Monday, November 3, 2008

Finite Resources, Infinite Good Causes

There is a question that still manages to plague me, even after contemplating it since forever: where should I buy my sex supplies?

Easy, you say. Buy it from wherever they sell it.

But it's not so easy. Just look at my fave retailers at the right; although they each have their particular strengths and weaknesses, I hold Blowfish, Babeland, and Good Vibrations in pretty much the same regard. There are no real favorites- they all rock, both in their service and selections, and in their company ethos. And that's forgetting all the little companies- Good For Her, Smitten Kitten, Early2Bed, and on and on with others I should know. Should I support these little companies who are still struggling, and forgo those big companies who are well-off enough to miss out on my purchase of a $20 dildo? That always seems like reverse capitalism to me- an act that, in effect, punishes companies who have found success through their hard work, good customer service, and superior product selection. How's that for incentive? And what's more- when I give my money to a big company that I support and shares my views and outlooks, my chances increase, as all that extra capital spills over into new ventures- a store opening close(r) to me, for example (so I can actually walk in, instead of doing only online orders!), or making their own porn or sex toys. If a good deal of people had funneled their funds into other smaller companies instead of Blowfish, would the result have been many medium-sized and growing companies, and Blowfish not helping to release and distribute Pink & White's films? Heaven forbid!

And this isn't even taking into account buying sex toys through folks who get kickbacks when you shop through their links. Should I purchase this DVD from my favorite blogger X, who gets a small percentage of that, thus telling them they have fans and hopefully increasing their output and awesomeness? What about paying for Jiz Lee's eye surgery (because I figure the best way to keep her making fantastic porn is to keep her happy)? Or should it go to institution Y, whose goals I truly support and believe in? And for heaven's sake, what about institution Z? Both Y and Z are great causes! This isn't even a problem of donation, where it's all charitable; I'm going to buy the sex toy anyway for my own selfish reasons, and I just want to help somebody in the meantime.

And speaking of it, what about donating to causes? I've made it clear before- I'm poor and broke. But I want to help, and I want to see change in so many places. Where should my money go? To big organizations who are doing relatively fine on their own? To small ones who really need the help, but probably won't be affecting any real change for a long while, or not without some massive donations? How am I supposed to rank my interests- should I donate to free speech, or sex worker rights, or feminist causes, or defending our porn, or political parties (which, with my third party-support, would probably be seen as wasted anyways), or voting down/up propositions, or what?

And then let us not forget that naggling part of me that says "Here you are whining about how to put your measly money to good use- how about doing something for real?". I have limited money, so why aren't I writing letters to Congress, marching in protests, volunteering my time? How long can I pretend that donating money isn't just a sorry way to excuse laziness by forking over some cash in a hostile hostage exchange for my conscience and sense of satisfaction as a do-gooder?

Ugh. I'm overwhelmed by choices, frustrated by my inefficacy.

How do you do it, my readers? Whether it's giving donations or just making your purchases, how do you choose the recipient of your time, your effort, your money, your business? When there are so many good people out there, great businesses, wonderful institutions, how do you mete out your input?

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