The ‘Passion Price’: Paying More To Support A Store, Artist Or Hobby You Love

By Nara Schoenberg
Chicago Tribune

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) A 2015 Nielsen survey found that 66 percent of consumers worldwide were willing to pay more for socially or environmentally responsible goods, up from 50 percent in 2013.


When Ellis Jones meets up with old college friends each year in Colorado, he puts his money where his heart is.

He and his pals, all of whom went through comic-nerd and Dungeons & Dragons stages, make a point of heading to the local comic book store, where prices are considerably higher than they are online.

“It’s a recognition not just of that business itself, but of what it means and what it adds to the community, the subcultures that exist because of that business,” said Jones, 47, now a college professor in Massachusetts.

“We each spend up to $100 bucks once a year there to do our part, to cast our vote for that comic book store.”

Jones isn’t alone. When I put out a call for people who are willing to pay a higher price to support a small business, farmer or artist they care about, my Facebook friends and co-workers showered me with examples.

They are paying more for books, fresh produce, model train supplies, knitting yarn, fly fishing equipment, bicycles, crafts, items from the local hardware store, guitar equipment and music.

Research focusing specifically on these purchases is sparse, there isn’t even an accepted name for them, although a friend reported he was asked if he was making a “sympathy purchase” when he bought music at an independent music store.

But there are broad indications that these purchases are popular, especially in the influential millennial demographic.

About half of millennials, ages 16-34, are willing to pay more to support a small business, compared with 38 percent of Gen Xers and 42 percent of baby boomers, according to an AT&T and Added Value survey conducted earlier this year.

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