Money Values: The power of the people can be best represented in how and where we spend our dollars. Becoming conscious consumers is a step in the direction of putting our money where our mouths are. By putting real, tangible black and white dollar signs behind what we support as well as pulling our spending from places we don’t, we can collectively make a big impact to change for the better. The recent announcement by Dick’s Sporting Goods to stop selling assault style rifles and setting an under 21 ban for other guns is a great example of a company taking a major step due to customer push back, after it was reported that the Parkland shooter had legally bought one of his guns from their store. Not only was the store overwhelmed with notes, flowers and gifts of gratitude, but many people went online or in stores and made a purchase to say thanks.And their action led to a ripple effect amongst other similar retailers such as REI, LL Bean and Walmart, following suit.
It is an important facet of our democracy that we understand the power of our collective consumption. We can truly have an impact when we educate ourselves about the ethics of the companies where we are spending our money. The more we know and do our research, the more we are able to actively put economic energy behind our words and directly impact these big corporations in, too often, the only way they can actually hear us: the bottom line. If companies are losing money due to unpopular policies, a major financial hit might be the only sure fire way to hit them where it hurts. Conversely, actively spending our money on companies that promote fair, live able wages, sustainable development and cleaner environmental policies thrive when we actively reward them with our wallets. If we really want to have our foods be pesticide free, we need to buy organic. The phenomenon of whole foods being a perfect example, of a collective economic demand for healthier, higher quality foods. If we want our sporting goods stores to not be selling assault rifles to teenagers, clearly we can make a strong statement by steering clear.
Companies which display notable kindness and humanitarianism in the way retail chains TJ Maxx, JCPenney and Luxxottica have recently by continuing to pay their employees in Puerto Rico stores that have have not yet reopened since the hurricane, we as consumers can back up their good deeds by buying with them over a competitor. In a world where democracy can feel frugal at times, it is important to heed the collective impact of financially conscious choices. As moms who are in charge of where the family dollars are being spent, we can feel good about putting our brains into our budgets. With every ripple of each trip to the market we create waves of change.