Something that has been bugging me for a while is this whole buying thing. Why do you buy what you buy? I try to know why I'm buying what I buy, and usually I have a pretty good idea. Do you know what options are out there? Did you consider alternatives? Have you thought about the impact that it has? Do you know where you can get it- not just the cheapest store, but what those stores represent? We can all do better in these areas. We could all live a little more thoughtfully. We could all live a little more conscientiously.
And a little reminder- there is no free lunch. Everything has a cost, even if you don't pay that cost yourself. Coupons- figured into the cost of the product. Freebies- usually donated by someone, thus paid for by the donor. Samples- marketing cost. Stolen/spoiled goods- figured into cost. Sale price- figured into cost. Not to mention all the costs not figured into the retail price but still very real, like the ecological damage caused by production of a good, health hazard to workers, the cost to dispose of the item, just to name a few. Check out Annie Leonard's The Story of Stuff, she really illustrates the problem well. There's a cost to everything, and all of those costs have to be considered when making a purchase.
But instead, the message lately seems to be "Let's spend our way back to national prosperity." Does this strike anyone else as ludicrous? Was it not over-spending that got us into this economic mess? Are we not currently facing lots of congressional hearings (and new legislation) because of questionable practices by the lending industry that let us- nay, encouraged us- to over-spend in such a manner? And repeating this cycle sounds like a good idea?
So I'm asking (begging) that you start thinking about your buying habits. Think about where your money goes and if it's going to principles and ideas that you support. Think about whether or not you would object to treating you in the way a retailer treats their employees, the environment, and society. Think about whether or not you enjoy getting paid what your product is worth, whatever your product is. Think about what your values are and how to stay in line with those values. Just take a moment to think.