I'd like to be a responsible consumer.
I really want to leverage every dollar that passes through my possession for the good of others. ...In theory. In practice, I want what I want and I want it cheap and I want it now.
Maybe that's why it's so easy for me to talk myself out of choosing costlier, time consuming, ethical purchases over grab-n-go products at rock-bottom prices. Admittedly, I can be impulsive, self-oriented, and expectant of immediate gratification, so, for me, putting in the extra effort to buy responsibly with others in mind is kind of a lot to ask. It's practically impossible.
To pacify any unrest I might experience when thoughts of ethical buying mess with my shopping mojo, I've mastered some pretty compelling arguments against shopping with a conscience. Since these well reasoned excuses have served me so well, I thought I'd share, as you may find my process beneficial next time you're perusing the aisles of your favorite store. You're welcome.
The first thing I do is tell myself that when I buy products made in foreign countries, regardless of the factory conditions, I'm supporting their economy. I'm giving all those poor people a job they wouldn't otherwise have. That $22 shirt is probably keeping like 75 women from having to work the fields around the dusty villages where their families and children are, ...I mean, everyone knows it's better to be exploited as slave-labor working in a harsh, dangerous, oppressive environment than it is to be a farmer feeding your own family. It's hot out there in the sun!
|Really, what else matters?!|
Then, if I find something I really want, I convince myself I can't afford to buy ethical products because things made by small businesses who pay regionally fair wages to their employees are more expensive than the same exact things churned out by a bunch of 9 year olds who practically work for free, and probably love it. (Do you know what I would have given to skip school and make wallets for rich people all day when I was 9? I would have traded a pinky finger! And I've heard some of these kids do.) Anyway. To prove that I absolutely cannot afford to buy the fair trade version of the shirt I'm holding, I carefully balance my Starbucks cup across the closest rack of hangers, then I pull out my phone and use my data plan to compare prices. I don't actually recommend doing it like this, because once my coffee fell and when it hit the ground it splooshed all over the jeans I was gonna get – super embarrassing! - plus, I had to go buy another latte... But, the point is, these mid-shopping internet searches always prove me right; The fair trade version of a $22 shirt is, like, $29. Who can afford that kind of mark up? Obviously not me...
As I'm walking to the register, if I still feel angsty over my soon-to-be purchase, I remind myself I'm only one person, and it's only a couple of bucks, and in the grand scheme of Life and the Universe this ooooonnnneee little purchase doeasn't really matter. Then I repeat this encouraging mantra for each of the 16 items the cashier rings up for me. I shouldn't feel personally responsible for taking any part in modern day slavery for buying a single shirt. Let's be reasonable, it's only one thing. Where's the harm in that?!
Usually, that's all it takes, but every once it awhile a purchase will eat at me for a minute after I get home. At that point, I have a choice, I can either get online and learn everything I can about the company I just supported and their product sourcing, or I can look at my bank account and remind myself that I already give money to organizations that are working to end slavery, so I'm good.
Good stuff, huh. ...Oh, stop it. There's, no need to keep thanking me. I already told you, you're welcome! I'm always happy to share helpful tips with my closest friends.
If you're so inclined... like, if you really, really wanted to... you could start to make yourself a list (or a Pinterest board) of brands, companies, and organizations who believe in and exercise ethical business practices, and those supporting the work of smaller businesses who empower at-risk populations by employing and educating impoverished and/or previously enslaved people. Not sure where to start? Here's a hint to get you going: Target® - yes, the most magical store in all the land - usually scores pretty well when it comes to standards in sourcing, and ethical business partnerships. *huge collective sigh of a relief* So go ahead and put Target on your list, then, right below Target, add Beautiful & Beloved.
“Beautiful & Beloved desires to make a simple path for you to support individuals freed from slavery who are now empowered to earn a living in a safe, clean, and just way.”
|Just a taste of so many great things....|
Beautiful & Beloved partners with not just ethical, but redemptive manufacturers in Ethiopia, Cambodia, Nepal, India and California to distribute hand crafted items made by survivors of human-trafficking or extreme poverty. When you buy their products, you're driving an economy, honoring a family, educating a child, and using the power of your dollar to make the world a better place. That's why I'm so excited about today's giveaway, because it comes to you straight from the dignified hands of a Beautiful and Beloved artist. Enter below to win a $50 gift certificate to Beautiful & Beloved's online boutique, and then go pick out what you'll get if you win!
Happy shopping, Everybody! Cheers!!!