New ‘Buycott’ app will help you vote with your dollar

It is not easy to be an ethical consumer. Even the simple act of buying a shirt is fraught with politics. Buy it from a regular store? You’re probably supporting child labor and sweatshops. Buy it from American Apparel … well, you’re not supporting sweatshops, but you are supporting an awful misogynist. Buy it from the Salvation Army? Supporting discrimination against gay people.

Food is just as difficult, if not moreso. Coffee beans and cocoa beans? Harvested by actual slaves (unless they’re fair trade). If you buy Nestle products, you’re supporting campaigns to promote baby formula over breast milk in countries where the water could kill an infant, and also a total douchemonster of a CEO. If you buy Coca-Cola products… you’re supporting a company that sends workers from it’s Columbian bottling plants who try to unionize to the death squads, amongst other evil crap. Oh, and half of the other crap you might buy is probably owned by the Koch Brothers.

Which is why I am so super excited about this new Buycott app. It’s a free smart phone application that will let you know if something you are planning on purchasing is part of the Koch Brothers Evil Empire, or if other boycotts are in place. It will also let you know– as with Absolut Vodka– if the company supports LGBT rights or does something else positive. It let’s you sign up with different campaigns (ie: against the Koch Brothers or Monsanto), and when you scan a brand of food at the grocery store it will tell you it’s parent company and let you know if it’s something you’re supposed to be boycotting– or, conversely, if it’s a brand you can feel good about supporting.

The app has been super popular so far– so popular that the app has been so overloaded yesterday and today and I can’t quite get it to work on my Android phone– which is actually great news. Boycotts have a much better chance of working when more people participate in them, after all. At the end of the day, they’re really the only thing that ever does work. If you want these companies to change– you pretty much have to get them where they live.

Once they get rid of the glitches, and more people sign up and submit products to the database, this will probably be one of the most useful– and important– apps there are.