Every time we shop, it is like we are stepping into the voting booth. Each purchase made (or avoided) is a vote, whether made consciously or not.
- A vote for Walmart or the farmer down the road.
- A vote for a new dress or money put towards a student loan.
- A vote for a friend’s hand crafted soap or factory produced soap
- A vote for contentment or consumerism
photo by Alessandro Paiva
We are a consumer driven society. Our purchases change the marketplace. It is just a small example, but in less than three years, consumer demand changed the type of milk offered in local stores.
Three years ago, only one store carried RBGH/RBST free milk [milk that's free of these artificial growth hormones.] The FDA position hasn’t changed, but now even store brand milk displays a hormone-free sticker.
What happened? Consumers demanded change. Fellow milk lovers and I went out of our way to buy hormone-free milk at the one store that carried it. My guess is the other stores wanted our business back!
Of course, there is a problem for us consumers: funds are limited. (Unless we could find a way to tap into the Fed’s printing privilege!)
If I had unlimited funds, I’d only purchase yard raised eggs, milk from pastured cows, clothes made in factories that paid high enough wages to support a family (without forcing kids to work to supplement the income.)
I would support cottge [home based] industries so that more women could contribute to the family income while pursing the best job on earth, making a home!
But shopping is a balancing act. We must juggle budget and convenience, quality and quantity.
That is part of why I choose to shop at our local thrift store. It’s economical. But it is also a vote for less waste and less consumerism. It’s a vote to support a local charity. It is a vote to reuse what still has plenty of life left in it. It is a vote to free up money to save or put towards student loans or purchase higher quality beef or handmade crafts.
We may not always be able to pursue our first choice in every purchase we make, but it is so exciting that we can make a difference, however small. Our purchases are a tiny vote cast in the ballot of the marketplace.
Want to join me in supporting home based gifts this Christmas season? My real life friend Heather, from Raising Mighty Arrows, is hosting a virtual Christmas Marketplace!