'Consumers have not been told effectively enough that they have huge power and that purchasing and shopping involve a moral choice.'
- Anita Roddick
Years ago, we read a bit of advice in a popular magazine that advised readers to align monetary spending with personal values. It challenged us to assign consistency with our reasoning to spend, emphasizing the power in “purchase power.” We think about this advice a lot these days, especially with technologies such as Venmo, PayPal, ApplePay and Google Wallet make dollars and cents feel like monopoly money and less real.
Our money is our power; it helps us define what we value. A cheap price is a short-term gain, often an indication that a product was made without regard to the environment or people. In that regard, we sometimes quite literally pay the price.
Recently, the heads of major corporations formed a coalition, the Business Roundtable, to declare a commitment to their respective businesses’ purpose beyond profit. We’re excited to see this shift in conversation and see all aspects of corporate social responsibility—social, environmental and economic—be presented for the consideration of consumers too.
For busy moms, big families, and overworked professionals and really just about
anyone, it’s not easy to find a substitute for convenience. In many cases disposable income is only overruled by disposable time. But they don’t have to be mutually exclusive.
We spent a lot of time recently coming up with ways we could align our spending choices with our values, and came up with creative ways to do both. Spending is a choice – so when it came time to decide where to buy some new household supplies, we packed the kids in the car and went to our local hardware store. We set an intention for the trip, to leverage the people experience: exchanging pleasantries with the shop owner, teaching our kids about the different colors of the rainbow on the paint chip wall. For us, it was worth the extra $4 to shop, spend time together, and add a little value to our lives that can’t be found by pressing the ‘click to buy now’ button.
This week we’re asking you to do the same. What is one item you buy online that can be purchased around the corner? Don’t think in entire orders: food shopping or wardrobe shopping or supply shopping – keep it small but full of value. Commit to making that purchase in-person and see what the interaction affords you when you pay the higher price.
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