What not to buy, what to buy instead

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I'm convinced that consumerism is the great distracter in America today. Why decry the many erosions of personal liberties, civil behavior, or quality of life when I can buy a sharp new outfit. The Style Network is my favorite venue for shadows and delusion. What's yours?

But there's a solution: an unpopular, collective solution. But if the least-resistant take it up, promote it a bit, and benefit from it, then perhaps others will follow. Buy less, buy well. Buy from your ethics, and don't support those whose values you don't share with your money.

So, if you register Internet domains with GoDaddy, you might want to change registrars given the "it ain't really torture" attitude of one of its founders. If I did register with them, I'd drop it right now. (Hat tip: Jordon Cooper) I still won't drink Coors.

But a postive "buy-cott" is a bit more intuitive. Support those companies that reflect your values. But don't buy more you need.

The money you save might be needed to defend your liberties or help causes you think are vital.

So this is your turn to comment: which companies or products do you like, and what buying strategies do you employ?

5 Replies to “What not to buy, what to buy instead”

  1. the hardest and best thing for those of us living in rural areas to do: is not shop at W*lm*rt. the problem is that it is the cheapest place around. It is also the easiest place to find “big city” items like h.e. detergent. sometimes its the only place to find anything: if i want to buy pasteboard booksheves. I can pay under $30 at walmart, or drive roundtrip miles and pay $50. No other option. (or i could buy a $200 – 300 good quality by special ordering at a local furniture shop).

    why should i pay more at other stores? there is a reason w*lm*rt is cheap, they buy stuff in china – and have parttime workers in the usa. etc.

    * to avoid this being easily found in a search engine.

    (and I drank one c*ors in my life and that was 27 years ago)

  2. Nestle products are boycotted by many universities in the United Kingdom because of their hard marketing of baby milk in the Third World. I don’t really target companies as I don’t know enough about them but I’ll always try to buy free range eggs etc I also have a pair of Nike trainers that I bought some time ago but think that in future I’ll try not to buy from the sweat shop companies (How hard is it to do this?).

    Why is Coors beer not bought?

  3. I recall there was an organized Nestle boycott here for the same reason, but that was years ago. (And Nestle seems to have a much larger part of the US food market today.) I thought they gave up marketing infant formula in sub-Saharan Africa, but this would be a good thing to revisit.

    The United Church of Christ participated in a recently concluded boycott of Taco Bell and a pickle manufacturer in solidarity with mistreated farm workers. (Taco Bell was a major buyer of tomatoes.)

    The Coors family and their foundations — funded by the beer company — is notoriously right wing and anti-gay, and are major donors to anti-gay organizations. But in the age of high-end liquor and microbrew beer, I can’t imagine Coors has the same cachet as it did when the boycott started in the late 1970s.

    I think the biggest (semi-)organized boycott in America today is against that commercial malignancy, Walmart. Unlike Steven R, I’m willing to write that company’s name in full in phrases like: “Walmart is unfair to workers.” “Walmart sells poor quality merchandise.” “Walmart destroys American manufacturing” and “Walmart ruins small business.” and “UK readers should also avoid ASDA, which Walmart owns.”

  4. Tecos is the UK equivalent of Walmart and something like 1p out of every pound is now spent there – well thats what the news said. I really do disagree with these gigantic companies but often its a case of purchase stuff from them or go without.

  5. Then do without. Or look harder. There are always options. Unless you give into big-boxes and they kill all the small businesses. (And Walmart really owns ASDA.)

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