Sunday Jun 25

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Technically Speaking: Donald Trump Bad for Business

Two days before the second presidential debate, the Washington Post released a video of then presidential candidate Donald Trump in an off-camera conversation with Access Hollywood host, Billy Bush bragging about how he conducts himself with women he is attracted to. The conversation was crude and made worse when Donald Trump used the phrase, “grab them by the pussy”.

This conversation spurred a movement of informed consumers called #grabyourwallet. #Grabyourwallet was started by Shannon Coulter as a way to track retailers that carry Trump products or companies that have provided the Trump campaign with funding. In an interview with Racked.com, Coulter explained “What this boycott means to me is that companies that I love, like Nordstrom and Amazon, are making money from the Donald Trump campaign, which to me is synonymous with hate and divisiveness so I can’t, in good faith, shop there anymore.”

The website (https://grabyourwallet.org) is a living Google Spreadsheet which Coulter updates with companies citing the company name, the types or products they sell, a link to the Trump-related products, and the contact information for their customer service team. The spreadsheet also tracks companies that were on the list but were removed since they no longer carry Trump products so consumers can resume shopping there.

Retailers that sell Ivanka Trump’s clothing brand are included in this boycott and some retailers are responding. While #Grabyouwallet isn’t directly stated as the reason why the brands have dropped her products the campaign has had enough visibility within the news to believe that at the very least consumer interest in influencing this decision.

Nordstrom, was among the retailers to say that they would no longer be carrying Ivanka Trump products. In a statement made to the Washington Post “Each year we cut about 10% [of brands] and refresh our assortment with about the same amount, in this case, based on the brand’s performance we’ve decided not to buy it for this season.”

Another brand that felt the heat from unhappy consumers was the ridesharing service, Uber. When the Muslim Ban was put into place by Donald Trump, the New York Taxi Workers went on strike for one hour to stand against the ban. Uber on the other hand, resumed service as usual offering non-surge pricing to those looking to get the airport. The response to this was swift. Twitter users launched a #deleteuber hashtag where over 200,000 people took to deleting their accounts.

In addition to this, Uber CEO Travis Kalanick also resigned from his position on Donald Trump’s Strategic and Policy Forum. Prior to his resignation, Kalanick did release a statement to his employees acknowledging the ban and stating that Uber was working out a process to compensate drivers pro bono to help relieve some of the financial impact the ban might have. According to the New York Times, Uber has set aside $3 million to provide drivers with legal support. However, Uber employees felt that Kalanick’s role reflected badly on Uber’s company and put together a 25-page document arguing against him taking this role.

In a time, where some citizens feel that their voices are not being heard, there seems to be at least one more way where someone’s political beliefs can yield influence over the way corporations conduct themselves. While it might start with withholding business it might influence corporations who are seemingly acting outside of public interests.

Noorin Ladhani is a freelance writer in Toronto. She blogs about travel and technology at www.noorinladhani.com and writes about Canadian start-ups and tech news at http://www.techvibes.com/global/author/noorin-ladhani. Follow her on Twitter at @NoorinLadhani.

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