Convenience beats ideals in battle for students’ money

There is always something being protested, especially on college campuses. Whether it has to do with religion, corporations or politics, there is always something to take a stand against. Now, it’s Coca-Cola.

Some people ignore the issues and some take up the cause and boycott a product, store or restaurant.

When the documentary Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price showed the truth about the low wages, sweatshops and environmental crimes, many people protested and boycotted the store. Wal-Mart is a store where many college students shop; the Bull Runner even makes a stop there.

But can college students really afford to boycott every company that does something wrong? Especially when the dirty laundry of such a big company like Coca-Cola is out in the open?

A Web site called “Killer Coke” has surfaced chronicling the company’s wrongdoings and accusing the company of facilitating murder, kidnap and environmental pollution in several countries around the world.

According to Bingham University’s newspaper Pipe Dream, there are two dozen schools so far that have succeeded in boycotting Coke and removing the company from their campuses, including some big names like Rutgers and New York University.

At USF, Coke products are everywhere. All the vending machines, restaurants, and stores on campus stock only Coke products.

In fact, Coca-Cola has an exclusive contract with the school, meaning no other soda product can be sold on campus, according to Auxiliary Services Administrator Jeffrey Mack. Per the contract, Coke donates money to USF.

If not Coke, then what company should the school have a contract with? Pepsi is a big company and must have its own secrets.

Coca-Cola is not the only thing on campus that people “should” boycott.

Starbucks has been accused of many wrongdoings, such as taking business away from independently owned coffee shops, many of which may have a unique local flare. This is another hard thing to boycott, since there is not just one, but two locations on campus.

If a student needed a pick-me-up of caffeine and wants to avoid chains such as Starbucks, they would have to leave campus and drive to a local mom and pop coffee shop – wherever that is.

But most college students do not have the time to drive off campus and lose their parking spot, nor do they have the gas money.

In the battle of ideals and convenience, convenience all too often wins out. And is it wrong for someone to put him or herself first? Especially in college, when budgets and schedules are tight?

Although corporations’ blemishes may be on display for the world to see, how easy is it to find a company – local or national – without any skeletons in its closet?