Jun. 8th, 2010

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Birch Barlow's report on the BP Gulf spill made Marge Simpson so angry she felt hot tears welling in her eyes. She wasnt mad at Barlow or Springfield's FOX affiliate for showing images of oil-soaked pelicans and dead dolphins that had washed ashore. No, she was downright angry at the whole mess. She was especially angry at the horrible way BP was handling this nightmare. What kind of future could Bart, Lisa and Maggie look forward to when there was a corporation out there polluting the planet? She turned off the TV in disgust right as Barlow was showing images of a pelican nest soaked in oil. Maybe catching up on her email would cheer her up and bring her some welcome news.

"Great!", she thought, "A letter from Selma!" Marge clicked her mouse to open the note from her sister. Her hope that her mood would get better quickly evaporated as she read the words from her softly glowing screen.

British Petroleum(BP) rep Randy Prescott made a comment, “Louisiana isn’t the only place that has shrimp.” His office phone number is (713)323-4093 his email is randy.prescott@bp.com Give him a call or send an email! Tell him “BP isn’t the only place that has fuel for my car!


Marge's growl of disgust and outrage was so loud that even Santa's Little Helper dove under the couch to hide from her wrath. How dare he!! She grabbed her phone and immediately dialed the phone number provided in the email. The phone number went straight to a recording of a cherry English woman's voice. The woman thanked her for her concerns over the crisis and said that BP was committed to doing everything it could to remedy the situation in the Gulf. Before the line disconnected, the cherry lady thanked her for her loyal support of the BP brand.

"That's ok", Marge thought, "this Prescott fellow must have gotten so many phone calls that he had to set up that announcement. I'll just email him!" The tips of Marge's fingernails clicked with cool efficiency as she quickly typed her email. She made sure to be polite. After all, isnt that the lesson she was continually stressing to Bart? "Be polite, Bart. Be polite!" Her email to BP was polite, but she firmly told BP that until this mess was settled, neither Marge nor anyone she knew would patronize another BP gas station.

"Hit them in the pocketbook!", she told Santa's Little Helper as she poked her head out from under the couch. "When people stop pumping their gas maybe they'll get serious about doing what's right!" Marge nodded firmly to Santa's Little Helper and shut her laptop just as Maggie's baby monitor signaled that Maggie was up from her nap. Time to get the kids from school!

After changing Maggie's diaper and securing her in the car seat, Marge headed down the road to gather her remaining brood. As usual, Bart had detention. Thankfully Lisa didnt seem to mind staying after school and waiting for Bart to get done writing his sentences on the chalkboard. It gave Lisa time to practice her saxophone in the band room. As Marge rounded the circular drive and pulled in front of the building, she gave a few quick toots of the car horn, laughing softly as Maggie followed suit with her own miniature toy steering wheel. Seconds later, Bart and Lisa were scampering down the steps, racing each other to the car for the "best seat". Marge's heart swelled with a moment of motherly love. Oh, to be so carefree and innocent...where the only worry was where you sat in Mom's car! Marge pulled away from the school, making her way across Springfield to shop for the night's dinner for her family.

She got about a mile down the road when the car beeped to let her know that she needed gas! No problem, Apu's Kwik-E-Mart was on the way to Springfield's grocery store. She pulled into the Kwik-E-Mart's parking lot, quickly spotting Apu tending to the Slurpee Machine near the big glass window. As Marge pulled up to a pump, she noticed the familiar green BP logo. She frowned a little and gave a little groan as the memory of oil-soaked wildlife flashed into her consciousness. Apu was a friend. His darling wife Manjula always had a kind word for Marge when they bumped into each other in town. And Marge couldnt help but melt at the sight of their growing family. All six of the Nahasapeemapetilon children were as endearing as their parents. Marge tightened her jaw and shook her head. This wasnt about Apu and his family. This was about teaching BP a lesson! As Marge pulled away from Apu's Kwik-E-mart, she tried to ignore the confused and bewildered look on Apu's face as he watched her drive away. Marge's search for a gas station ended up taking her 20 miles out of the way, well into Shelbyville, but she went to bed that night feeling like she was doing the right thing. Why, just imagine what sort of response there would be if EVERYONE boycotted BP!

The next morning, Marge seemed to be in a hurry to get the kids off to school. Homer barely got a kiss on the cheek as he left for work. With Maggie happily watching the latest "Itchy and Scratchy" cartoon, Marge sat down to email all her friends. She forwarded them the information about BP, urging all of them to boycott the Kwik-E-Mart. Before she hit the "SEND" button, Marge sat back and read her masterpiece essay, confident that her friends would be as inspired to take action as she was.

And it worked. Marge's email sent off a chain of events that would affect Springfield's population far longer than she could have imagined.

Within the first month, Apu's sales had dropped so significantly that he was forced to lay off his brother Sanjay. Thankfully, Sanjay had just obtained his U.S. Citizenship. With his new wife pregnant with their first child, they were extremely grateful to get government assistance to help them while Sanjay was unemployed. Apu promised Sanjay that as soon as the furor over BP died down he would be able to return to the store. Three months after the boycott began, Sanjay was still unemployed, his wife closer to giving birth to their first child. When he started having trouble paying rent on their small apartment, the landlord evicted him. Although space was cramped, Apu invited his brother to stay with them. "Until you get on your feet.", he said.

Unfortunately the following month, Apu's mounting debt and lack of sales forced him to close the Kwik-E-Mart. Five months after the boycott began, Apu's family joined Sanjay's family in obtaining welfare assistance.

Soon afterwards, the donut store that was next to the Kwik-E-Mart closed its doors as well. With the decreased foot traffic, they simply couldnt keep up with the rent on the building. Homer was really disappointed because he liked their jelly donuts, but he soon began making the extra trip into Shelbyville for his donuts. Sure, the drive was further and it meant Marge had to gas up the station wagon more than once during the week, but by golly these were donuts!

Marge had to start cutting corners on things because the added expense in gas started making a dent in their budget. She tried not to cry in front of Lisa when she had to cancel Lisa's private saxophone lessons.

Chief Wiggum's gas consumption also shot up now that the police cruisers had to go to Shelbyville to get their gas. In fact, the whole town of Springfield started spending more in gas each week as they made the pilgrimage to the non-BP gas station closest to them. The restaurants saw less and less patrons. A Saturday night at the movie theater started to be a rare occurence for much of the town. Even Reverend Lovejoy felt the pinch as his collection plate looked smaller and smaller with each passing Sunday service. But, people in Springfield were sturdy folk. They persevered, going about their daily lives and letting the days blend into each other.

Finally, after a year of no activity, Marge saw the tell-tale signs of construction at the site of Apu's old Kwik-E-Mart! The construction crew seemed to work at a furious pace and prompted quite a bit of excitement among Springfield's residents. Obviously, a new gas station was coming in, much to the delight of everyone. But who? The sign once bearing the BP logo was covered with a black tarp. Finally, after a few weeks, the Grand Opening was advertised on the nightly newscast by Birch Barlow.

"Join us this Saturday as Springfield's finest welcomes Amoco gas to our family of fine Springfield merchants!"

Marge was elated to see Apu working at the cash register. He looked thinner and weary, but his eyes held their familiar sparkle. Marge's eyes welled with tears as Apu told her how difficult the last year had been for his family. Thankfully Amoco hired him. The pay was significantly lower than what he made as owner of the Kwik-E-Mart, but it would be enough for him to slowly pay off his debts and provide for his family. Sanjay was still looking for work, but Apu was hopeful he could help his brother get hired on at Amoco.

Later that evening, Marge wrote in her FaceBook that she was glad to see that a new gas station was closer to home - and that her plan to get rid of BP from Springfield had worked. It was a rough year of sacrifice for everyone, but in the end everything was for the better! Nearly all of her friends agreed.

Except for the one who told her that Amoco is owned by......BP.

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November 2012

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