[Ads-l] "Reverse boycott"

Ben Zimmer bgzimmer at GMAIL.COM
Mon Jun 19 15:32:33 UTC 2023

The newspaper databases have many examples of "reverse boycott," often
describing a kind of retaliatory boycott (e.g., the Soviet Union's boycott
of the 1984 Summer Olympics in L.A. after the U.S. boycotted the 1980
Olympics in Moscow). It's also been used as a way to encourage people to
make purchases from certain retailers (sometimes also called a "buycott" or
a "buy-in"). Here's an early example of that usage from 1920.

Buffalo (NY) Times, Mar. 26, 1920, p. 18, col. 3
Reverse Boycott Curing Gougers
By Jim Marshall, N.E.A. Staff Correspondent
SPOKANE, Wash., March 26. -- Led by a dean of the Episcopal church and the
original woman "Bull Mooser," 3,000 Spokane women are battering down the
high cost of living here with a consumers' league, a reverse-English
boycott, a weekly bulletin of prices and a slogan.
The league is supported by dues of 25 cents a month from each member.
Instead of boycotting merchants who charge too much, the women seek out
those who cut prices, boost them in the weekly bulletin, which is mailed to
all members, and enable the cut-raters to sell large volumes at low
The slogan -- which is considerably worrying some local stores -- is "No
thank you -- it costs too much!"
The league is headed by Dean William C. Hicks, of the Episcopal church
here. The organizer and guiding spirit is Mrs. Sarah Flannigan, who
attained fame some years ago as the only woman delegate to the original
Bull Moose convention in Chicago.
A dozen Spokane drygoods and grocery firms have rushed into print recently
to assure the league that they're with 'em. But the women aren't taking
anyone's word for it. If a price seems too high the slogan is gently wafted
across the counter -- and the next issue of the bulletin carries the word


On Mon, Jun 19, 2023 at 9:51 AM Nancy Friedman <wordworking at gmail.com>

> "Reverse boycott" has been in the news lately: It's what Oakland A's fans
> called their June 13 protest of the team's impending move to Las Vegas.
> https://nancyfriedman.typepad.com/away_with_words/2023/06/word-of-the-week-reverse-boycott.html
> I found only one pre-2023 usage of "reverse boycott," but I'm confident
> list members will come up with others.
> Nancy Friedman
> Chief Wordworker
> web: wordworking.com <http://www.wordworking.com>
> blog: https://nancyfriedman.typepad.com <http://nancyfriedman.typepad.com>
> Medium <https://medium.com/@wordworking>
> tel 510 652-4159
> cel 510 304-3953
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