Tea ~ Jasmine Pearls
I hope you and your families had a wonderful and restful Thanksgiving holiday! I hosted about 20 people at our place on Thursday afternoon and my parents and my cousin stayed the night and then we had some friends spend the rest of the weekend with us. I am thankful for holidays that we have time off from work to spend quality time with loved ones.
While I was able to do that, there are countless others here in America and abroad that do not have that freedom. As we pulled our turkey out of the roaster and brought in extra tables for dinner, there were Wal-Mart employees who are required to work Thanksgiving to gear up for the black Friday rush (I won’t give credit to this day by capitalizing black). There were brick makers working in India who will never be able to repay a debt and that burden is passed down to their children and grandchildren to be slaves in horrible conditions for more than just an 8 or 10-hour workday.
As tempting as those black Friday deals are with door busters and early bird sales beginning in the wee hours of the morning on Friday or on Thanksgiving Day, I have felt like I would be selling my soul to save $50. My family has never been big on gift-giving in the first place, and I am grateful that we don’t typically buy each other things that we don’t need.
Even before the hustle and bustle of Thanksgiving preparations began (where I was only almost run over twice by hurried or distracted shoppers), I have had a heavy heart with consumerism. Not only did I not want to participate in what our country calls black Friday, I have also become much more thoughtful in what I am buying. Where is the money that God has provided my family and I going? What is it supporting? I hesitate to buy new clothes at all these days. Are there men, women and children here or in another country being forced to make my clothing so that I can buy MORE shirts, skirts and shoes? Am I driven by quantity?
I do enjoy sale racks and items from last season as they become unwanted, but I still ask myself if I really need it? I also appreciate the resale shops the neighborhoods of Chicago have to offer. I find myself preferring this method of shopping because these items have already been discarded and then I am supporting a local business to keep this method alive.
Do you know what you are supporting with your money? Have you thought about making small changes to buy fair trade (like The Green Heart Shop in Wicker Park/online, Midwest Teasmith online or Natril Gear online) or resale as we join together to stop human trafficking? I invite you to join me this holiday season in this challenge.
Along with Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday, tomorrow is Giving Tuesday. If you would like to support Traffick Free in Chicago (a non-profit organization I volunteer for to combat human trafficking) with a financial gift, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Just remember that every dollar you spend supports something. You are making a decision with that dollar. Be informed about where your money goes. If you want to pay an incredibly low price for a product, it is possible that in order to get that price, wages are being cut. I hope you’ll consider this when you want to spend no more than $10 on a shirt that is not on the sale rack. I have recently started knitting and spent hours making a scarft for my husband (see below). This is turning out to be an $80 scarf! I have a new respect for homemade products as I myself have spent a lot of time to make gifts for family and friends. And just because the price is higher doesn’t mean the clothing makers are getting a fair wage, but retailers may be increasing the profit margin on that product.
I think this conviction has caused me to buy both less quanitity and better quality or used. It is changing my perspective on consumerism and materialism. I want other families to have quality time and days off on holidays too and these are just a few small changes I can make to see that happen someday.