Ban Nestlé?! What about free Consumer Choice? There’s no such thing.

Going into the SUSU Shop and complaining that they don’t sell Yorkies is like going into Topshop and yelling, “WHY DON’T YOU SELL PETROL?!”

If you were following Southampton Uni news a few weeks ago, you’ll remember one (now rather taboo) word: Nestlé. A vote is expected at the next Union Council on whether SUSU should ban all Nestle products from all SUSU shops and cafes.

This debate arose because Nestlé, the most boycotted company in human history, sells products in the third world that cause horrible diseases. You can find more details on the reliable source that is Wikipedia.

This motion was put forward by Chloe Green, sparking a debate about what was “right”, and whether we have a right to “freedom of choice” on what we buy. It also sparked a rather unnecessary debate about feminism here on the Soton Tab, but that’s beside the point.

The question: Is it the place for SUSU to simply turn around and ban Kit-Kats and Yorkies from our lives?

The big evil Nestle monster.

A well known “voice of reason” and budding journalist, who wished to remain anonymous, commented: “Whilst I agree with the boycott on personal grounds, we cant autocratically bar Nestle products, unless Nestle had done something directly toward SUSU.”

Fair point, but is that the whole issue?

Before looking at SUSU, let’s take a step back, and look at any regular shop selling Nestle products. Does it have any obligation to sell them? Nope. Does it make a nice amount of money selling them? Possibly. Does it have the choice, at any time, to simply stop selling them? Sure it does. Any shop can sell whatever the heck it wants – that’s how a business works.

Bring the example back to SUSU: There is no obligation to sell Yorkies. Do we normally have a vote or a campaign over a new brand of pizza being sold in the shop, or when a brand of beer is replaced?

RIP Carling, Stags Head, 2010.

Going into the SUSU Shop and complaining that they don’t sell Yorkies is like going into Topshop and yelling, “WHY DON’T YOU SELL PETROL?!”

SUSU can, and always will, be able to choose what it sells. The so called “free consumer choice” we have is because of all the businesses selling different products, creating that choice. No individual shop has an obligation to offer it. If you so desperately want your Kit-Kat, go and get it from the Library or the Co-Op down the road.

Some are accusing Union Council, saying that it will not represent students on this issue. Maybe we should be holding a referendum on the issue – that would make two in one year, a SUSU record.

The point is not about consumer choice. It’s not even about principles. The point is the fact that Nestlé are an evil company and SUSU should do everything they can to screw with them.

Now I’m a big fan of the Yorkie. For me, the standard campus snack has always been the Yorkie, and the Twirl. In that order. But quite frankly – settling for two Twirls is not going to hurt.