choices. But suffering to make an unnoticed point isn’t going to help, so at least annoy your friends and complain.

 

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