RE: Should a Privately-Owned Business Be Able To Refuse Providing a Service To a Customer?

Actually, those are better examples of why the market is not always effective in dealing with issues like this.

1.   Apart from a minor detail (Devin McClean was fired a week before Thanksgiving, not Christmas, 2012), this story is mostly true.  Unfortunately, consumer boycotts have done squat to change Autozone’s policies or anyone else’s.  Only laws forbidding employers to fire their employees under such circumstances do.
2.  This boycott has had no measurable impact on Starbucks’s bottom line, and it’s a good thing too.  It’s based entirely on a hoax.  If you must boycott any coffee company, find out who started this stupid rumor and boycott *them.*  Or boycott Peet’s for forbidding customers to carry weapons in their stories – exactly what the gun grabbers tried and failed to pressure Starbucks to do.
3.  So you buy all your Chinese-manufactured goods at Target instead.  That accomplishes … remind me what, exactly?
4. I think you’d be hard pressed to find evidence Nike’s factories in Third World countries are any more “slave” like than any others in those countries.  Ridiculous profit?  No shoe is worth to me what Nikes go for, but as long as the brand remains that valuable to some, they will (and should) continue selling them for what the market will bear.  Nike’s objective is no differnt than any other for-profit company: to maximize profits.
5.  Another myth.  Boycott Lowe’s instead for starting it.  [Kidding, there’s no evidence anyone in the business had anything to do with this stupid rumor, but shame on you for perpetuating it here.]