I decided to start writing this blog after I watched Trigger Warning with Killer Mike. There was an episode where he spent a day only supporting black-owned businesses. To the letter, he didn’t participate in any activity that didn’t buttress the black economy. No phone, no car, he ate no food that wasn’t prepared by black chefs AND sourced from black-owned farms. He didn’t smoke weed or stay in a hotel or take a cab. Maybe it was mostly a stunt, but the underlying point stuck with me. He explained on the show that there was a time when the black community sustained black businesses by choosing to purchase goods and services from those businesses. It was a conscious effort to bolster an economy for black entrepreneurs. During the civil rights era, it created a vibrant sub-economy.
I was struck by the clarity of this idea as well as ashamed by how little I myself considered from whom I was buying. I do try to be thoughtful about where I spend my money, but I never examined the real power behind it. So, I took my concern to Google to find a site that compiled businesses that are worthy of the dollar. There are sites for businesses that are green. There are lists of black-owned businesses, women-owned businesses, immigrant-owned businesses, locally-owned businesses. None of them felt complete to me. I wanted a site that gave me the product and told me the reasons I should buy it. That drew me a picture of the positive impact my purchase would make. I wanted a site with holistic meaning, more than just consumerist reflection. For example, my time is a valuable asset so I wanted to know valuable ways I could spend it. I wanted a guide to mindful consumerism AND mindful living. I couldn’t find anything like that. Thus, Powerful Purchase was born.
In most cases, the best thing you can do as a consumer is NOT to consume. Don’t purchase. However, there are other times in which you can choose to purchase because it positively impacts a community. Or, because it sends a message. Or, because it changes a business model. Finding purchase isn’t always about buying stuff. Gaining ground, holding on, finding a foothold sometimes means giving your time, rethinking your choices, planting new ideas, considering alternatives. We need each other to make things better and most of us need to buy things from time to time. There are ways to merge those two truths. That is what the powerful purchase is about. Making each other better by being better to each other.
This blog is intended to be a journey. There will be a fair amount of consumer reviews. But for every blog, I’m aiming for what matters. I’m aiming to find the best purchase, figuratively or literally. I’m aiming to find a powerful purchase because I care about how I spend my resources. I’m guessing you do too. Here I will build a collection of worthy ways to be a consumer — worthy ways to be a human being. This isn’t just a product review blog. I intend to highlight any organization or idea that matters. So you will find, within these pages, ways you can use your power for good.
I want this site to make a difference. I believe there is a way to make a difference, one powerful purchase at a time.