responsible shopping

March 19, 2009

Some discussion over on Annie’s blog got me thinking… why don’t I share some of my shopping philosophy in addition to the tid bit I shared yesterday.  I know many others who don’t see the rationale in my beliefs and actions, but can you imagine how boring the world would be if we all thought the same way about things?  No thank you!  Anyway, here’s my story.

Years ago I had  the pleasure of working in financial aid (student loans, grants etc.) at my local community college.  My main job was to verify that applications were complete and that students were indeed registered for the fall.   There were countless changes to the system in over the three summers that I held this job but none was more pronounced than when welfare recipients were forced into the regular loan system.

That summer I met with a number of these aspiring students and it was awful to hear again and again how people were trying to make ends meet but simply could not get enough hours at Superstore and thus required welfare to help them along.  Friends of mine have worked there and while they’ve been happy to have a job they’ve been faced with the same thing.  I know of only one exception but that was after years of hanging on.  (He’s since quit.)

When Superstore moved into town it was amid much controversy – mostly because of the environmentally sensitive lands they chose to build on.  Socially there were issues with their policy of not supporting community events.  Today though, I wonder if the costs they pass onto society are really all that different from the financial bailouts we keep hearing about?

Superstore is not alone in this, there are numerous examples of  corporations that cause environmental and economic costs to be borne out by the rest of society.  It disgusts me and I simply cannot, in good consciousness, support them.  They entice people with low face values but in the long run I think they cause us to give up a lot more.  That’s my 2 cents!



  1. You’re so right that it’s not only Superstore! I also very much agree that the societal and social ramifications are not worth my saving a few bucks here and there. This just isn’t in line with my values at all! I’m not sure what the answers are though. What will it take to convince the general public to make different choices? So many people just like to shop even if what they’re buying isn’t needed or anywhere near good quality. We live in such a disposable world.

  2. I really get how you feel and I admire your K for trying so hard to buy Canadian made products.
    I certainly try to make better choices but we have such a tight budget with only one income and five stomachs that we have no choice but to shop at places like superstore. My per week grocery allowance is about $80-90. You can’t go far on that. Any less than that and we’d be going pretty hungry.
    We do try to make the best choices that we can and accept that we can’t yet do it all.

  3. Yes, it definitely is a balance. When I compare my actions to those of my superstore and walmart shopping mother and one sisters I think a lot of it has to do with when we became aware of our values and our the internal conflict shopping at these places causes. Once in the habit of shopping at the cheap places it’s much more difficult to change. I suppose I’m also fortunate in that my special diet forces me to see out the special, preferably independent shops.

    As for how to change the behaviour of others… I’m not sure. Things like growing our own produce certainly can help to shift the way of thinking. In the meantime I guess awareness is the main piece.

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