Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is

“Put your money where your mouth is” takes on a different meaning when you look at a $7 bar of chocolate that doesn't exploit the planet and its people vs. the pound of chocolate you can purchase for the same price that is full of exploitation. All we see are price tags and labels. There are no faces or names behind the people who helped produce the chocolate, and even if there were, I'm not sure that would be strong enough to lure consumers into the sale.

Supermarkets are farm stands on steroids that make food feel accessible and excessive, even disposable. When I walk down the chocolate aisle, it can feel like everybody has these products. And even more potent is the reality that advertising pushes on us, that says “I need this.” If I don't buy my significant other this chocolate, then I am doing her a deep disservice and not living up to my duty - even my humanity. And my unwillingness to purchase these things in abundance communicates my lack of love, appreciation, and affection. How did we get here?

What if we could switch that around?

Rather than saying this to my significant other, "Priscilla, I love you so much that I took the money that we earned and bought as much as I could for as little as possible, not considering our impact on the planet and its people. I went to the store or website that was the easiest to get to and was the most convenient. Take this bag as a symbol of my affection for you. I don't care how much of an impact it has on anyone else. I'm willing to make that sacrifice!"

This is what I will say instead, "Priscilla, I love you so much that I wanted to get something that reflected the same love, sacrifice, and intentionality that I pursue for us daily. So on this Valentine's Day I got you a chocolate bar that's dipped in love, sacrifice, and intentionality too. I hope that we experience the same freedom to love, create, and work as the producers of this chocolate did and I'm willing to do anything to make sure we can do that in our relationship and in the world."

This Valentine's Day, I hope that you'll make a purchase that reflects your deepest desires not just for what you have, but the type of relationships that you long for. Because there are products that do that too.

Written by Jonathan Walton