Fellow Gardeners: an Ohio Product NOT to "Buy Local"
Today's Washington Post has the following story about Marysville, Ohio-based Scott's Miracle-Gro:
The Ohio-based company, familiar as the producer of a ubiquitous plant fertilizer, is now a political player, donating $200,000 in June to the Restore Our Future super PAC supporting Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney.
It points out that this donation was a direct result of Citizens United. And what makes it noteworhy is that
the vast majority of donors that have been publicly disclosed are rich individuals and private companies that don’t have much to lose by aligning with a political party because they don’t mass-market brand products to consumers who might disagree with the contributions.
The company is also patting itself on the back for not being secretive about this donation.
The company’s lobbyists presented [CEO James} Hagedorn with options for contributing in the presidential race, including ways to keep the company’s name private.
All that does is expose the need for transparency laws. It shouldn't be an option to hide $200,000 in the dark when my paltry contributions of $50 an $100 in the past have been a matter of public record.
Senior vice president Jim King justifed the donation and pooh-poohed any potential blowback:
iKng said the company anticipated some backlash but thought the benefits outweighed the risk. “Just as many people applaud you and say ‘I’m going to buy your products for life,’ ” King said.
Sure, whatever, Jim. Let's say for the sake of argument that half your customers are Republicans and half are Democrats. Now you've just put a significant part of your customer base in jeopardy. You're not likely to attract too many Republican customers who weren't regularly buying gardening products before. People don't become regular consumers of products they don't need just to make a political statement. But they do change brands. Are there enough Republicans who garden buying other brands who will now switch? It's iffy.
Now let's say that instead of taking corporate profits to bribe politicians you put them back into growing your company. What a concept! Then you would be jeopardizing NO customers.
I think this IS a risky move. I garden, a lot, and I use a lot of potting soil, none of which will be Scott's anymore. And the home gardening movement is exploding here in Northeast Ohio. Many of the people who are becoming growers and getting more into gardening today tend to be progressive people not at all in tune with the environmental slash-and-burn policies of today's GOP.
Scott's makes an array of products including fertilizer, pest control products, and lawn care products.
Diligent gardeners probably already aren't using their chemical weed and pest killing products. Your local garden center probably has products made by small, local, non-corporate companies. Buy those. They may be better, healthier products anyway.