I wrote a review for BikeCommuters on my Swobo gloves. It led to an interesting discussion on why people should pay so much for the gloves when they look pretty similar to cheaper work gloves. Which in turn led, to a discussion about voting with your wallet.
I wrote a comment there that I think pretty sums up how I feel about buying things, so I thought I'd reprint it here:
I believe strongly with what Tim (from Swobo) says. We vote with our dollar and companies listen to that.
That is the reason we’re seeing “organics” in our food and now in our apparel. It’s also why you see all the friggin “green” car commercials (who the heck are they kidding? 28mpg is fuel efficient?)
If it weren’t for the potential profit, all the larger companies would give a rats ass about being green or environmentally friendly. It would be businesses as usual, making things as cheaply as possible without regard to people or nature.
That is why I am willing to spend a little more for a better product coming from a good company. I always try to buy my bike and camera gear from local companies first, because I know if I don’t, all that there will be left are Best Buys and Walmarts.
I’ll buy products from Planet Bike (25% to bike advocacy, solar powered building), Xtracycle (has a non-profit called Xaccess), Bike Friday (moved to greener building practices), Swobo (for all the reasons mentioned in the review), Patagonia (for being on the leading edge of responsible production), Rivendell (for their practical approach to bicycles) and I may even consider Trek now (their two wheels one world campaign…still not sure where that’s going :). I do this because I want to acknowledge and encourage what their doing, and also send a message to other companies that they should follow suit.
Yes, it may cost more sometimes. Yes, I’m fortunate that I have some financial flexibility. However, I have found that these things cost less in the long run because you don’t have to replace them.
I have a simple motto when it comes to purchasing: Buy it right the first time.
And “right”, for me has often meant getting something of quality from businesses that are as serious about their products as they are about their profits.