Boycott, 8/16/2018

Posted on August 16, 2018

When I first learned about the proposal for 444 Maple West, one thought I had was to organize a prospective boycott of the retail space in that building.  I thought that if enough people said they’d never shop or dine there, it might discourage the builder from putting that building up.

Then I did my arithmetic — a pro-forma profit and loss estimate (a detailed calculation based on US average data) — and realized that the retail mattered so little, the building would be profitable without it.  These MAC buildings are housing, with a bit of retail added.  The housing drives their profitability.  Even a perfect boycott of that building’s retail space would not make it unprofitable.

Instead, as a personal decision, I’ve decided to boycott Vienna.  Groceries, gas, restaurant meals, take-out, haircuts, auto repair … the whole nine yards.  I just keep my wallet closed in the Town of Vienna, and shop elsewhere.  My meal at Tequila Grande was the last dollar I spent in Vienna.

Given that the Town Council appears to be setting itself up to pass the 444 Maple West proposal, I feel comfortable being public about this.  As of this writing (8/16/2018) passage is not a certainty, but given that the materials posted for the 8/20/2018 meeting seem designed to give them every excuse to vote for it, I really expect it to pass.

I have to pay the Town for real estate tax,  income tax (I pay tax on the receipts of my Vienna-based business),  and pay for water and sewer, and so on.   Unless I can convince my wife to move out of Vienna, I have no choice but to keep paying those.

I have never begrudged the Town a penny — until now.  But now, everything else that I pay directly to the Town I will think of as a voluntary and unnecessary contribution to the Town of Vienna.  That includes the Town share of Virginia sales tax, and the 3% tax on meals.

I shop (shopped) locally because it’s convenient and because I think it’s the right thing to do.   But on the basis of 444 Maple West, my attitude toward Town government has been so poisoned that the few pennies I pay in sales and meals taxes more than offset the goodwill I feel toward Town of Vienna merchants and restaurants.

Bottom line:  I just feel better shopping somewhere other than Vienna now.  So that’s what I’m going to do.  I realize it’s not going to change anything.  But at this point, after having put considerable effort into getting 444 Maple West defeated, and being fairly sure at this point that the Town will approve it … well, it’s all I can do.  Until such time as I find somewhere else to live.

Pitiful but true.