The power of your pocketbook gives you an opportunity to make a difference!
It’s nice that small businesses have Small Business Saturday to promote the shop small campaign, but small businesses need more than a single day of support. As a small business owner, I support my fellow hustlers every day because that’s what small businesses need to compete.
With every purchase, people have a piece of power in the paper of their pocketbooks. Yes money is power and how you spend your money determines where you transfer your piece of the power pie.
When you make a purchase, you are making a choice to support, promote, and invest in a business, a product, a brand, a store, or an idea. While many people don’t put much thought into their purchase decisions, a little thought can go a long way – collectively individuals can send strong messages. Here’s a few simple ways your purchases can have a positive impact.
People over Profits
Corporations are Corrupt! Ok, not all corporations are corrupt, but it’s no secret that corporations are primarily influenced by their bottom line. Many corporations put profits over people, opting to pay their employees less than a living wage so the corporations can put extra profits in their prosperous pockets. When you support corporations you are supporting the 1%, and the separation of wealth in America. Check out our Banksta t-shirt design to sport a political message about the 1%.
Behind each brand is the ethics in which that business operates. Many businesses have checkered pasts with unethical actions, injustice, environmental disregard, and shady motives, yet they continue to be supported by buyers like us. Conscious consumers choose to do business with those that are ethically aligned with the buyer’s beliefs. As Think Global, Act Local political t-shirt states: your values have great value, when you choose to use them.
Keep it Local
Buying from local businesses is a good start, but buying local doesn’t mean going to your local Walmart. Shopping at your local chain stores is marginally better than shopping at an online chain store, but to truly make a difference support locally-owned businesses. Buy from the source, buy from local creators, and buy quality. When you keep your money local, you support a cycle of change. Support community, support creativity and support a sustainable cycle of commerce. Get the Keep it Local t-shirt and change the cycle of commerce.
When you buy local, your products are also more likely to be made locally. When you buy locally-produced products, your supporting a local workforce with a smaller environmental footprint. America still has better environmental regulations than most countries, especially those in the 3rd world. Buying locally-made products also means that your product doesn’t have to travel thousands of miles to get to you, releasing thousands of pollutants along the way. Take a look at the Our Chemical World t-shirt design for a powerful statement about the pollution of products shipped from the other side of the globe.
Follow the Money Flow
Every business spends a good deal of money to make more money. Big businesses have bigger budgets as well as bigger goals. Many big brands spend big money lobbying government to re-write the rules so corporations can cash out. Business lobbies spend hundreds of millions of dollars purchasing our politicians and demolishing our democracy. In return the American government spends billions of dollars in government contracts with these corporations and big business knows you have to pay your politicians to play with their purse. Check out the Dollars and Death t-shirt to see how corporate money influences our military and check out the great work by the Center for Responsive Politics at opensecrets.org
When you shop local and spend your money at small local businesses you are supporting the vitality of your local community, you are strengthening your community and you’re also support the culture of your community. Your community is in your own backyard, but your neighbors aren’t your only community. Many small businesses don’t have a physical store, but you can support them through their online store. In the digital age, we have virtual communities that we support. When you support your online community you can support those small businesses that help nurture creativity and culture. Of course you can support the Progress community right now with the Support Community t-shirt.
Non-Profits Need Us
Sometimes it’s best to give the gift to someone else. Many of us know that our friends and families have all the things they need and the things they want. But there are always people in need that aren’t as fortunate and could really use a helping hand. Don’t overlook the importance of supporting those organizations. But keep in mind not every organization is as transparent as we might hope. Small organizations generally have smaller operating costs and more of the money you invest supports their programs.
Buy All Means Necessary
You never need to buy the things you don’t need to live, but many of us feel compelled to buy those things. The holiday season puts pressure on many to purchase presents and indulge. Truth is, money can’t buy love or happiness, but it can buy debt and depression. Presents should not be purchased because of societal pressures. If you don’t have the expendable income for purchasing presents – don’t buy the shit you don’t need! Giving should feel good. When you spend money (credit) that you don’t have, it doesn’t feel good and those gifts end up being a lot more expensive over time. Check out the Buy All Means Necessary t-shirt, but don’t go into debt to get it.
Enjoy an Experience
Giving gifts doesn’t have to mean buying products in the old-fashioned way. Gifts come in all forms, they can be made, they can be built, they can be creative and they can be experiences. Spending time with the special people in your life can be far more memorable than purchasing the latest gadget because you didn’t know what else to buy. Experience something special and make the moments memorable.
For the past 5 years, I’ve refused to purchase traditional presents for my nieces. They have all the things they need and a whole lot more. So each year for their birthdays and holidays I create a memorable experience for us to share. This has included music lessons, baking lessons, and a weekend vacation. Think outside the confines of box stores and make an experience that you can all enjoy.
So back to our premise – malls aren’t good places. They are good for people watching, but other than that, malls don’t have many benefits to offer humanity. Malls are large suburban boxes, filled with mundane chain stores stocked with empty brands that market elaborate stories to manufacture emotional responses and sell plastic conformity made in underdeveloped nations.
Use your power and start making changes and most of all, F*CK THE MALL, SHOP SMALL.
From now to 12/31/14 get a 20% discount on all purchases at ProgressLabel.com with the coupon code: shop_small
Center for Responsive Politics
Center for Public Integrity
Project on Government Oversight
Federal Contractor Misconduct Database