Voting for Accountability

January 10th, 2019

Week 2: The 2019 Voting with My Dollar Project

A friend recently asked me what my word is for the year. I didn’t have one. But her question percolated in my mind over the next few days, and one word kept circling back into my consciousness: accountability.

It might not sound all that sexy, but I love this word. It’s another way of describing adulting in all the ways I do these days — as a mom, as a wife, as a business owner, as a friend. And also, of course, there’s that little matter of being accountable to oneself and one’s values. It’s about making even the smallest decisions with intent.

One of my major goals this year is financial accountability.

I got a major head start on this in 2018. With Jon, I created a will, started a retirement plan, got life insurance, and created a binder of information in case anything happens to either of us. We also took a good hard look at our budget and made some mature changes.

But there was still one thing hanging over my head, and that’s where I spend my money. If I give my money to a company that gives discounts to the NRA, I am effectively supporting the NRA. If I give my money to a company whose CEO gave money to the Trump campaign, I am by inaction supporting Trump, and that’s a big fat no way.

How I spend my money holds me accountable to supporting my values, and it also holds companies accountable to how they spend my money. True, it’s pennies here and pennies there — no company is going to freak out if I stop shopping with them. But it’s a start.

One of the places I think about voting with my dollar is with food shopping — since we spend a lot of money in this category every month. We do a lot of our food shopping at the local, member-owned co-op, which already prioritizes local and ethically sourced products, making it easy to shop with one’s dollar. However, it’s also expensive at the co-op, and I can’t get everything there.

So one of us (it’s Jon; I can’t handle the fluorescent lights) makes a trip to the “depressing grocery store,” as I call it, about once a week. We have two such groceries in our small town: Market 32 and Hannaford

I did some research into the ownership of these two stores, and here’s what I found out.

Hannaford, while started in Maine in 1883 (!), is now owned by a company called Ahold Delhaize, based in the Netherlands. It’s a public company without a singular owner. I can find no ties to the NRA or the GOP so far. The president is Michael Vail. His LinkedIn profile gives me no red flags.

Market 32 i s a Price Chopper brand. Neil Golub, who served as the company’s president forever before retiring to the position of executive board chairman, is an outspoken Republican who made waves during the last presidential election for saying he would never vote for Trump, who he called “vulgar” and said “brings out the worst in people.” (Indeed.) Points for Market 32. Also that Golun is a lauded philanthropist who has contributed boatloads to tons of great causes.

So I’m at draw between Hannaford and Market 32 for the moment, but feel good knowing a little bit more about where my money goes when I shop at either!

This project is ongoing and of course, highly subjective. I love information, so if I got something wrong, or you know something I don’t, please let me know!

What I’m eating:

No sugar, booze, or simple carbs. And I’m starting to feel better in the post-holiday recuperation period.

What I’m reading:

I just started Milkman by Anna Burns and am currently feeling like I may have to read it twice because what the hell is going on.

What I’m watching:

No TV because I am on a reading jag! I did try really hard to watch Trump’s State of the Union and could not choke it down. The lack of genuine sentiment is so palpable when he speaks, that it’s hard to care.


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