As the 'Boycott BP' movement gains momentum on Facebook and other social networking sites, many small business owners are wary of the effects a widespread boycott may have on small, independently owned BP gas stations. One such small business owner is Mohammed Qureshi, who owns a BP gas station in downtown Kansas City, Kansas. Qureshi's station has been family owned and operated for five years.
So far, Qureshi reports that his station has not suffered any drops in sales, though he did receive a lot of inquiries early on after the onset of the Gulf spill. Qureshi maintains that his station only acquires and sells BP's gasoline products and that his business is in no way affiliated with BP. BP does not get any of the profits from the sale of merchandise from his station.
"They seem to understand that we're paying local taxes and supporting the local economy with our jobs. We're not sharing in the billions of BP's quarterly profits." Qureshi said.
One online organizer for the Sierra Club, a national environmental group, states that the organization does not endorse a boycott of BP. "BP is not the only dirty oil company," says Mike Berg of the Missouri Sierra Club.
A local graphic designer told the Kansas City Free Press, "If you want to make a stand against BP, don't bother. The spill just highlights a larger problem: our reliance on petroleum products," Allen said. "Penalizing small business owners - these innocent people running BP gas stations - for the corporation's f***-up isn't necessarily the best way to 'say something."
Despite the fact that BP station owners do not have any connection or involvement with BP other than selling the petroleum giant's gasoline, many Kansas residents furious over the spill's impact insist on boycotting BP stations. Boycotters are upset over a wide range of issues, from the environmental impact of the spill to the lack of preparedness on the part of BP to prevent and then effectively manage the crisis once it had occurred. Even though local station owners have yet to feel the crunch of 'Boycott BP', BP's stock value has plummeted over 50% since the spill began, resulting in the company's loss of $90 billion in value.
Those interested in staying up to date on BP's cleanup efforts can check BP's Gulf of Mexico Response website.