One of our projects today was to put a deer fence around my wife’s half-acre garden. You see the deer have been freely walking through and seem to like the leaves of everything from sunflowers to soybeans. With all the hard work that goes into tilling and growing, this is not a welcome development.
My wife and I were in our local Tractor Supply looking for twine to tie the deer fencing to the posts we were installing. We had reached the point where our seemingly endless ball of twine had been used up. We made our way to the rope section and found that all the rope and twine were products of a company whose values we don’t support.
We were faced with the dilemma of the convenience of buying what we needed right now or walking away. We didn’t think long about it. We decided we would scavenge twine from other parts of the garden until we could find twine from another company.
When we were back in the garden, I got to thinking about how, each day, we are faced with the choice of whether we support businesses whose values are not consistent with ours. On the one hand many people I know are quick to share an opinion about how badly these companies treat their employees, subvert the political process for their own gain, undermine unions, etc. They say they believe this is wrong. Yet, when they are faced with spending their money with the companies they vilify they have some rationalizing story that soothes their conscious and overrides what they say. To my way of thinking the only way to know what someone truly believe is to observe their actions.
I’m no saint. There are times when I don’t pay attention to the company behind the products I buy. My wife is much more attuned to this and helps me steer clear of obvious situations like she did at Tractor Supply today.
Many who read this post believe we need to reform corporate values. The only way this change is going to happen is for you and I to vote our values with our purchases. Companies can’t exist without customers. Customers who buy from their values will impact company values. For one of the key principles of all corporations is survival. If changing the values of a company can impact its survival, that change may well happen.
My invitation is for you to join me in exercising greater vigilance in spending your money. FInd out about the companies behind the goods and services you buy. Never compromise for the sake of convenience. It’s just not worth it.