Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Choices I Make Every Day

I have to go to the grocery store. Every once in a while, I need a gizmo for doing some house project. I go to the movies. I buy books -lots of books. In principle, all of these choices can be made ethically. But this is reality. What do I REALLY do in this small town when I need to go to the store? I'm still working out the details.

My brain gets tangled before very long. Say a company donates lots of money to the Republican party (not great, in my world view) but treats its employees well and has progressive environmental policies. How do I weigh the one against the other? I don't know and I'm open to input. Posssibly that never happens. We'll find out.

I will tell you what I DO know -and much of it is gleaned from BuyBlue.

Target vs. Wal-Mart: every time you need school supplies, new socks, or sheets for the guest room bed, you make this choice. Target is a significant contributor to the Republican Party, but there isn't enough information about its other policies to make an assesment. Wal-Mart is an even bigger contributor to the Republican Party and earns a negative rating on every other score. So, a progressive person ought not really shop at either. I knew this. But where DO I get those items in this town? Walgreens wins no prizes either, by the way. If finances compel you to shop at Wal-Mart, here's an interesting post you might like: A Modest Proposal. I certainly don't want to ask families living on the financial edge to further endanger themselves by spending more for food than they must.

Borders vs. Barnes and Noble vs. Amazon: Those are the choices around here. Gotta go with Barnes and Noble on this one. They are a modest contributor to Democratic issues, and their privacy policy is a lot better than Amazon's. Borders doesn't provide any information about its contributions and Amazon is a supporter of Republican issues.

Jewel's vs... what? Albertson's, which owns the Jewel Corporation is a significant supporter of Republican issues and doesn't have terrific worker policies. I doubt very much that the new place on the south side of town has progressive politics, but at least it's locally (sort of) owned. The fact that I don't even know its name tells you how often I've been there, but I will check it out. If it's non-horrible, I'll go with that one. Trader Joe's owns Aldi's, and they don't provide any information about their contributions. I suppose we're back to the idea I've mentioned before. Buy as much as you can (can afford to) at Duck Soup Coop.

For renting movies, we have Blockbuster or you can use Netflix. That's pretty much it, right? Netflix is a tiny contributor to Democratic issue and Blockbuster is a more significant contributor to Republican issues. Which is good, because I'd find Netflix hard to give up.

Interestingly, Starbucks and Caribou are both okay, although Caribou edges out Starbucks. Go to Green LA Girl's blog for more information about Starbucks and Fair Trade coffee. She knows everything there is to know about that. Caribou has a much more progressive policy about sustainability and support of local growers, but the situation might be improving at Starbucks.

What else do I do with my daily dollars? I'm not sure. I have a cell phone. I have a landline at home. I go out to eat. I have an ISP. I buy clothes -not often enough according to my mother. I exercise. Very occasionally, I clean my house. We'll look at those choices another day.

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