Oftentimes when we think about shopping more thoughtfully or ethically or fair trade or organic or what-have-you, it quickly becomes overwhelming (But my shorts are from Bangladesh! My phone was made by who knows who in some factory in China! What can I do?! I like shopping! I’m on a budget! Baahhhhh!). Sound familiar? Or is it just me…
I’ll be honest – the response I often have when I feel paralyzed by the massive, systematic problems tied up in EVERYTHING is something like: “I’m just not going to think much about this, because it’s too much! But I definitely need to give some money to a charity somewhere…”
In the face of this totally unhelpful all-or-nothing paralysis, I’ve been trying something out. Trying to get down to the very basics of what and where I am spending my money. Namely:
Do I really want to give you my money?
On Sunday night, we tackled the insane: taking our 5-, 3-, & almost 1-year old kids with us to a professional hockey game. We were given free tickets to the game by a Calgary Flames rep at an open venue practice on Saturday, so we packed everyone up with low expectations and headed down to their arena, dubbed the Saddledome.
Photo credit: GEC Architecture
For me, there is something very appealing about the tap beer at the Saddledome. Don’t ask me why; it’s watery and flat-ish… it’s really not good. But when I’m there, I want one. When I was pregnant with my first daughter and went to games more often, it was all I could do not to have one!
But then I see the $8.50 price tag, and I think,
It sounds good to me, but just not that good.
Here, on the other hand, is a picture of me in 2007 at Yankee Stadium eating a $5 hot dog:
A FIVE dollar hot dog! Absurd, right? I’m pretty sure there was a $10 beer at my feet, too. Complete extortion, right?!
Was it worth it? Absolutely.
Am I a sucker? Maybe. But, really, I don’t think I’m any different from any of us. How we think about our money is not always logical, and it will always be subjective.
But if we even begin to think about the where and the whatof our purchases, the why and the whether-or-not will begin to surface as well. And we will be well on our way to shopping good.
What is something you have purchased with an unreasonable price tag which was totally worth it to you?
What is happening with dignify?
How are the women in Bangladesh doing?
What impact has the coronavirus pandemic had on what you're doing?
These are all questions I have received over the last two months, so here are some updates.
It's too early to know, or comment on, the economic fallout from COVID-19.
Part of what I have personally found overwhelming is the cacophony of varied economic experiences:
Many people are jobless, have had income interrupted, or lost big in the market; others are flush with cash that they would have otherwise spent on restaurants, gym memberships, commuting, and travel. Some businesses and restaurants are shuttered or declaring bankruptcy; while trampolines, puzzles, & Peletons are back-ordered and meal-prep services can't keep up.
One truth that is indisputable: the economy local to our area is immensely valuable.
When the novel coronavirus COVID-19 was declared a pandemic, shopping habits changed dramatically and immediately.
One of the headlines that made me cringe was something like “Amazon hires 100,000 new employees”. As many of my local businesses were closing for a week (and then, indefinitely), it grieved me that Amazon — the business with already so much of the market share, so much in the bank, the richest man in the world in charge, and which would surely fire everyone as soon as they weren't needed — would grow even more.
But, I also didn’t begrudge anyone from shopping there, either! Where do you buy educational workbooks or board games and the odds & ends you need when you are suddenly housebound?!