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I'm an American and I like to shop as mush as the next person but it's becoming more and more difficult for me to shop and maintain my humanitarian integrity.

I refuse to spend money, if possible, at a company that's proven to care more for profit than its employees or its customers.

I went into a Walmart once to look at the store, but I have never purchased an item from Walmart.

I don't shop at Target, Whole foods, and now Macy's.  I don't buy Nike products or order from Amazon.

I won't buy GE products until they start paying their taxes, and that's difficult to do.

It's becoming increasingly more difficult to maintain this integrity and I don't foresee an end in sight.

I feel that there will come a time at which I will no longer be able to make this choice and that will be a very sad day.

It seems to me that the days of doing "good" business is over.

When the Walmart family make more money each year than there entire payroll does, something is wrong.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Shop where you need to. (8+ / 0-)

    Politics is a contact sport.  Sometimes that contact is kind of tepid:

    GOBAMA!  --> Lefties suck.

    That's laughable at best, no worries.

    Sometimes it's significant!

    "I'm not particularly religious", or "I support gay marriage" --> "Collect your check at the end of the day."

    That kind of shit happens.

    Often we think we might hold the line.  Don't support those fuckers no matter what!  Feels good, looks good too, until you end up needy or spending more money than you have, or some other basic thing comes into conflict.

    I don't like Walmart one bit.  Nobody in my family does.  Do we shop there?  Yes.  We do it when we need to / have to, and sometimes that's unpleasant.

    The important things to realize here are:

    1.  Shopping at Walmart less is a great place to start.  It all adds up you know.

    2.  Realize your personal limits.  

    Sometimes making the statement is too expensive, so don't make it then.  Make your statements when you can do so, when you can afford to do so, and when you can take the contact you might get in response.

    3.  Know that you are not alone in this.

    Again, it's a contact sport.  Shouldn't be, but it just is.  Each of us has to weigh that reality against ordinary life, love, family, needs, wants.  Some of us have means such that we can take a lot of contact!  Maybe run for office, or make bold statements with few worries.

    Some of us can't do that, and it's OK.

    4.  Making statements is just one way to express politics, there are many others.

    Voting comes to mind.  Do you vote?  Do your friends vote?  How about family, kids?  Voting regularly is a very powerful statement.

    Do you have time to volunteer?

    Maybe it's simple advocacy, like speaking up the next time somebody says something really shitty.  That's powerful too, because it does three very important things:

    A.  You get used to expressing your politics and you learn stuff when doing it.  One of the things you learn is how to speak well, keeping yourself out of it while making the point.  Another is how to laugh, or realize the true impact of words you hear in response.  A nut calling you out is laughable.  Really.  Try it.

    B.  It lets others know they are not alone and perhaps they can speak too.

    C.  It pushes back against ugly people wanting to do ugly things.

    5.  Do you have kids?

    Educate them.  Seriously.  Share the politics on a basic level and help them to understand how their future is connected to this stuff and most importantly how they can begin to pick up where you must eventually leave them to do so.  

    6.  Don't get fixated.

    There are always options and groupthink can sometimes feel oppressive overly constraining, useless.  When this happens, seek options, take a break and work on #7.

    7.  Keep your basic priorities in check.  Life, family, work, and such really matter.  On issues, realize that there often are not great choices, only different marginal ones.  For these seek friends who you identify with and try to see past each individual choice and build for a better future.  Holding the line too tight now might cost something really good later on.

    Hope these help.

    ***Be Excellent To One Another***

    by potatohead on Sat Nov 24, 2012 at 01:24:34 AM PST

  •  Walmart is the worst (11+ / 0-)

    I haven't been there for years.  I have made an effort to shop at JC Penny (GLBT friendly ads) and Sears (holds jobs for deployed National Guard), Kmart (same parent), Lowe's instead of Home Depot and at Kroger (union) for groceries. I could go on . . . I try and see it as an opportunity to make the personal political, just like looking for products made in America and locally owned bookstores.

    •  Very good to know about these (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Dave in Northridge, ladybug53

      specific stores and their policies. I am going to try and alter my buying habits as best I can.

      I can't promise to stay away from WalMart completely (it is just not possible where I live/and on my salary), but at least I will try to spread my money around to other businesses when feasible.

      thanks for these facts!

      I nominate Susan Rice for Secretary of State!

      by karma13612 on Sat Nov 24, 2012 at 05:44:02 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Lowe's instead of HDepot? for why? (0+ / 0-)

      we're going with Home Depot these days (and that is a BIG change for us) because of their LGBT-FRIENDLY policies, vs. Lowe's who are NOT being LGBT-friendly... we're pretty sure that's the right way around.

      what is Lowe's doing that over-rides their anti-LGBT? maybe it's regional policy, we're in Oregon

      "real" work : a job where you wash your hands BEFORE you use the bathroom...

      by chimene on Sat Nov 24, 2012 at 08:49:27 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Costco, if there's one near you . . . (15+ / 0-)

    The CEO spoke at the Dem convention this year as you may remember, but more to the point, he lives what he preaches.

    High Cost of Low Wages from Harvard Business Review:

    Though the businesses are direct competitors and quite similar overall, a remarkable disparity shows up in their wage and benefits structures. The average wage at Costco is $17 an hour. Wal-Mart does not break out the pay of its Sam’s Club workers, but a full-time worker at Wal-Mart makes $10.11 an hour on average, and a variety of sources suggest that Sam’s Club’s pay scale is similar to Wal-Mart’s. A 2005 New York Times article by Steven Greenhouse reported that at $17 an hour, Costco’s average pay is 72% higher than Sam’s Club’s ($9.86 an hour). Interviews that a colleague and I conducted with a dozen Sam’s Club employees in San Francisco and Denver put the average hourly wage at about $10. And a 2004 BusinessWeek article by Stanley Holmes and Wendy Zellner estimated Sam’s Club’s average hourly wage at $11.52.

    On the benefits side, 82% of Costco employees have health-insurance coverage, compared with less than half at Wal-Mart. And Costco workers pay just 8% of their health premiums, whereas Wal-Mart workers pay 33% of theirs. Ninety-one percent of Costco’s employees are covered by retirement plans, with the company contributing an annual average of $1,330 per employee, while 64 percent of employees at Sam’s Club are covered, with the company contributing an annual average of $747 per employee.

    Trader Joe's entry level wages aren't great, but it also appears to compensate its employees fairly.

    Most of the Big Box stores are terrible when it comes to employee compensation.  Target is even cheaper than Wal-Mart when it comes to wages for its entry-level workers, as the Atlantic article highlights, although I think it may be better in other respects for longer term employees.

    •  Trader Joes makes themselves so (6+ / 0-)

      scarce that it has been over 12 years since I have stepped foot into one of their stores.

      I used to live in CT in Fairfield County where I had 3 within a sane driving distance.

      Now I live in rural america where the only game in most towns is/are:

      Family Dollar
      and a high-priced Food store chain.

      If you are selective as to which 20-30 mile drive you chose on market day, you might also get to Lowes. JCPenny and Sears are in a mall that is threatening to close. Hallmark already closed.

      If you want to go 90 miles, then you get Target and Victoria's Secret (don't get me started on their ads!!) and other regular mall stores.

      I wish we could make 'responsible' consumer choices. But, sometimes it just isn't an option. My gosh, I miss trader joes for so many reasons. And  now, to find out they are also nice employers, only makes it harder.

      I nominate Susan Rice for Secretary of State!

      by karma13612 on Sat Nov 24, 2012 at 05:33:58 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Does any business other than small (3+ / 0-)

    Local, Mom & Pop types truly operate with clean hands?

    I mean, some have well-known faults, such as those you mention. Once they grow over a certain size, odds are you'll find some moral quibble if you look hard enough.

    I'm all for boycotting, if it makes an impact, but I can't help but think there's somebody right behind me to take my place when I decide not to buy at some store.

    Coordinated boycotting efforts are a different matter.

    Somebody has to do something, and it's just incredibly pathetic that it has to be us.
    ~ Jerry Garcia

    by DeadHead on Sat Nov 24, 2012 at 02:16:53 AM PST

    •  There WAS a small chain of 6 or 7 stores (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ladybug53, DeadHead

      in our area up until a few years ago.

      They were Mom-n-Pop who had done well and expanded.

      Then the kids took over and drove the chain into the ground. It was a 'general store' type selling everything from clothes to auto equipment to home appliances. It was the answer to shopping at walmart.

      Only problem was, they price gouged themselves out of existence in a rural area with high unemployment and low-wage jobs.

      They offered 'corporate night' discount shopping events pre-christmas to local companies and hospital staff. Turns out, the days prior to the events, they raised the prices on merchanise. Then when you applied your special discount, it just brought the price back to where it was pre-sale. So, no discount.

      They filed bankruptcy. All gone.

      Empty stores, crickets cherping

      I nominate Susan Rice for Secretary of State!

      by karma13612 on Sat Nov 24, 2012 at 05:40:33 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Boycotting suggests a group effort to force (0+ / 0-)

      change out of coercion.  My decisions are normally based on what my conscious dictates, not on the general public's and I am not trying to affect change per se.  I cannot and will not knowingly perpetuate harm.

      Everyone has the freedom to make their own decisions.

  •  The Walton's don't "make" money. (5+ / 0-)

    Our national agents of government make money and pass it out to banks so the Treasury can then borrow it back to spend on needful things. Why we do that two-step is unclear. Giving banks first crack at every dollar so they can take a cut is probably just a tradition they are loath to give up.
    The Walton's, on the other hand, are apparently in the habit of accumulating our money and hoarding it to keep it out of circulation. That's an abusive habit, not praiseworthy, because the purpose of money is to be spent, much as the purpose of script is to be writ and read.
    Hoarded money is actually worthless, even though the hoarders don't know it. Hoarding money does, however, upset or interrupt the flow of production, trade and commerce -- i.e. it creates a social impediment, which, one may rightly suspect, is the purpose. Because, to impede progress is to impose a hardship and that means to exert power. Which may well be what the likes of the Waltons are after. The lust for power may also account for filling their stores with junk, much of it ready for the dump before it even comes out of the box.

    There is a long tradition of merchants putting a thumb on the scale to cheat their customers out of a few cents on every purchase. What motivates these merchants, whose ability to set their own prices is clear, is a puzzlement. But whatever it is that accounts for merchants cheating their customers, the Waltons seem to have it in spades. Merchants of disrespect.

    Of course, it was the merchant class that made a fortune trading in slaves. Funny how, when we talk of producers and consumers, the merchants get overlooked. Perhaps it is supposed to be understood that they are subsumed in the "free market," a class of people subject to no strings and no rules.

    We organize governments to provide benefits and prevent abuse.

    by hannah on Sat Nov 24, 2012 at 02:17:09 AM PST

  •  Well... (6+ / 0-)

    THere are plenty of resources to help you make a decision. My wife and I have been shopping based on our values (well, at least 90% of the time) for years.

    Start with looking for the best options on Responsible Shopper. This covers the larger, more national or regional stores. You will find, for example, that Trader Joes, though with some flaws, is one of the best companies in America. I have been using them to help choose for a couple of decades.

    For greener and more local businesses, Green America has a national Green Pages. Look for some of your local businesses there. These are great companies and if you are lucky some will be in your neighborhood.

    In terms of food shopping, Trader Joe's aside, maybe you can find a good local food co-op. That has been the case for my family. This way we are eating healthier, with higher quality food, for less money. You can see if there is a nearby food co-op by looking here. I think the list is out of date but it is the best resource I know of.

    It isn't really that hard to shop based on your values. You just need to find the information and also realize you won't succeed 100% of the time. But start making the shift and keep making it over time and it gets easier and easier. And feels good as well.

    FREEDOM ISN'T FREE: That's why we pay taxes. I Had A Thought

    by mole333 on Sat Nov 24, 2012 at 05:54:37 AM PST

  •  My cash goes to Costco and Trader Joe (3+ / 0-)

    My money goes to Costco and Trader Joe.
    I also shop ten thousands Village, a fair trade boutique that sells internationally made handcraft. I pay in average a little more, but I think it is well worth it.

  •  Costco is a pretty good company (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    yella dawg

    If you have enough cash/space to buy in bulk, Costco is a pretty good option in terms of social responsibility.

    They treat their workers pretty well, give a lot of money to Democrats, and the CEO makes less than $1 million per year.

    •  unfortunately Costco is thing-y about brands (0+ / 0-)

      there's lots more we WOULD buy there, if they carried the brands my family-with-lots-of-food-sensitivities CAN eat. they're also very conventional in lots of their stocking choices. The book tables are usually awash in drivel, and often in very conservative titles (maybe they get paid to put them out?

      "real" work : a job where you wash your hands BEFORE you use the bathroom...

      by chimene on Sat Nov 24, 2012 at 09:10:09 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  besides Costco (3+ / 0-)

    for Christmas shopping you can go to our Kos Katalogue!

    Other than that, we try to stay with local businesses.

    Get 15% off with KOSKATALOGUE at my shop starting Black Friday, or go to the Kos Katalogue!

    by LoreleiHI on Sat Nov 24, 2012 at 09:34:50 AM PST

  •  pick your battles (0+ / 0-)

    you won't like the practices of most large companies.

    decide what is important to you - e.g., is it offering healthcare to employees, supporting same-sex partners, being unionized...

    for food, is it supporting local farmers, offering only approved seafood, paying high wages....

    then make your choices

  •  For your baking needs... Bob's Red Mill. (0+ / 0-)

    Been noted in several diaries that Bob handed over control of the company to the employees when he wanted to retire.

    Would be interesting to see a list of companies that are run and owned by the employees.  I think one or more of the insurance companies advertise themselves as being run along some such model, but can't recall which.

    For your football needs, I think it's the Green Bay Packers, owned by Green Bay.

    Hurrah for socialism ;)

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