At the outbreak of the global Covid-19 pandemic, social media was abuzz with consumers stocking up on toilet paper and other necessities. Perhaps, you may have also been one of them, risking it all to panic buy.
While calm has returned, a lot is still unknown about this pandemic. Even though the panic-stricken queues may have gotten shorter, there’s still a lot of influence you can have by tweaking your consumer habits.
Support local, small, slow-moving retailers
The norm is to go for the larger retailers who deliver overnight and have global social media coverage. Yet, by opting for the smaller shops, you may be helping small businesses stay afloat. For the most part, shipping and delivery may be somewhat slow-moving as opposed to their larger counterparts. Still, you could be contributing to keeping family legacies open in these times.
Support art that pays artists
If art is your therapeutic outlet, you may be buying and downloading artwork online. Go for the stores that pay artists in monetary terms for their work (not stars, not credits, but money).
Unfortunately, a lot of work by artists ends up being replicated as popular art with artists barely getting credit or cash. Stop downloading stolen art for free. Download from the artists’ websites and pay or donate something if possible, to show real love.
Show love on social media
When last did you give a shout out to your favourite local, handmade brands or small business outlets in your area? Even if you are not in a position to make a purchase, your online shout out can go a long way. It can serve as a reference or strengthen the business to keep going. Showing love on social media can be as simple as tagging the business in your Facebook story, tagging them to your Instagram post, tagging them to a career-related LinkedIn article, add them in the background of your TikTok videos, or simply retweeting their posts on Twitter.
Don’t underestimate the power you have as a consumer. In your everyday student life and making purchases, what and where you purchase can make a big difference to your community and the earth.
Opt for products that try to minimise harm by adopting fair trade, as well as those who try to do no harm to animals and the environment. Remember the power of supply and demand. Your Rands can and do make a difference, particularly if spent wisely.