My family tends to do our grocery shopping at Hy Vee. It is the largest Iowa based grocery chain and offers pretty good service. We don’t shop much at Fareway; another smaller Iowa based chain. No reason, really. Each chain has its benefits. Hy Vee is closest to our house but Fareway is known for its high quality meats. We could go to either but Hy Vee is a habit as much as anything.
Question: Do I owe Fareway an apology? Am I doing them wrong? After all, I am not giving them my business.
Of course I don’t owe Fareway an apology. We made our buying decision and, while I have nothing against Fareway, Hy Vee is where we do most of our shopping. That’s just the way it is and I doubt there is a person around who thinks I owe it to Fareway to buy from them.
Let’s extend our thinking. Sometimes we buy pineapples. We don’t really pay much attention to the origin of the fruit but sometimes they are grown in Hawaii and sometimes they are grown in Costa Rica or Mexico. If I happen to buy Mexican grown pineapples, do I owe an apology to American growers in Hawaii?
My contention is that I own no more of an apology to American pineapple growers than I owe to Fareway. I owe Fareway no explanation or apology and, likewise, I owe Hawaiian pineapple growers no apology.
Let’s continue. Should the government put a tariff on what I purchase from Hy Vee to help Fareway? After all, Hy Vee is bigger, has better economies of scale and better supply chain than Fareway. It has advantages over Fareway that makes me more inclined to shop at Hy Vee. Shouldn’t the government hobble Hy Vee in order to ensure that Fareway enjoys “fair trade”?
If not, why should the government put a tariff on my Mexican pineapple? What is it about an international border that changes our thinking?