What companies do you actively support, and why?
December 3, 2004 6:08 PM   Subscribe

What companies do you actively support, and why?
posted by sugarfish to Shopping (44 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Stonyfield - because they make the best yogurt on the planet & donate 10% of their profits to environmental causes.
Santa Cruz Coffee Roasting Co. - everything they sell is certified Fair Trade & tastes great.
posted by invisible ink at 6:42 PM on December 3, 2004

- Apple Computer, because of their manifest and ongoing commitment to great design.
- jetBlue, very much despite their Mormonism, because they make discount travel much more pleasant than had come to be the default case, and I travel a lot.
- Dyson vacuum cleaners, Herman Miller furniture, Ludicorp (makers of Flickr), et al., for reasons which can be adduced from my comments about Apple.

...and really, that's about it. Companies are troubling things, generally unworthy of our support.
posted by Adam Greenfield at 6:43 PM on December 3, 2004

Oh, and Dean & DeLuca. Mmmmmm, caffeine.
posted by Adam Greenfield at 6:43 PM on December 3, 2004

none, because they're companies.
posted by andrew cooke at 6:53 PM on December 3, 2004

Define support.
posted by caddis at 7:02 PM on December 3, 2004

fair trade coffee and using Vermont made products when possible are the only ones I go out of my way to purchase (VT being my adopted state).

costco in principle (and in practice although that's easy) because of their labor practices.
posted by evening at 7:12 PM on December 3, 2004

I disagree on the Stoneyfield. First, it appears they bought up the brand name of my old favorite yogurt, Brown Cow, an old Ithaca Farmer's Market home-grown favorite, and changed the recipe. Loved the creamy layer on top. Now, I am into the great greek stuff.
Second, I would much rather that companies charge me 10% less for a product, and let me decide what causes to donate to. I believe corporations should consider externalities and be pro-social, but often these "donations" are just PR events--they get credit for being charitable. Often, these products are on the higher end of the scale (think pre-Unilever Ben and Jerry's) and use that charity cachet. Maybe it is a matter of accounting, but if companies want to give, do it out of profits, and don't trumpet it on your labels.

That said, I support Apple, I jilted them for 15 years, and now I am back.
posted by Duck_Lips at 7:17 PM on December 3, 2004

Not sure what you mean by support either other than favour for either social/political, personal, or entirely emotional reasons.

Japanese car manufacturers, particularly Toyota and Honda because of personal experience and the experience of friends and relatives with and without these cars. A commitment to excellence even though Honda ran those rice-boy commercials.

Macromedia because Dreamweaver, for me, strikes the perfect balance between power and ease of use and well, because I use it almost daily and mostly in code view.

Adobe for Photoshop and InDesign. See above for reasons.

Hack PCs because you can customize them, they're affordable in terms of actual value, and much more flexible than Apple or other brand name boxes. Highly subjective of course and I'm at peace with Linux, Mac, Solaris, and people who don't use computers at all.

Doc Marten. Shoes that last.

I generally 'spread the word' about these products in a very polite and soft manner. People can make their own decisions and preferences vary vastly.
posted by juiceCake at 7:28 PM on December 3, 2004

As if it really matters. [since we're getting snarky I couldn't resist.]
posted by ChasFile at 7:32 PM on December 3, 2004

For me, it's more which companies do i avoid, and then, i try to support those that have domestic partner policies, and generally treat their employees well, and keep jobs in the country, and more recently, that don't give more support to the GOP than to Dems.
posted by amberglow at 7:50 PM on December 3, 2004

-The hospitals which helped me through my much-needed (and successful) surgery and subsequent theraphy.
-The insurance company which helped though the costs, and didn't drop me like a stone following my recovery, nor raise my premiums too unreasonably high.
-My DSL provider, which has provided excellent service for the money they charge me.
-My credit union, for not running off with my savings.
-The auto repair center which inspects my car, and provides knowledgable, respectable service, rather than excuses, lies, and blank expressions.
-The utility companies in my area, who provide reasonable service.
-The airline which transported me to my family reunion and back without bumping my reservation to another flight, or placing me on a jet with rivets popping off the wings.
-The local gas station for not adulterating their fuel in an attempt to take advantage of the recent surges in prices.
-The overnight delivery companies, which bring my packages without losing or damaging the packages.
-Macromedia, which provides the ponie that help matt in providing us ponies.
-Anti-spyware companies, for fighting the good fight, as opposed to declining to even bother.

That's just the short list. I could likely come up with more.
posted by Smart Dalek at 8:02 PM on December 3, 2004

None. I have trouble understanding this question.

There are products and services I seek out, until they piss me off, and there are small businesses I patronise because I like the owners. That's all.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 8:22 PM on December 3, 2004

Whole Foods market.

And for coffee, the Allegro brand coffee they carry - which is much better than Fair Trade-certified. Fair Trade only guarantees a minumum price. Allegro goes further - travels to the farms, contracts with growers, ensures the employees are actually getting a fair wage, teaches and rewards sustainable agricultural practices.

Besides, it's coffee so good it'll make your knees buckle.
posted by Miko at 8:29 PM on December 3, 2004

For coffee, Irving Farms and the Mud Truck.
Six Apart.
Second for JetBlue.

General Dynamics okay, not really.
posted by Vidiot at 8:56 PM on December 3, 2004

Apple, small dairies, green market producers...
posted by ParisParamus at 9:24 PM on December 3, 2004

Microsoft, Wal-Mart, Chevy, Nascar, and Robitussin.
posted by angry modem at 9:44 PM on December 3, 2004

John Lewis and the Co-op, because they're run on a socialist model.
posted by bonaldi at 10:18 PM on December 3, 2004

I don't know if "support" is the right word, but I'm especially happy to do business with Netflix and Vonage, because in they really seem capable of undermining a couple of markets where the cards are stacked against the consumer.
posted by coelecanth at 10:20 PM on December 3, 2004

Ok, I'll bite: American Apparel

I mean, someone's still making clothes in the US (that is, with out the undocumented undocumented labor and sweatshop). It's hard to believe. And their tees are fantastish.
posted by leecifer at 10:26 PM on December 3, 2004

My definition of support is "will choose this product/service over competitor's product/service even if the price isn't the lowest for the quality of service".

Working Assets Long Distance, who gives a certain percentage of their profits to good causes. They also have a credit card now which gives .10 per purchase off their backs. They also used to give a free pint of Ben and Jerry's for your first year of long distance. Members get a chance to vote on the causes too.

The one problem is that they never...stop...sending...stuff....
posted by ontic at 10:49 PM on December 3, 2004

I support any company that manufactures gin.

God bless you, gin-makers!
posted by mr_crash_davis at 11:35 PM on December 3, 2004

I don't really support companies because they're companies. I make return purchases on products I love. Here's a list of things I love:

American Apparel are my favorite shirts, and mostly for the fit, but the extra nice way they treat workers is just cream on top.

My favorite drink are the organic bottled teas from Honest Tea. I saw the CEO give a talk at a conference and yeah he was really earnest and yeah the name is cheesy but it tastes fantastic and it all organic and whatnot. The berry flavor or assam black or their decaf ceylong are wonderful. They're barely sweet, which I like. It's like the trend towards making stuff for grown-ups that isn't dumped with sugar. If I ever add sugar to something I'm drinking straight, it's always less than a single packet and that's what this tastes like -- a hint of sweet instead of the syrupy flavor of Snapple.

I can't help but love my TiVo. I'm on my fourth one, currently a hacked out the wazoo DirecTiVo.

I guess I do like REI as a company, but it's mostly for their plain label products that work and are cheap.

I like most of Apple's stuff but I'm not a fanboy. I hated macs and the attitudes surrounding them all through the 90s until they finally got a real OS that didn't crash every two seconds. I'm on my third laptop since 2001 and will likely replace my current one next year (c'mon G5s!). I do fancy my ipod too, but wish it also did video and had a color screen.

Oh, I buy as much of my hair, skin, and shaving products from Kiehl's. Hella expensive ($16 for a small thing of hair gel, $25 for a small tube of scrub, etc), but the stuff is simple, clean, and works. Their $14 shaving cream is the best I've ever used and I continue to purchase stuff from there. Blame my gay friends and Queer Eye for making me care about my skin care.

Nothing else comes to mind as a company or product I love so I guess I just sort of tolerate everything else.
posted by mathowie at 11:58 PM on December 3, 2004

I always choose Paul Newman food products when available. They are delicious, made with natural ingredients, and are generally healthier than the alternatives. Plus, Paul Newman is just too cool. Not to mention that 100 percent of all profits go to charity. Doesn't get better than that.
posted by honeyx at 12:28 AM on December 4, 2004

I supported a company called metafilter.com with $5, because I got sick of having snarky remarks and no way to post them.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 1:33 AM on December 4, 2004

I support Blizzard Entertainment. They're the Rolls Royce of PC game makers.

I also seem to be giving a large portion of my discretionary income to Blue Bell Ice Cream.
posted by WolfDaddy at 3:05 AM on December 4, 2004

I like the food court in Village by the Grange. It has many independent stands with great food at great prices. My personal favorite is the greek stand, the lady there is way too nice (greek, you know...). There are many other top notch stalls too.

Sadly, McDonald's invaded this year, maybe it won't kill the deal...
posted by Chuckles at 3:11 AM on December 4, 2004

I try to buy from gas from BP, because of public statements by its CEO acknowledging global warming and the role that fossil fuels play in it. I'm warming up to Shell for the same reason, though I've avoided them for years.

I don't really buy from companies that say they'll donate a portion of their profits to charity (at least, I don't buy from them for that reason), because I'd rather see them make a good product, with good materials and good treatment of workers. That said, I'd be happy to have a credit card where the points or whatever bought green tags, as way of supporting renewable energy development.
posted by claxton6 at 5:41 AM on December 4, 2004

Not sure I "support" companies in the sense you mean, but I always have good things to say about services and products by Netflix, Apple, Sony, and Speakeasy DSL, and will continue to do so as long as they keep treating me right.
posted by John Kenneth Fisher at 7:28 AM on December 4, 2004

my local teleco, Ringgold Telephone Company, because of the rich history they have with my area and the awesome support they've given me over the years. plus, in the past few years they've rolled out some pretty ballsy far out new services for such a podunk of a town.
posted by mcsweetie at 7:46 AM on December 4, 2004

I suppose I support Wayside Music (and therefore Cuneiform Records) in that I look there first for music purchases.

Jetblue supporters, how do you feel about this? That was one reason I refused to fly on Jetblue for a while, until I discovered they don't go to Chicago anyway.
posted by kenko at 7:58 AM on December 4, 2004

I'm going to have to take issue with Miko's support of Whole Foods Market. They certainly seem to have a good image, but as a former employee I say it is mostly BS. I worked at the Wellspring in Chapel Hill just after they were bought by Whole Foods, and I watched them dismantle just about every commendable practice that Wellspring had (stopped supporting local farmers, employee Christmas and Thanksgiving bonuses changed from $100 to Whole Foods product t-shirts, discontinued the senior discount for christ's sake!, etc. ). Not to mention that fact that they are incredibly anti-union (a friend of mine was fired for asking about the logistics of forming a union).

Now obviously no company is required to do any of these things, but it seems to me that Whole Foods' strategy is to find well-established small chains that have become popular through good practices, then buy them up and ride that popularity while doing away with everything unprofitable.

Not that I'm bitter or anything ;)
posted by Who_Am_I at 8:02 AM on December 4, 2004

I am a capitalist whore. I might avoid some companies for ideological reasons but there are none that I actively support because of those reasons. I do purchase more preferably from certain companies even if it costs more because they either offer better goods and/or services. When they stop producing superior products and service, I'm going walking.
posted by grouse at 9:06 AM on December 4, 2004

Who_am_I, I agree with you (see my comment in the otherthread).
I shopped that very branch before and after, and found a difference. Plus It strikes me as co-opting the whole "counter-culture shop counter." I don't mean to over-romanticize food coops and alternative grocers (don't get me started on NYCs lame farmers' markets), but Whole foods
smacks of too much of Target or worse "x" products.
posted by Duck_Lips at 9:16 AM on December 4, 2004

Absolutely agree with Matt on the Kiehl's thing... their products are expensive but wonderful, the clerks know their products backwards and forwards and they are eager to load you down with free samples when you visit their store. (Incidentally, I think that they offered me better advice, and I *know* they sold me higher-quality products, than my dermatologist.) Their "Creme de Corps" body lotion, shaving cream and blue astringent aftershave, among other things are totally amazing. One of life's little luxuries.

I am a brand loyalist for Apple, Sony, Peet's Coffee, a few others. Also, I started out buying blank TDK cassette tapes twenty-five years ago when I was doing a lot of home recording, and for some reason I still buy TDK media today, only now it's CD and DVD recordables. Habit, I guess.

I buy a lot of books, and always try to shop at independently-owned bookstores, though I do wind up spending a lot of money at Amazon because, well, they stock (or can quickly order) almost anything that's in print. But if I'm looking for something new and cool to read, I know I'll get great advice from the staff at Biography Bookstore, or Three Lives, or any of the small bookstores in Greenwich Village--the folks who work there love books and read a lot.
posted by enrevanche at 10:12 AM on December 4, 2004

I second our -- clearly metrosexual -- Number One, Kiehl's shaving cream is a fantastic product. and Honest Tea makes other commercial iced teas taste like what they actually are -- liquid sugar.
as others have said already, fair trade coffee is good and doesn't make me an accomplice in the slave trade

I like Apple and I'm a customer but I'm very ambivalent about the company. they're not Microsoft and they make good products and they care about design on top of all that. but the countless sneaky ways they dream up only to make a few more bucks and make you buy their accessories instead of generic alternatives (like the weird Firewire cords for the newer iPods, or the iPod battery scam) are indeed shameful.
posted by matteo at 10:21 AM on December 4, 2004

I've supported Speakeasy DSL for almost 5 years now. I even declined to rent an apartment due to its inability to handle DSL, which would have forced me to cancel my service. I pay much more than others pay for DSL or cable, but I have a customer-oriented relationship with Speakeasy that cannot be duplicated by any other DSL provider in my area.
posted by Hankins at 12:40 PM on December 4, 2004

Oh yeah, third for Honest Tea. I love their peppermint tea. (But Matt, I thought you liked your sugar.)
posted by Vidiot at 12:41 PM on December 4, 2004

I like my sugar in my morning cereal, not all day long when I'm working.
posted by mathowie at 2:46 PM on December 4, 2004

Companies I go out of my way to do business with for various reasons, or prefer over the competition:
posted by majick at 4:50 PM on December 4, 2004

As other people have pointed out, there are a lot of companies I like, but don't philosophically "support." For example, I like Apple computers. That said, I'm a huge fan of Trader Joe's — cheap food, good labor practices (yes, I realize that they're non-union), friendly employees. What else could you want?
posted by jed at 5:33 PM on December 4, 2004

A note on that Working Assets credit card: It's administered by MBNA, your typical credit card company, with all that entails.
posted by jennyb at 9:31 PM on December 4, 2004

John Ciardi's poem "Consumer Research"
(from the book In Fact, 1961)

I am no customer whatever for most of those most
popular products on which the economy has, you may
say, flourished. I do not bowl, nor drink coca-
cola, nor go to the movies. It is at least twenty
years since I thought about a circus, or a rodeo,
or a prize fight, or a ball game. Last year (I have
read) we produced 300 million 45 rpm recordings not
one of which I bought. And though I have been a
supporting member of National Distillers and of
Ligget and Myers' probably carcinogenic weeds, I have
seldom willingly voted for either of those parties
that keep carrying elections in spite of me. I do
not, certainly, buy sports equipment. And though I
could once shave eighty on the course (with a little
winking) I have not shot as many as five rounds in
ten years. I am sometimes, in fact, bewildered by the
number of markets that flourish without even my
regrets. But if you are even remotely in inventory
(baby) I am just that plunger who will go into hock
up to his teeth and eyebrows to stock-pile You.
posted by oldtimey at 11:14 PM on December 4, 2004 [1 favorite]

1st tier: Trader Joe's, Costco, Traditional Medicinals, Powell's, G & G Markets, Amazon.com, Ross Dress for Less, Petaluma Recycling Center, Target. (If you mean support as in doing business with them and telling my friends that's where I do business.) 2nd tier, Albertson's, K-Mart, Copperfield's Books, Kaiser Permanente, Zoe's and Just Because (2nd-hand clothes stores in downtown Petaluma). 3rd tier, all the shops in Occidental, California, crucial.com, Apple, Dell and HSC Electronics.
posted by Lynsey at 11:28 PM on December 4, 2004

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