Gorilla Barilla

Boycotting Barilla Pasta is a stupid, shortsighted idea. I shall explain why.

For those of you haven’t been reading the news below the fold, Guido Barilla, chairman and part owner of the Barilla Group, a global, privately-held, family-owned food producer with assets worth 3B euros and a yearly income, after all taxes have been paid, of more than 75M euros, is a jackass with antiquated views on social issues, which I will not dignify by describing here. It has been suggested, by people who don’t really think things through, that people who disagree with his views should boycott the products that make up a small percentage of his company’s sales.

Let’s imagine, for a moment, that the boycott succeeds beyond expectations: Barilla goes out of business tomorrow, and Guido never earns another cent, but instead is forced to live on his savings. The unfortunate man will have to make due with a mere billion or so. Perhaps, if things get really rough, he’ll have to sell off that Picasso he bought for $100M in 2004 — it might even be worth more today. $100M will keep the lights on for a while.

While the boycotters celebrate ex-Chairman Barilla’s early retirement, they might do well to also consider the fate of the other 14,000 employees of the Barilla Group, including the people who actually make the product, drive the trucks, and all the other things that need to get done and that the members of the Barilla Group board do not do themselves. They’re out of work, and they don’t have hundreds of millions of dollars to cushion their landings. They, and their families, are the ones who will suffer. Guido might be annoyed, but, as the song goes, he’s never going to know the joy of a welfare Christmas.

Comments are closed.