When the spirit of carpooling meets capitalism, what do you get? Of the possible answers, one new green one is Earth Aid Group Buys from the folks at Earth Aid Enterprises. This interesting concept brings green consumers together in order to harness their collective power and “leverage,” as it were, for large-volume discounts on eco-friendly goods.
For the most part, the muscle power that comes with large-volume merchandising has belonged to big corporations–Wal-Mart is by far the best example. When these megabusinesses flex that muscle, they often put the squeeze on more than just merchandise manufacturers; they also can squeeze out smaller, local businesses. After all, why would shoppers pay more for products at small pharmacy, grocery, and appliance stores when they can go to a single SUPERSTORE and buy everything they need at one place for a lower price? As these superplexes mushroom in size and number, the local “little guy” may quickly get strangled and suffocate.
In contrast, Earth Aid’s Group Buys puts the power back in the hands of consumers. As far as I can see, this is a great potential resource for consumers who are looking for ways to go green without spending all their hard-earned green. That is, Earth Aid allows consumers to wield the same power as large corporations–and so get those same big-purchase discounts from the manufacturers. Or, as Earth Aid puts it:
This process allows all of us to band our purchasing power together into a formidable force–which we use to drive prices down. And it works because of a very simple proposition–manufacturers can cut prices progressively for larger and larger bulk orders.
Being the wishy-washy shopper that I am, I am glad you have the ability to make “conditional orders.” You can specify certain conditions on the price and so forth that must be met before you agree to buy. Since these are factored in along with confirmed orders, you still help to lower the price by adding your possible dollar to the order.
Also helpful is a buying period of two to three weeks. This allows more and more consumers to toss their green into the pot and so keep on lowering the price of the item in question. It also gives other green wishy-washies like me time to reconsider and grab back that conditional order before time is up and everyone has to pay up!
Since this is new, it is still growing in terms of goods offered and people coming on board. But they do have some cool stuff–electric lawnmowers, portable solar chargers, and solar-charged outdoor lighting, for example. One thing I especially like is the Earth Aid Kit, filled with lots of green goodies such as CFL bulbs, low-flow showerheads, and power meters, just to name a few. These would make great gifts for greenies and non-greenies alike…perhaps a way to introduce a family member, loved one, or close friend to the world of sustainable living. Or it would make a great gift for yourself.
Either way, the Earth Aid Kit and the other products in this first round come at significant savings thanks to the collective capitalist muscle power Earth Aid gives to green consumers. And so the products do end up being great gifts to yourself, saving you money–in the price you pay and in the savings the products themselves can bring!
More importantly, they are great gifts to the Earth. They help us do our part to save the real, living green of nature.
Thanks to Earth Aid, poor old Karl Marx may be rolling over in his grave. But oh, capitalism nowadays rarely feels quite so guiltless…and eco-friendly.