Hewlett Packard – Taking a quiet stand

"I know that to do what I have done is a privilege and a luxury. And that is why it had to be done. I don’t have loads of money, but on Saturday I had enough to make a choice." Palestine Marathon runner and Amos friend Rachel Wakefield writes about a not very typical day in PC World.

I recently wrote this on Facebook:

"Accidentally made the sales girl cry when I explained why I really didn’t want to buy a Hewlett Packard computer."


I know that to do what I have done is a privilege and a luxury. And that is why it had to be done. I don’t have loads of money, but on Saturday I had enough to make a choice.


Just two years ago I bought a perfectly decent laptop. It still functions okay, if a bit slow, but the battery has died. Most people, under those circumstances, would probably just buy a new battery. But I couldn’t.

I know that buying the battery would have been the cheapest option. I also know that my son needs a computer to use for homework, and this one would be great permanently plugged in. So given those circumstances I felt I had to do the decent, if expensive thing. 

Last April I went out to Palestine with the Amos Trust and ran the half marathon. I had only taken up running the previous November. It was a wonderful, challenging and life-changing trip. 

On the final day, we left Bethlehem through the checkpoint as so many Palestinians do daily. I experienced on some small level what it must be like to be under scrutiny every day, for simply being born on a specific piece of land. So when it came to buying a new computer, I couldn’t just maintain the one I had as it is made by Hewlett Packard. 

HP supplies and develops the technology which is used to monitor and track the Palestinians. You can read more about them and why people are boycotting the company here

Last April I went out to Palestine with the Amos Trust and ran the half marathon. I had only taken up running the previous November. It was a wonderful, challenging and life-changing trip. 

Having done my research and blocked out every HP laptop when I was searching (quite a long-winded thing to do), I decided to go and talk to someone. Hewlett Packard often came out top when I put in my list of computer “wants.” So on a Saturday afternoon in the run up to Christmas, I went to PC World in Stevenage. 

They told me I wasn’t their regular customer! A lovely girl working for a certain (non-HP) brand came to talk to me, and when I said I was open to anything but Hewlett-Packard she was quite taken aback. She asked me if I had suffered with HP computer performance problems, but I said... err no, I just don’t agree with their moral stand on certain issues. 

Like I said – this wasn’t their standard Saturday afternoon pre-Christmas chat! The girl, Sarah (according to her name badge), looked genuinely interested and asked me to explain.

I didn’t want to go on a big rant; it wasn’t the time or the place. I took a deep breath and tried to explain as carefully and succinctly as I could, that I didn’t agree with the way HP allow their technology to be used to oppress the Palestinian people.

Sarah wept and then told me how wonderful it is to have people take a stand like that and tell others. It was just a Saturday afternoon in December in PC World. 

I told her about the people I'd met and that I had spent time visiting some of the refugee camps, and therefore didn’t want to give my money to a company who are complicit in the oppression of the Palestinian people. 

Sarah wept and then told me how wonderful it is to have people take a stand like that and tell others. It was just a Saturday afternoon in December in PC World. I’m sure it won’t make a big difference but Sarah learnt something, and I made a stand… …and then she sold me a computer from the brand she represents. 

This isn’t about me, it’s about what can happen if you take a stand and find the little things we can do to make a difference. 

I went to buy a computer, and hopefully, in the process, someone else has learnt a little about how other people live and are oppressed, but also know that there are people like you who are willing to make a stand against such injustices.

Thank you, Sarah.




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