The Saga of the Responsible Shopper (Part One)

My relationship with clothes, money and my own self-awareness....

I recently sent a mass email to some of my friends declaring why I refused to buy from Target anymore because of their support for candidates who don’t support gay rights. I went on a tirade on how I couldn’t consciously buy from a company who doesn’t believe in equal rights. How ethical of me, right?

I, of course, buy daily from companies who probably contribute to a lot of causes I don’t agree with. Hypocritical, yes. Avoidable? I’m not sure yet. As an athlete for the University of Washington, I wear Nike products from head to toe in competitions; and yes, this is the same company who was under fire years ago for violating human rights and labor laws. Nike is still to this day are under major scrutiny for the manufacturing of their products.

With most products in the U.S. being made in developing countries in factories, it would almost make it impossible to buy American made anything. The only company who comes to mind for making their clothes in the good ‘ol U.S. of A. is American Apparel, and that company has received harsh criticism because their CEO, Dov Charney, has been accused several times for creating a work environment for women that subjects them to sexual harassment.

Living in a bubble for most of my life, not really caring where my dresses came from or what causes the companies I bought from supported, I have made myself believe that I have needs that can only be met through these products. What would I be without my pretty, pricey dresses from Anthropologie? How would I function without my trendy iPhone? Did it really matter that Target supported candidates I didn’t ethically agree with? If I stopped buying from Target, would I have to turn to Walmart? And, what are their policies on human or minority rights? (Probably no better than that of Target’s.) Then again, maybe I should just shrug my shoulders and say to myself, ‘that’s the way the world works. I’m just living in it.’

In an effort to learn more about where my products come from and what causes my companies I often buy from support, I will write a series of articles struggling with what the realities are of not knowing the people who sewed the pair of my Citizens of Humanity jeans or recognizing that buying local products can break my bank. At what point will I find a compromise between living on a budget and also living with my conscious?

How responsible of a shopper can I learn to be? Will this change the relationship I have towards material possessions and with myself? Read in the upcoming weeks to find out.

Next entry: Please Stop the Mommy Bloggers!
Previous entry: The Cynical Daydreamer


  • .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

    Mon, 21.03.11 at 09:47AM

    A nice experiment. It will be interesting to see where you are able to make the compromise. Unfortunately, it seems as we get older we have to learn to pick our battles. Not every one can be won.

  • .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

    Mon, 21.03.11 at 12:11PM

    It’s true, this is why I am interested to see what Anya compromises. Should make for a great series of pieces!

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