Who made this stuff?
Was it a 7-year-old kid who should be in school learning to read? Was it a dad who never sees his family because he lives at the factory? Was it a political prisoner in a restrictive nation? Was it a slave? I wonder about these things when I’m buying Christmas lights and my tenth pair of flip-flops.
I’ll be honest. I like cheap, cute stuff. I like Target clearance. I like Snickers bars just about as much as any expensive Swiss chocolate you can throw at me. I’m not rich by American standards. I’ll probably never spend $200 on a pair of jeans. My wedding dress didn’t even cost that much.
Nevertheless, I am rich. I’m a stinking rich American consumer when compared to most of the world. I have more than I need. I make purchasing choices almost every day that are above and beyond basic necessity, and I want to start thinking about those choices as they relate to a world bigger than myself.
For this next year (yeah, I never start anything on January 1, sorry), these are my personal shopping guidelines:
1. Buy it used/shop thrift
[saves me money + great for the environment = win]
2. Buy local and/or handmade
[support my community + support individuals and small businesses]
3. Buy “made in the USA”
[Not always a guarantee of fair labor or environmental practices, BUT, far more of a guarantee than “made in China.” And who can argue with supporting those businesses that create US jobs?]
4. Buy from businesses that advertise their fair labor/fair trade practices or social business model
[Being good for people IS a good business plan. I want to support this.]
5. Don’t buy it
[“Use it up. Wear it out. Make it do or do without.”
If my grandma could do it, I can too.]
So why this blog place?
It’s true; I could do all of the above without a blog. My hope is that this will be a year of discovering great new places to shop (online and off), finding quality organizations to support, and gathering new knowledge about economics and human rights. It’s no fun if you don’t have anyone with whom to share these tidbits. I hope I get a few readers. If not, well… at least I’ll have a journal of a small adventure.
P.S. I’m praying my computer doesn’t break this year, guys. I don’t know what I’ll do.