Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Vote with Your Dollar

I could dedicate this post to how much I love Aldi (prices, products, business model, convenient location...), BUT that's not what I need to say right now. Instead, let me just talk about their business model and how it makes a very important political point.

Aldi is not known for their brand variety (another thing I love). With few to zero competing brands, you get one low price and less time debating between similar products. This also means they can bring in a new product (from one of their brands) and "test" it out--not versus other brands, but just as a grocery item in general. When the test products sell, Aldi continues to stock them. Makes sense, right?

That practice is called Voting With Your Dollar, and it applies to anything you spend money on--groceries, clothes, education, heath, transportation, housing...where your dollar goes, your politicians and further money/support follows. In the Aldi world, a vote with your dollar means they keep stocking the things you like. Most recently, that's meant organic/grass fed beef--yes, at Aldi, and for about half the price of beef from Whole Foods!

On a grander scale (and in theory--I realize there are lots of other things at play), a vote with your dollar means more funds allocated to public transit (because you--and a lot of other people--took the bus or biked instead of driving), locally-sourced products (because your farmer's market is more popular than your Wal-Mart), or movies with no vampires (because everyone went to see the Tina Fey/Amy Poehler comedy instead). Dollars sent to the bank, the thrift store, or to airlines are all votes--for saving, conscious consumption, and travel.

I think you get the idea. Send your Washingtons on a mission. Start small--find local products at your grocery store and support independent businesses you trust and admire. Your (and my) buying habits won't change world economies (not overnight), but we can influence our corners of the planet and feel good about the money we spend. At the very least, my personal "dollar votes" will ensure cheese and wine are always stocked at my Aldi.

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