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?
A friend recently asked on Facebook for “the most challenging and enlightening resource you have read/watched about the problem of racism in America”. This question received numerous responses within the day: half a dozen films, dozens of books, podcasts, courses, and other hubs of information resources (as well as the astute reply, “Conversation”, which is, of course, the most relational and human of “resources”).
I think that this experience was shared by most people in early June (as protests & concerns over racial injustice had reached a critical volume): so many resources, so much to learn.
But now, 2 months later… what have we done with the magnitude of worthy, fascinating, perspective-altering information & insights that have been brought to our attention?
And this it only in the area racial injustice. In other interests & concerns: How much do we know? How much have we learned & read & listened to already?
Approximately 25 years ago (in March 2020), we did a customer/reader survey. I asked what you like to read on the blog & one of the respondents suggested a post on "living generously". What a fabulous idea and perfect for this time in history!
[The title of this post implies some kind of authority or expertise — ha! Nope, no experts here... just some thoughts on generosity from a fellow human, trying to make my way!]
A few weeks ago, I bumped into another grade 1 parent at the park, an acquaintance I knew from school events. As we chatted about our strange time since mid-March (working from home; restless but resilient kids; he hadn’t stepped foot in a store for 3 months...), he made an interesting remark:
We’ve looked at our bank account at the end of each month and thought, “what were we spending all that money on?!”