Sunday Thoughts: What is Your Cause?

Sometimes I think of brand responsibility and feel guilty. because I don't like to shop at Walmart because I don't think they are a good company. but then I like shopping at Target and they aren't always good. I wonder if I am just kidding myself thinking there are any companies that don't exploit people when they can. SHould I stop buying clothes at Target? Because lately I am loving their sweaters and they aren't a million billion dollars.
THis all started when I got an email the other day about a petition. I get emails from Change.org. I guess that 28 factory workers were burned alive on December 14 in Bangladesh. It took Abercrombie and Target a LONG time to respond and help. Change.org reported that their petition to get people to help was a success. You can read about it HERE. They say everyone COMMITED to help and change, but they don't always follow through.
Why did it take Target so long to commit? Almost a month? Is it common for companies to promise to fix things when the public is upset and then walk away? I don't know a lot about multi level sweatshops and I remember the Buy American movement a while ago. But I thought that had more to do with supporting our economy than making sure our retail habits weren't promoting slave like conditions.

So this Sunday I am thinking about Causes. What do people feel strong about? I feel strongly that companies should use responsible labor sources but I don't always know what I can do about it. Or if I can afford what I would like to do. I think its important to try to help with the things you care about. If you think schools should be improved you should volunteer to help. Don't just complain about something you don't try to help solve.
Am I just another one of the whiners when it comes to clothing? I don"t know. I will have to learn more.

What do you feel strongly about?
What do you do about it?

Carlie Madsen (February 6, 2011 at 12:45 PM)  

Hmm, interesting. I shop at Target all the time. I just watched Food, Inc. so I think all big companies are evil, especially Monsanto and Smithfield. I decided I have to ease my way into living my ideal life because the way I function right now is very dependent on cheap goods from places like Target. So, if I slowly learn to live with less (and make more money) I may yet be able to shop my ideals. I read recently about Forever 21, and how they rip off smaller designers that don't have the funds to sue them. Evil. Target had some SUPER cute cardigans right now. I wanted to buy all of them when I was jeans shopping the other day.

Paul (February 7, 2011 at 10:03 AM)  

The thing about crappy working conditions in factories that really bothers me isn't that American companies run these factories but that the people who work in them don't have better options. I've been reading a book called "The elusive quest for growth: economists' adventures and misadventures in the tropics" which is about foreign aid and trying to help poor countries grow. My takeaway so far is that the IMF is a big screw up of an organization and a lot of poor countries are poor because their governments suck. I am a fan of the idea that consumers can "vote with their feet" by not shopping at places that offend them.

Mel (February 9, 2011 at 8:10 PM)  

It is really hard to shop responsibly when it comes to clothing because of the way the industry is set up. Clothing has become so inexpensive to purchase because of our free trade agreements, but the result is that you've got a lot of factories in Asia that pay their workers a mere 2 cents for every garment they sew (or some ridiculously low amount of money like that). As much as I love Target, they're no better than Walmart because they're all sourcing all their stuff from low-cost developing countries. (Said by someone who's been known to buy several Target cardis in multiple colors... oh the shame! ;-) Walmart is evil for other reasons, however, such as how they strong-arm their suppliers to lower prices even if it means the supplier would have to produce at a loss.

The most responsible thing people can do is just buy less, and buy things that will last (although that runs completely counter to the "buy to keep the economy running!" philosophy). I am so sick of the mentality that people can and should be able to buy whatever they want, even if they've gotta take out a home equity loan to buy it! Our society has become so wasteful and materialistic, and there is a reason that if Walmart were a country, it'd have the 6th largest GDP in the world! (Ok, I forget the exact statistic, but it is something really appalling!)

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