TIL: Voting with my dollars

The year was 2002. I was a young, single woman in a new city with a job that demanded a lot of my time and body but paid me a lot for it. I got into the world of indulgences on my downtime. Indulgences that I hadn't been able to afford up until that moment. One of my indulgences was buying magazines - specifically fashion and beauty magazines like Cosmopolitan. I had an informal, over-priced subscription with a magazine vendor who delivered my copies to my desk as soon as they were available.

I used to enjoy fawning over the glossy looks and lives in Cosmo until one day my irritation got the better of me. All the haircare tips were not appropriate for my hair type. In fact any black woman in the haircare photos usually had a very obvious weave or wig. Didn't the editors of Cosmo know the difference between real hair and fake?

Ditto the makeup tips that if I followed, I would end up looking like the ghost of Frankenstein's bride.

Or the so called affordable fashion pieces that cost hundreds of dollars. Since when did spending hundreds of dollars on a skirt become an "affordable" choice.

I stepped back and made the shocking realization that the magazine was not meant for me. I was not part of their target demographics because if I was, there would be more articles and personalities that I could relate to on the pages. In fact, the magazine seemed to act like I did not exist. Why should I support the success and future of their business when they had such disdain for my existence? I shouldn't. I stopped buying Cosmopolitan magazine that year and have never gone back on that decision.

I voted with my money.

Ditto when I realize the anguish that the paparazzi were causing for celebrities I admired like Princess Diana and Michael Jackson. Why should they suffer a forced lack of privacy just for me to get juicy tidbits of their lives that they'd rather not share. I didn't not want to be a contributor to their misery so I stopped. Paparazzi exist because tabloids exist. Tabloids exist because people buy them. It's a cycle that I had a role in. Breaking that cycle meant making a conscious decision not to contribute financially to the coffers of any tabloid magazine. So I stopped buying tabloids.

I voted with my money.

It's an interesting concept but one that's easy to dismiss as just a drop in the ocean. Afterall, the magazines are still thriving million dollar businesses even with me witholding my paltry $$$ subscriptions. But that's not the point. It's not about the $$$ but about the principle.

At some point in the intentional living journey, conscious consumerism becomes a thing and with that comes the choice to vote with your money.

Companies and stores with questionable ethics, shoddy customer service, insensitive corporate culture? They all get voted off the island.

If enough of us were willing to vote with our money, the companies would do better.

1 comment :

  1. I'm so happy to see a fellow African blogging about intentional living. We are far and few between on the blog scene. I had an epiphany once: Magazines are in the business of selling ads to their readers, most things are advertorials. This thought has kept me from impulsively buying glossies whenever I have the urge.

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