Dream Or Nightmare: App Encourages Partisan Grocery Purchases

It’s no secret that major corporations don’t operate in a vacuum, and that a hefty chunk of their money could easily be funding your favorite (or least favorite) politicians. Companies behind popular food and household products are no exception to this. In a world with way more behind-the-scenes rigging going on than any of us would like to believe, I’m a big proponent of knowing exactly where our hard-earned money is going. All that said, is it really necessary to only buy foods produced by companies who support our favorite political party? I’m not totally sure.

A new app called BuyPartisan (which is, in fact, bipartisan) allows you to scan the barcode on any product in your local grocery store to discover what kinds of political donations its producer has made. The app can even break down the contributions into detailed specifics, like which came from the company’s CEO, which came from PACs, and which came from employees. It combines all this information into a nifty graph of the company’s donations, divided into percentages by how Republican- or Democrat-leaning the company is.

I worry that this could encourage shoppers to carry out the exact kind of simple-minded, intensely partisan behavior behind the current gridlock we’re seeing in Congress. Using this app is like waving a wand over your food that flashes in blue or red so you can blindly reject a purchase based on one-sided information. Political campaign money, and what it does, is a far more complex world than the app makes it look like, especially considering the fact that plenty of campaign donations are not publicly shared. As you’re probably well aware, I’m a politically-minded person myself, so I can totally see the benefit of knowing what your money is being funneled into, but I wonder if this app could just create more tension in an already polarized world. Do we really need people straining their blood pressure over elections when they’re buying toilet paper? What do you think? I’m curious. [Reviewed.com]