Jeans, Social Justice, and One Small Thing

jeansI come from a long line of Bargain Hunters and Garage-Salers. I knew what a “Sale Rack” was long before I ever went shopping on my own, and to this day, I’m drawn there like a fly to light. I go the back of the store first. To the clearance and the red-tags and the allure of a good deal.

Better than finding a cute pair of jeans is finding a cute pair of jeans on sale for 90% off. Better than having someone say, “I love your shirt,” is being able to say. “Thanks! Got it for two dollars!”

I come from coupons and Aldi shopping. I learned to love the taste of off-brands, and I’m more conscious of money than anything else when I shop. I know that Walmart is cheaper than Target. That there are certain things that you should always get at the Dollar Store.

*

A couple of months ago, a clothing factory collapsed in Bangledesh, and I sat still all morning, looking at the pictures, feeling the weight of the rubble.

Mary Karr linked to the article on Facebook. “We should pay more for our jeans,” she wrote, and her words have stuck with me, a sharp barb in my heart.

*

I come from a long line of Bargain Hunters, and I’m starting to think a lot about the price of a good deal. I’m feeling a pull lately when I stand in the aisles at Target.

Who made that?

I’m trying to picture her face. Is she smiling? Is she exhausted? How many hours did she work in the clothing factory today? The wage she made – is it enough to buy groceries? Does she get to see her kids? Does she feel safe where she works, or are the walls crumbling imperceptibly each day, the whole thing waiting to collapse.

The questions feel like a kind of minefield to me. First because they are largely unanswerable: I’m finding it almost impossible to find simple, accurate information online. Instead, the internet is a wasteland of Opinions and Angry Commenters and Unverified Statistics.

I wish there was a chart. It would be so simple if there were charts that included wages and cost of living and safety ratings, and you could just pull it up on your phone and make a good, educated decision about that cute dress you’re trying on at Old Navy.

According to this article in the Business Insider, “ethically made” clothing makes up only 1% of the $1 trillion global fashion industry. The writer also says that “major chains typically use a complex web of suppliers in countries such as Bangladesh, which often contract business to other factories. That means the retailers themselves don’t always know the origin of clothes when they’re made overseas.”

Last week, I had to throw away three pairs of shorts because I’ve been wearing them for years and they all have holes in places where it’s inappropriate to have holes.

When you’re a stay-at-home-mom in the summer, you need shorts, and I had exactly ten minutes yesterday for a kid-free Target run. So I grabbed a pair of Mossimo jean-shorts off the rack, tried them on, and threw them in my shopping basket along with a new package of kitchen scrubbers, a ream of paper, and some granola bars.

Someone once asked on Facebook, “What is the biggest deterrent for you to shopping ethically?” and I felt like an asshole because, honestly? It’s convenience. It’s a toddler stuffed in the front of the shopping cart, sobbing and flailing. It’s having ten minutes and a budget. It’s options and the catharsis of buying a new shirt from the sale rack for two dollars.

It’s selfishness, I suppose. But also, it’s survival.

And I believe that God is about love and about justice and that Christians should be about recognizing what is wrong and valuing others more than ourselves.

But also, it’s complicated, and heaping on shame does nobody any good.

In the checkout line, Mary Karr’s words run through my head, “We should pay more for our jeans.”

I watch the cashier ring up the shorts for $14.99, and I feel powerless and guilty and resigned.

*

On the other hand: tomatoes.

I read an article a while ago about the alarmingly rotten working conditions for those who pick most of our tomatoes. I read about pesticides being spread while workers were in the field and about the staggering amount of birth defects that happen as a result. About long days and heavy loads and shockingly low wages.

And I can’t stop thinking about those mamas. Those babies.

At our local grocery store, they sell some of their tomatoes from a local, Minnesota greenhouse. And every time I see that blue Martin’s Greenhouse stickers, I remember the injustice of the tomato fields and my own bent toward selfishness.

I choose those blue-sticker tomatoes, and it means that there are no Romas sometimes and that I can’t buy the cute cherry tomatoes. But also, it makes me feel connected.

I am conscious, in that moment, of a bigger story in which I am not the main character, but just one of the beautiful beloved that make up the world.

And I know that I won’t necessarily change the world by changing the way I shop. I don’t have it in me to start a revolution; I’m nobody’s spokesperson.

But I choose the local tomatoes because it’s one thing I can do. Because passing up the Aldi selection and making one more stop at the “expensive” grocery store turns my heart back to a bigger world. Because it turns my gaze from myself to others. It reminds me to pray. It reminds me to notice.

It’s just one thing. In the scheme of things, it doesn’t really add up to much. And if I start thinking about all the tomato-based products that I buy that were probably unethically made – ketchup and tomato soup and spaghetti sauce and salsa – I get totally overwhelmed.

tomato quote

So today, just tomatoes from Martin’s Greenhouse. Today a prayer for the pickers. For the clothing makers. For my own stony heart.

Maybe next week, one more small change. Maybe the following week, another.

Maybe this is the way we begin waking to justice. Quietly, slowly. One tiny thing at a time. Maybe every bit of it matters.

  • Shannon G

    Love, love, love!! It really is the small steps. I started with fair trade coffee. Granted, it did come from Aldi, but it is certified fair trade, so I hope that it means something. I want to make better purchasing decisions, but the budget makes it so hard. But baby steps will make it easier. Gotta figure out my next baby step…

    • Addie Zierman

      I started with fair trade coffee too. Target brand here…I didn’t even know Aldi HAD that. Is it any good? My big deterrent is the budget too. SO HARD.

  • http://katieleigh.wordpress.com Katie @ cakes, tea and dreams

    Thank you for this, Addie. I get completely overwhelmed too, by all the information and all the injustice and all the ways I’m “doing it wrong.” One small thing can be a good beginning. Thank you.

    • Addie Zierman

      I agree. The information to me feels insurmountable. And it makes me feel so ignorant. Hoping this will help!

  • http://www.leannepenny.com Leanne Penny

    Last week I rode my bike to a farm stand to buy our asparagus and took the kids to hand pick our weekly strawberries for many of the same reasons.

    It’s all so bass ackwards nowadays. Nothing comes from anywhere we can understand and even if we buy fabric and make it ourselves… A) WHO HAS TIME and B) how do I know the fabric mills was ethical and C) I’ll look like an idiot.

    I’m with you friend, Aldi, sale racks, budgets, guilt, resignation and sighs…

    and local produce. All hail summer… except for the shorts and all that leg shaving…

    • Addie Zierman

      Right. AND WHO MAKES THE RAZOR BLADES? And why are they so expensive? You have to practically take out a second mortgage every time you buy them!

  • http://neighborfoodblog.com Courtney @ Neighborfood

    YES! Thank you for this. My word for this year was actually “one” (as in just do ONE thing). Instead of thinking and reading about all the awfulness in this world, plunging into a shame/guilt spiral, and then nursing the spiral by sitting on the couch watching New Girl, my goal for this year was to just find ONE thing, however small, and do it. For me, it started with switching to fair trade chocolate chips. http://www.neighborfoodblog.com/2013/02/one-the-great-fair-trade-chocolate-chip-experiment.html

    • Addie Zierman

      I LOVE your one small change. I pinned your blog post to the One Small Change Pinboard that I’m working on. Such a great idea Courtney! Thanks for doing the legwork of researching and taste-testing to give us the info!

  • http://www.jessicaclemmer.com Jessi

    I have the same struggle…completely overwhelmed with where to start… But my question is this…is it better to pull away completely from buying things made in poor conditions, and buy only ‘local’? I mean…and this is a serious, non-sarcastic, possibly naive, but sincere question… If those jobs are the only thing providing for those people…as bad as they might be…are we really helping them by pulling out from buying things at all, which would eliminate their only shot at a job? I’m not saying I have a better solution…or an easy one… And my sister and bro in law own a local greenhouse themselves, so I’m definitely NOT saying “don’t buy local”…I’m just saying I don’t quite see how we are helping people in Bangladesh by refusing to buy what they make…

    Again…I hope this comes across as sincere as it’s intended, and not ignorantly…

    • http://www.shaneyirene.com Shaney Irene

      Just my 2 cents…I think that if that’s all we do, buy local and never buy from overseas again, we don’t do much to help the people in those poor conditions. But there are other things we can do, like micro finance (small business loans given to women in third world countries), signing petitions to businesses urging them to adopt more ethical practices, and buying from ethical companies that get their products from overseas.

      In other words, I think it’s not an either/or, but a both/and. Support your local economy, and do the little things you can to support a better economy and better conditions overseas as well.

      Granted, that doesn’t completely answer the question of whether we should stop buying stuff from overseas just because we’re aware the worker was probably treated unjustly, but I think it’s a good starting point.

    • http://estheremery.com Esther Emery

      Jessi, there are some pathways by which overseas artisans are able to sell directly to US consumers. They tend to seem really expensive, compared to what we’re used to. But here’s one that I support.
      http://www.esperanzaenaccion.org/

      I do boycott foreign made goods at the big box stores, because as long as we think to ourselves “this is the best we can do to serve others,” it will continue to be the best we can do. And I don’t think it’s the best we can do.

      When I started my path about three years ago, I started with a tithe. What if I gave ten percent of my money, not just to pay off people damaged by unjust systems, but to actually replace those unjust systems? The tithe fund basically became fair trade money, so I could keep track of what I was contributing. But I didn’t donate money, I spent money, on ethical trade. And I felt way better about giving one artisan a satisfying livelihood than keeping open a sweatshop job that cycles through a dozen young people and teaches them to work within a system that perpetrates inequality.

      There’s my two or three cents. Lots of respect and appreciation for you.

    • Addie Zierman

      I had the same question Jessi, and I love the answers that Shaney and Esther provided. We do Kiva microfinancing (I think World Vision has a great microfinance program too). I buy artisan-made stuff for gifts pretty often, but it’s hard for me to spend the extra money on myself for some reason. I came across a quote that said something to the effect of every dollar you spend is a vote for the kind of world you want, and that struck me for some reason. It doesn’t answer your question, or mine, but it does make me think.

    • http://www.jessicaclemmer.com/ Jessica Clemmer

      Goodness, I just realized that I sort of dropped out of the blogosphere for a bit and never followed up with this conversation. Thanks so much for all your thoughts and input…and it comes at a perfect time, in I’m trying to rethink how to approach Christmas this year… Perfect advice!!

  • http://www.faithvillage.com Amber Dobecka

    Hi Addie! Wow! You have brought the issue of justice and our everyday choices into new light for me. I couldn’t agree more with you about the importance of balance, and taking it one step, one day at a time. I’d also add that God looks at the heart of his children, and wants to find a pureness of a person’s spirit, and I truly believe that you have that — even if you bought shorts off the sale rack for the rest of your life. And man, I felt like you were describing me with your family of bargain-hunters and being able to say, “Can you believe I got these for only $2 at Walmart!?” < That's so me! :) I'd love for you to consider becoming a contributor to the social network I work for called FaithVillage.com. Courtney from the Neighborfood Blog (commented here earlier) is a contributor, and I saw her mention you on Facebook. That's how I found ya! Any way, being a contributor is really easy and requires no extra work or writing. You have the option to import your blog into our website, so that all of your entries are automatically published through an RSS feed with your byline and header image. Then, our editorial staff goes through the blogs and finds the most outstanding pieces twice a week, and features them in targeted channels like leadership resources, mom resources, health resources, cause-related resources, justice topics, etc. I can send you more info if you're interested. Great connecting with you!!

    Follow @faithvillage and @amberdobecka on Twitter! :)

    • Addie Zierman

      Yes, I’ve got faithvillage on my radar. Just need to get going. Thanks for the comment!

  • Brad

    Many people who work in those conditions work there because the alternatives are even worse — for instance, subsistence farming is just about the most miserable (non-slave) existence around. That’s way so many people leave the farms and go to work in situations we in the West would find intolerable.

    Maybe if we all shopped at the local co-op, that would mean that firms using industrial farming or unethical factories would realize they need to work better to get our dollars. Alternatively, we could just be sending people from a bad situation to an even worse one.

    • Addie Zierman

      It’s overwhelming, isn’t it? That’s the kind of stuff that makes me feel powerless.

  • Catcat

    Thanks for this post which so succinctly summarizes the overwhelming confusion of trying to do the right thing when your choices are limited and information is opaque and muddled. It’s so tough.

    One of the most frustrating things for me is that just paying more for jeans doesn’t really address the problem, either. Cheap jeans and expensive jeans are often made in the same countries, possibly the same factories, with the same labor. Banana Republic (or whatever) jeans may be more expensive than Old Navy (or whatever) jeans but that doesn’t mean that the extra $40 (or $60 or $80…) is going to the woman that sewed them together. It just means they’re better fabric, purchased at a nicer store, more fashionable, marketed to richer people…it just means they’re more expensive. It’s extremely frustrating.

    But I’ll join you at the market and we can buy local tomatoes and we can do one little thing that makes one little bit of difference to us and our communities. The tide is made up of tiny drops of water.

    • Addie Zierman

      So frustrating with the clothes. I’m with you. GAH.

  • Cindy

    Thank you Addie, this has been so much on my heart over the past year. It started when I read Elizabeth Cline’s excellent book “Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Clothing.” I’ve been recommending this book to everyone I know. I also made a vow last winter that I would no longer buy chocolate unless it was fair trade. Not easy, but I did find fair trade chocolate chips at my local grocery store, so that helps. Lastly, the website http://www.free2work.org/ has a mobile app so that you can check on some of your purchases.

    I know that it gets totally overwhelming thinking of all the injustices in the world, and I want to fix them all, but I tell myself, that by taking one small step that will lead to bigger and more steps. Keep it up.

    • Addie Zierman

      I totally need to read that book. Truth be told, I’ve been avoiding it because I’m afraid it will just make me feel more guilty and powerless. Thanks for the app suggestion. I will definitely check it out!

  • http://www.thecontemplativeadventure.wordpress.com Sarah

    YES. I have been thinking about this a lot lately too, in the wake of the Bangladesh factory tragedy. And for me (single girl without kids) it’s still a convenience thing–because it’s so hard and confusing to pick through the research and figure out what’s what. So I bought my new sports bras at Target and cringed. For the most part, I get my actual clothes from thrift stores or hand-me-downs, which makes me feel better about not adding to the consumption of cheaply made, unethically sourced clothes. But it doesn’t do anything for the people on the other side of the world who still need a job….So I pray, for now. Maybe in the future, part of my response will be finding clothes from “fair trade” options and paying more for it, which will mean I will have to have a lot less clothes. But that wouldn’t be such a bad thing. Thanks for being honest with the tension here! I’m with you in the learning struggles.

    • Addie Zierman

      I know. I’m totally with you. I love the idea of eventually fazing out the chains tore clothes and buying from artisans, but it also sounds exhausting and expensive. But piece by piece. Maybe next time I buy jeans, I’ll spend the extra money and just SEE. Thanks for the solidarity, Sarah.

  • http://www.lovewellblog.com Kelly @ Love Well

    I found myself nodding at every paragraph, Addie. Like you, I wish it were easier or there was a clear path to do more. I was raised like you – the almighty dollar wins. But it makes me heartsick to think those great deals at Carter’s or Old Navy are costing a family somewhere else their lives. I suppose that’s why it feels good to buy local food. It’s something we CAN do, that’s right in front of us. For what it’s worth, there are a few grocery stores in the Twin Cities (Kowalski’s comes to mind) that are big supporters of Minnesota-grown stuff. They are more expensive, but…

    • Addie Zierman

      That’s how I feel too Kelly. Does some other kid have to work so that my kid can wear these cheap clothes? That feels so wrong to me. Good to know about Kowalski’s. Not sure if there are any of those up here in my neck of the woods, but I’ll definitely check them out.

  • http://www.shaneyirene.com Shaney Irene

    I love everything about this post.

    • Addie Zierman

      Thanks so much Shaney. Loved your response above too. Great ideas.

  • http://www.j-stein.blogspot.com Jessica S

    Yes. Oh yes. I’ve been struggling with this so much lately, because I’ve known for a while now that many of our cheap clothes are cheap for painful, unjust reasons. And I am crying reading this post because I feel the same way, that I want to buy fair trade clothes and I want to shop ethically but it’s so inconvenient. I’m pulled in two different directions. On the one hand, how can I call them my brothers and sisters in Christ, who are on the other side of the world when I, by my choices, support their slavery? When I would never treat my biological sisters that way? How can I be so hypocritical?
    And yet, I want nice clothes, I want new clothes, and I have so much trouble finding clothes that fit me well that I just want to buy them when I find them regardless of where they came from. And my vanity and my addiction to convenience is greater than my compassion in those moments, and that breaks my heart, because those people have begun to be real to me, to have faces and I want to do something about them.

    Yet I come to the same conclusion as you, and I’m not sure there is any other. One thing at a time. I do what I can do – I know that buying secondhand is the easiest way to buy ethically, so I go to goodwill first. But I still had to buy shorts at Target this summer too. But when I bought new sandals, I paid for Sseko sandals from Uganda instead of buying another pair of flip flops that I don’t know where they came from. One thing. It seems so small. But we do have power with the ways that we choose to spend our money. One thing at a time. And still my heart is breaking about the rest of the things.

    • Addie Zierman

      Love this Jessica. Thanks so much for sharing your journey and the ways that you’ve been making changes. I’ll have to check out Sseko!

  • http://mylifeonthebalancebeam.wordpress.com Jeremy M.

    Definitely a post I can understand. I often wonder about these kind of things too. The one thing that my wife and I have done is buy from a local CSA. It doesn’t probably do much in the great scheme of things but it is at least something.

    The whole system is just such a mess and it’s hard to even know what we can do to help. As others have mentioned does paying more for jeans or whatever mean that the bottom tier workers are getting paid more or that the higher ups are getting paid more? By not buying items from overseas are we helping or hurting in the long run? So many questions like these, but so few answers.

    • Addie Zierman

      That’s how I feel too. I’ve heard great things about CSA but have never done it. Will have to check it out!

  • http://www.leighkramer.com HopefulLeigh

    I’ve been wanting to write on these issues for months now and you’ve done it more justice than I ever could. You’re singing the song of my heart, Addie. One small change at a time. The big picture is overwhelming but we can make an adjustment here and there and I hope and pray it all adds up to something.

    I read Overdressed just before Christmas and it’s changed the way I shop. But it’s also made me aware of my privilege in being aware of how I shop, whether it’s for clothes or paying for my CSA share. Maybe my choice won’t lead to better choices for those who are less privileged but maybe it will. I hope it will.

    • Addie Zierman

      Being aware of the privilege has been a big piece of it for me. If it’s doing nothing else, it’s changing my heart. And that’s always a good thing.

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  • http://connectionsandconundrums.blogspot.com Laura

    Me, too. Oh, me, too. I’ve been trying to be more conscious of clothing choices, but there are so many other things and I just can’t manage to be so conscious about everything. I stood in the grocery store a full five minutes going back and forth about whether to just buy the Hershey’s cocoa, the store brand that probably also came from a cocoa farm using child labor, or just give up on the entire recipe. You’re right. We do the things we can do and keep remembering.

    • Addie Zierman

      I’ve so had that stuck moment in the grocery store. Completely overwhelming. Thanks Laura.

  • http://dlmayfield.wordpress.com d.l. mayfield

    girl, you know you are talking my language. a great resource is http://www.betterworldshopper.org/ which ranks bunches of companies and grades them like a school report. so, in a crunch, i go for a “C” company instead of an “F”.

    just one of the things that has helped me on this crazy-making journey.

    • Addie Zierman

      Awesome. Thanks friend.

  • Julie

    one site that is really good- slavery footprint.org- made in a free world, you can take a survey when you log in- they walk you through every area of your life from your home to your car to your food to your electronics to your clothing and pretty much everything else you can think of- and then at the end give you a score that gives you an idea of your “footprint” just how many people are being affected by the choices that you’ve made.
    at this stage in my life- i’ve decided to shop normally and sponsor compassion kids/donate to kiva, in time, i might try to incorporate more fair trade choices, etc. good post- thank you for your thoughts.

    • Addie Zierman

      We do Kiva and sponsorship too…though I suck at writing letters to Cornelius. Thanks for the insight and the web site. Will have to check it out!

  • Hannah

    This has been weighing on my heart recently, as well. I empathize with the panic–you take your “one small step,” and suddenly you look up and realize that it was oh-so-small. Then you freak and go on a binge and suddenly you’ve supported that factory for at least the next fifteen years. Ugh.

    I’ve committed to shopping at Goodwill for as much of my clothing as I can. Guilt-free, and you get to humble-brag about ALL your clothes.

    • Addie Zierman

      I do like thrifting. I’m great at it for my kids. (Their clothes come almost exclusively from garage sales and thrift stores). But I seldom give myself the TIME you need to hunt for treasures in the racks for myself. It’s faster and easier to go to Target, so I often do (particularly because I always also need something else there. Toilet paper. Diapers. Milk.) But I’d like to get back to that. Humble brag is just a bonus!

  • http://thechurchofnopeople.com Matt Appling

    Addie – that’s been the evolution I’ve experienced. I found it so overwhelming to think of all the choices we have – and all of the unintended consequences! We can’t save the world. But we can make small changes and just ask God to bless those choices – for everyone involved.

    • Addie Zierman

      Yes. Thank you Matt.

  • http://www.michaboyett.com Micha Boyett

    Thanks so much for this, Addie. Don’t I know all about throwing the Target shorts into my cart and feeling guilt all the way through the check out line?

    Honestly, the changes I’ve made regarding food have been so much easier because I live in San Francisco now, where local food is plentiful all year round. (So much harder in the plains of Texas where my family lives!) But cheap and easy clothes are still so easy to consume.

    Slow changes are good. Thanks for speaking straight to me.

    • Addie Zierman

      I love that you share my Target angst. One of your New Years’ resolution posts a couple of years ago spoke to me about this. Such a beautiful idea — a clothes full of fair trade, artisan made skirts. But the reality of motherhood in America and toddlers and schedules makes it so dang hard. Baby steps. Slow. Change. Yes.

  • http://www.prayingupsidedown.com Kelly Stanley

    My friend Kelsey Timmerman has written two books on these exact topics. “Where Am I Wearing?” and “Where Am I Eating?” Fascinating look at the people who made his clothing, and the people who grow his foods. He traveled around the world and tracked down specific factories and growers and tells their stories. He doesn’t do it to tell you what you should or shouldn’t do; just to open people’s eyes to the types of conditions people live and work in. I think you’d enjoy. I particularly loved “Where Am I Eating?”

    • Addie Zierman

      I have been meaning to read both of those. Definitely on the list!

  • Emily

    Thanks for this post! In the last year God has really revealed to me how important it is to support ethical economic systems. I’ve always been quick to give money to charities that help those in poverty, but I’ve come to the conclusion that this is meaningless if I turn around and spend my money on items that oppress the same people I’m trying to help with my charitable giving.

    After reading Overdressed: the shockingly high cost of cheap fashion (which someone else mentioned already), I’ve definitely changed the way I shop for clothes. I’ve been getting a lot of my clothes second hand. If you’ve got one in your area, I highly recommend Clothes Mentor. They only take clothes in like new condition that are less than two years old, so it’s easier to find things than at somewhere like Goodwill or Salvation Army. I got some socks and tank tops online from Maggie’s Organics, which sells fair trade clothing at very reasonable costs. I haven’t used this company yet, but as soon as I need new jeans I’m planning to get them from All-American Clothing, a company that makes jeans in the US made from US-grown cotton, which guarantees that the jeans weren’t made in sweatshop conditions or from cotton picked by child slaves in Uzbekistan.

    As far as buying local produce, I think you have to be careful about this. I’m not against buying local. I bought blueberries, blackberries, sweet corn, and eggs at my local farmers market yesterday, so I definitely buy local produce. However, just because something is grown locally doesn’t necessarily mean it’s grown more ethically than what’s grown elsewhere. The advantage of buying local is that you can get to know the grower and find out if you are comfortable with their practices. But if you don’t do this research, there’s no guarantee that what you buy locally is any better than what you buy that was produced elsewhere.

    The conclusion I’ve come to about this is exactly what you’ve described in your post. Spending money only on ethically made products is incredibly hard. It requires time and research, being willing to spend more on items than you normally would, and even being willing to go without. I really struggled with this a few weeks ago when I bought a new dress at Kohls for my cousin’s wedding. I knew it was probably made under oppressive conditions, but I “needed” a dress for the wedding. In reality, I could have worn something already in my closet, but my own vanity convinced me it was okay to buy the dress I did.

    There are no easy answers, but I’m continually encouraged by what I’m seeing around me: people who care, who are educating themselves and trying to do what they can.

    • Addie Zierman

      Thanks so much for the information, suggestions and solidarity. It IS hard, but it’s so encouraging to see the ways people like you are integrating small change into their lives. (And also, grace for those moments at Kohl’s. We all have them.)

  • http://equippedwoman.com Melinda Cadwallader

    This is so relevant and now. we are all tired of living with and tolerating our own self-induced consequences of lack of discipline in one area or another. We dont need another good idea or honorable issue to rally for a greater cause, we need real, simple and uniquely tailored strategies for our day to day, based on who we are, in order to start living a life of intention. This will be a great blog roll, cant wait to tune in.

  • http://dianatrautwein.com Diana Trautwein

    I have literally been made numb by all the rhetoric about ethical shopping – overwhelmed and in a bit of a stupor. One small choice. THAT I can do. And then maybe another one. . .

    • Addie Zierman

      That’s a perfect word for it. Numbing. It makes me feel powerless, so I tune out. Instead of engaging, I choose not to learn about it, because learning about it only makes me feel guilt and shame. One small change. That’s about all I can manage these days.

  • http://estheremery.com Esther Emery

    Addie, I really appreciate you.

    • Addie Zierman

      Thank you Esther. So much.

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  • Kleanza7

    Thanks for this post. Some women and I have started a social justice awareness group at our neighbourhood Church because often we are all too busy to even think beyond our to-do list. And we’re a society of convenience. And the Corporations are loving it. There are a lot of hard (impossible) to answer questions regarding this topic, but becoming aware of how our actions impact our brothers and sisters around the globe is the first mighty step. And sharing the awareness with others. And wrestling with it. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, feelings and struggles!

    • http://howtotalkevangelical.addiezierman.com/ Addie Zierman

      Love that idea. What a great way to encourage one another. Thanks for sharing!

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  • Gerald Franks

    Actually, Target is cheaper than Wal-Mart. I haven’t shopped at Wal-Mart in at least three years now, into the fourth, and my wallet is happy about that. From an economic standpoint, Wal-Mart is designed, constructed, and constantly tweaked to encourage impulse buying. You pick up things you *think* you *might* need instead of sticking with the specific items you intended to get. Then the 24/7 operating hours means the moment you think of something you can just hop in the car and get it. Since shifting to the supposedly more expensive Target (and a lot at the dollar store too) if I don’t think of it before 10 (9 in some communities) when Target and the dollar stores close then I have to wait until the next day. Often by then that urgent need has subsided, and voila’ I’ve saved money by choosing against shopping at Wal-Mart. Also, since I didn’t hop in the car to make an impromptu trip I saved some gas money too, and I didn’t have to deal with the temptation to grab something to eat right quick at one of practically dozens of fast food restaurants and convenience foods that are both unhealthy and more expensive than eating at home. I think you see my point by now; Target is cheaper than Wal-Mart although you have to think through the whole shopping experience. Also, from a social justice standpoint, it is no secret that Wal-Mart employees are the largest group using Medicaid as their insurance because the company refuses to allow them to work over 30 hours a week such that they can achieve full-time status and be eligible for benefits such as health insurance. Wal-Mart may have seemingly lower prices but at what real cost? We may not pay for it at the check-out counter; instead we pay for it in our property tax and income tax bills. And how many Wal-Mart employees have you seen who were truly happy?

  • Gerald Franks

    odd timing: the following link came in my email this morning, in Canada, but still should translate well to America I expect, then when you add in the 5% loyalty card they mention in the end, it’s really no contest (except in perception)

    http://www.squawkfox.com/2013/06/03/target-walmart/

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