A woman lives on the street in downtown Detroit. In need of help, people call for resources but assistance is not assured: it’s Memorial Day weekend and organizations are understaffed on this Friday afternoon.

Throughout this year, we’ve seen the way various non and for profit companies operate.

Let’s take two abstracted company models that you might find in Detroit: a Big 3 Company and a non-profit offering social services. The Big 3 has hundreds of employees and the resources to offer competitive benefits packages, paid vacation, and two weeks off at Christmas. Success dependent on constant demand, this company can afford these allowances. Operating on a much smaller budget, the nonprofit pays employees a lower wage, asks for more volunteered time, and provides less employee recognition efforts. Potentially overtaxed and with individuals perpetually in need, the nonprofit cannot guarantee supply of services to this woman.

I’m not suggesting these companies are at fault, although they do play a part in the systemic issue. What I do wonder is: do we as consumers who support these systems value a car more that a woman experiencing homelessness? Our demand drives supply; perhaps our dollars speak loudest.