What is ThinkBuying?
(I found this term at http://www.thinkbuying.com/ but I'm giving it my own meaning here.)
Many of us, including me, put a lot of effort in researching products before we buy. I've always focused on getting the lowest price and the best quality and features for my money. In the background, I've occasionally given some thought as to whether or not I'm buying from an ethical company, but how could you possibly know? Before the advent of the web, researching who you buy from was an extreme effort. Not anymore! There are tons of websites to help you think before you buy. (see the list at the end of this post)
I found these sites after watching a film called "The Corporation" on Sundance this weekend. I was quite shaken up by how much I didn't know. It really rocked my world. It led me to look deeper into corporate ethics and what I could do to make a difference in influencing the impact huge corporations are having on our society, culture, values and even our personal lives. So from time to time, I'll be sharing some of my journey and learnings about the concept of ThinkBuying with you.
ThinkBuying may not seem to directly relate to organizing, but think about it. Why do so many people today need help organizing? From personal experience, I can tell you that much of the clutter I help people deal with is a direct result of out-of-control, impulse spending. Much of this spending is spurred on through extremely manipulative marketing designed to make us want things we don't need - purely to make a profit for the companies - not to help us. They don't want us to really think before we buy. Part of helping people prevent clutter is helping them learn to take back control of what they spend money on and what they choose to bring into their homes. So that is part of ThinkBuying.
Another part of ThinkBuying is thinking about how socially responsible the companies we buy from are. Do they really care if our children are harmed by their products? Or if they are destroying the environment? I'm not advocating that everyone become a radical. Corporations have done a lot of good in the world. But the bigger they grow, and the more they market to children using amazingly devious tactics, and the more we start seeing schools and public art centers being named after corporate sponsors (e.g., the Garden State Arts Center is now the PNC Bank Arts Center), and the more corporations like Coke and McDonalds are fighting tooth and nail with school districts to have the right to take over school cafeterias, the more we have to start wondering: just how far will their desire to manipulate us go? what will stop them? What will the limits be?
Two college students have already become walking billboards to pay for their college tuitions. Including getting tattoos with the name of the companies. Will the corporations also dictate what they can study? Others have paid for their weddings by turning them into ads / reality shows. Babies are used in commercials now, how long before children themselves are leased out to become walking ads just so parents can afford to raise them and give them all the stuff corporations are selling?
So, what I'm suggesting is not that you become a radical, but that we become more aware of how we are being manipulated and maybe that we take just a few minutes to think before we buy.
Wishing you nothing but the best,
Here's how to see "The Corporation" for yourself:
- TV: Sundance Channel - it airs again on Jan 16. If you don't have a TiVo or DVR, find someone who does to record it and watch it with.
- LIBRARY: If you can't do that, try a library.
- BOOKSTORE: You can also get the film and the book at Amazon:
DVD - The Corporation - 2 Disc Set with Tons of Bonus Footage
BOOK: The Corporation
Related Interesting Material
Cosumer Education Websites
- The OCA promotes food safety, organic farming and sustainable agriculture Great information to make informed food choices and understand how Genetic engineering, irradiation, hormones, etc. are used in our food supply.
The Social-Responsibility Index, or SRI is a rating of business character or citizenship. The higher the index the more likely we would want such a business to thrive within our community. This website is a great source to help you make conscious decisions.
If you haven't watched the film / documentary "The Corporation" yet, I strongly recommend investing 2 hours and 25 minutes to learn some stunning facts about the the history of how corporations came to be in the first place.
Univ of AZ report: schools are a prime corporate advertising targets. Learn what's being marketed to children in schools, what's being done to try to stop it, and the lengths corp's are going to fight parents & schools from banning junk food.
National coalition of health care professionals, educators, and parents seeking to limit direct marketing to children.
Links to Organizations Concerned about Social Responsibility and the Effects of Rampant Consumerism
This is a "citizens' portal on brands and corporations". You can search for profiles on over 9,500 companies. Profiles list their social & environmental records
Features news, analysis and exposes about various corporations with records of environmental, labour, or social injustices.