Leave it to Portland to inject some soul into Cyber Monday.
This holiday season, the city's Tender Loving Empire—an online record shop and emporium for cool handmade goods—will begin selling its entire inventory via Generous, a new e-commerce platform that lets you shop Radiohead-style and pay what you wish. And that's not all: A portion of each sale benefits Portland's Outside In, a homeless youth shelter and activism fund.
"Everyone knows Black Friday is gross, but is Cyber Monday any better?" ask the folks behind Tender Loving Empire in a press release. "Does it feel any better to buy something on Amazon or Ebay than it does at Best Buy or the mall? Is it just the same racket: big companies with little regard for who you are or what you care about?"
While TLE admits that the Generous partnership doesn't answer these questions, the founders insist it's a chance for people to show some generosity and participate in more than simply money-for-stuff transactions. At least 5 percent of each purchase goes to charity, and in some cases, 25, 50, and even 100 percent of proceeds benefit Outside In.
Tender Loving Empire was launched in 2006 by Jared and Brianne Mees. The idea was to release art made by friends and family members, and over the last eight years, they've issued more than 50 albums. The site also features jewelry, home goods, toys, clothing, and all sorts of other stuff that can be yours for whatever price you name (once certain minimums are met). It's like Priceline meets Portlandia, and if nothing else, it beats circling the mall parking at 4 a.m. and trying to find a spot.