The other day, I read that the Novogratz family released a new mass market product line in their style of colourful, high design, modern aesthetic.
I was thrilled! Fabulous interior design that brings Manhattan to me! and, you know, all the other great things it touts. My daughter needs a new bed, they sell metal frame funky beds in bright colours: perfect!
Then, I saw where the line would be exclusively sold: Wal-Mart. Enter my inner conflict. See, as I’ve begun to think about “shopping good” over the last few years, one of the first (and really only) hard lines I’ve drawn was against this mega-store. [I’ll keep it real and state that within my “hard line”, I’ve still probably purchased from Wal-Mart 3 or 4 times in the last 5 years.]
Three things brought me to this decision:
I’m not mentioning this to have a hate-on Wal-Mart, simply to show my own thought process in deciding where (or where not) to shop.
And then they go and launch some super cool products that make me want to shop there! Of course they do... the strategy, of course, is to get people like me to shop there, and people who already shop there to shop more. The question is…
When you’ve got great prices and appealing products on the table, where do ethics come into the mix? Do my “convictions” stand up to my desires? Do I reassess my opinion of purveyors based on the products they sell?
Good marketing will convince me to make the purchase before I have too much time to think about it.
Fortunately for me, the Novogratz line is not yet available in Canada! So I do have time. Time to think, to price compare, to shop around, perhaps to reassign a budget line. And, probably, ultimately, hopefully, shop somewhere else.
The Enneagram is super popular right now as a typology of nine interconnected personality types. I am familiar with the Enneagram and while it hasn’t been a particularly impactful tool for me personally, I value the depth of the insight and the common language it provides.
Similarly, Gretchen Rubin’s Four Tendencies framework provides definition and a vernacular to what is already present in ourselves. For me, this one has resounded like a deafening gong in my ears & in my life!
Over the last year or so, I've made a conscious priority to read books written by — or written from the perspective of — people different than me. As a white, rich person (and I have a job, a bachelor's degree, a house, 2 cars, and 3 computers, so that sounds pretty rich to me; maybe not in the 1%, but high enough), I have a pretty limited perspective. Also, our culture is essentially designed for me to thrive, so it's easy to take that all for granted.
Books, both non-fiction and creative stories, have a way of landing you right in the viewpoint of an other, and I am so grateful for that gift; it's one of the best things about reading.
Conversations about money can be awkward, but having uncomfortable talks, at age appropriate times, will set up our children's essential, lifelong skill in handling money well. Allowance is a key tool to teaching these money management skills.
Money, along with politics and religion, is often considered impolite conversation to have outside of yourself & maybe (hopefully?) your spouse. How much do we spend on groceries, gas bill, or date nights? Is this car payment normal? We are often afraid, or at least reluctant, to compare any of these details… R. Paul Stevens said the proverbial fig leaf from the Garden of Eden has moved from our naked bodies to our bank accounts!
Add kids into these conversations, and there is an additional layer of hesitancy: kids can be notorious loud-mouths!