Friday, 19 October 2012

The Ethical Consumer

From Undies to Easter Eggs (or Halloween Chocolate).

Image courtesy of Salvatore Vuono at
For quite some time now there has been a little niggle in my heart/mind about the ridiculous price of clothes at K-Mart. Not ridiculous as in highly-priced but ridiculous as in so cheap that it makes me expel air in a "phrrrrrttt" kind of way and question "HOW??? How can the prices be so low?" For instance, a while back now, my daughter bought something like 6 pairs of undies for $3.00. She mistakenly bought the wrong size. When I went back to K-Mart the same undies were on special - half price!!!

That's the kind of ridiculous I am talking about!

I haven't been back to K-Mart in a long time - my conscience is bothered by it. Yesterday I was reminded, as I was chatting about clothes with a friend, about K-Mart's ridiculously low prices.

I mentioned to my friend that I was wondering about the ethical issues that might be connected with cheap clothes and then told her about the issues surrounding chocolate that were brought to my attention again recently by this post -

the inconvenient truth about your halloween chocolate and forced child labor

- and wondered if K-Mart's prices are arrived at ethically. I haven't even looked into it yet. I am bothered also by inner conflicts of ethics and finances.
"People continue to buy chocolate even after learning about the harm to children in Africa.  I’ve heard excuses from people in my own life that sound pretty similar to the ones I made in the coffee post.  We rationalize that we can’t afford fair-trade.  We joke about how addicted we are.  We justify that we can’t change everything.  And I think secretly, we don’t relate because these are kids in a far-off country, and not our own.  It’s okay as long as we don’t have to see it happening right in front of us."
I haven't even looked deeply enough into this whole issue yet and my choice has been just to avoid purchasing these products.

There are solutions and here you can find a few in relation to chocolate.
from problem to solution: practical ideas for an ethical halloween

Just remember that it is not just chocolate we're talking about here. Today I decided to look up "how to buy ethically" and found 
- a mine of information for the ethically minded consumer. I am sure that this is only the tip of a gigantic iceberg but this is where I am going to start.

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