or Connect
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Natural Living › The Mindful Home › Frugality & Finances › Saved $16 but feeling a little guilty
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Saved $16 but feeling a little guilty - Page 3

post #41 of 411
My thought on this whole thing is how much one really needs. Our consumer spending habits are out of control. When is enough, enough?

I really ask myself anymore do I really need this? Is it something I can't find used? Will it really make my life better? Do I want to give up that precious space in my home to this new thing I am bringing in?

If the answer to all of these are yes then I will buy new. I have to say, it's not very often I say yes. It would be to things like underwear or tires. Most everything can be bought used and I laugh because half of them are so close to new it's hard to call them used. (again, the consumer world we live in where folks use things once and give them up).

From there I find out if I can get them anywhere but a boxed store. Most the time the answer is yes because I have saved so much money buying things used that I can afford to stay away from those places. And my artist husband and I have a limited budget.

Another thought I have on this is not having TV in our house makes it MUCH easier to live this way because we don't have constant reminders from the advertisements what we "should" have. If I did have TV, I would definitely have Tevo.

Target got a "D" grade behind Wal marts "F" for slave labor practices. Im trying to find that article to share.
post #42 of 411
Quote:
Originally Posted by shayinme View Post
: I find in communities like MDC that people have a tendency to forget not everyone is in their area and circumstances. Its easy to say you have choices and technically that is true but in many parts of the US to find the ethical alternative is out of the reach of the poor.
Thank you! And not just for the "poor" but for the middle-class, too. We live in such a rural area that Wal-Mart really is the only place to shop. Even that is a good 25 minute drive from my house. There are no natural food stores within an hour and the one that is an hour away is so expensive and small that it's just plain not worth it.
post #43 of 411
Quote:
Originally Posted by nantahala View Post
This could be said about any large company making a buck in the capitalist system. What I detest is how, again, under capitalism, choice is paramount to capital, and those with more always have more "choice" and don't seem to understand that there are very poor, very rural people with few options other than Wal-Mart, and often these well-off people do use a "boycott" to shift their "choice" or capital to another large corporate machine with a fair amount of blood on their hands instead of working to improve actual poor folks' condition.

With regards to choice, Rickie Solinger writes:



I am all for progressive activism but not when it uses very poor people or very rural people as a step stool.

And before I get the I am very poor and find other choices! argument, I say excellent for you, but circumstances and realities are subjective, and one changed variable and a situation that looks similar to yours is very different.
I would like to reiterate that I am not blaming poor people for shopping there. I am blaming Walmart for being exploitative. Because I am not poor, I have a choice and choose to boycott them. I resent that this has been labeled snobbish.
post #44 of 411
Quote:
Originally Posted by swimswamswum View Post
I would like to reiterate that I am not blaming poor people for shopping there. I am blaming Walmart for being exploitative. Because I am not poor, I have a choice and choose to boycott them. I resent that this has been labeled snobbish.
I understand the difference, and I think most folks do when people communicate clearly. My point is that those with less privilege, less choice, might see the 76 trombone parade that goes along with the boycott and, honestly, look like bragging and moralizing, might see it as snobbish. I just don't see being resentful when folks feel that the movement doesn't include them, even see them OR offer them other VIABLE alternatives, and report that it appears snobbish or elite or whatever adjective we'd like to use.
post #45 of 411
Here's one you probably haven't heard before....

Where I grew up, the economy took a downturn. A military base closed down and other large companies as well. Soon all the mom/pop local stores started going out of business. The *only* place to buy home goods such as lawn furniture, a fan (noone could afford AC and very hot summers), kids toys, a scale, etc etc was at a small K-mart or a drug store. Many many people were w/o jobs. The county was considered a statewide problem due to unemployment. Noone wanted to take a chance on moving business into an area where there were so many unemployed.

Enter Walmart as well as one of their distribution centers. (REmember, the mom and pops were already out of business). Now tons of people could have jobs (granted they were low paying but it sure beat welfare). For those strong enough to do the unloading, manual labor at the distribution center, there were $15 per hour jobs to be had. That was far more than some people were supporting an entire family with at the time. (Just to give you an idea of how bad the economy was, you could buy a house for about $30k. I remember driving thru the "ritzy" neighborhoods and wondering how anyone could possibly afford $6ok to $70k for a house. LOL Having now lived in other states and neighborhoods I would just LOVE to buy such an expensive house and have a mtg payment of only $600 per month!!!

So walmart was viewed as a "God-send" to our area. Now at last people could have someplace to work. After walmarts success there, other businesses started coming in. First just big retail businesses. Now major companies too. The area is really on an upswing and the unemployment has gone way down and quality of living way up for a lot of people.

While I don't agree completely with Walmart's ethics, I will shop there on occasion. I also will spec go there for Organic clothing. They are the largest buyer of Organic cotton in the US. That is something right IMHO. It makes a good product affordable to a lot more people, and makes it more accepted mainstream. I have some poor friends who will be greatful they can afford organic clothing.

Also, in some towns, Walmart is the only place to buy Organic produce and other foods.

Just to put it in a perspective that is different for those who live in more urban and affluent areas or who can afford to travel or buy elsewhere. There is a different side to the Walmart coin.
post #46 of 411
I used to feel badly and was leaning towards boycotting Walmart (was researching better options in my city and limiting what I could from there). Then I worked at a national dollar store. Let's just say that I quickly changed my opinion. If you buy it cheap, you are doing the same as spending at Walmart. Sure, if you're rich you can choose to spend x amount on locally made resources, driving miles and miles out of the way to get said items. I don't drive and I'm not rich but I'm not going to deny my children access to crayons because of that.

And just because you "think" you are buying from a locally owned shop means NOTHING. When I worked in the dollar store, we had many many regulars. Know who the biggest spenders were? Other businesses and restaurants. Some locally owned stores would hit up our sales to stock their stores, others would just shop year round to stock. Retaurants, businesses that had nothing to do with selling the product they were buying, you name it, we sold to them. I had customers who would pat themselves on the back for going to a locally owned Mexican mart that would sell packaged foods made in Mexico and some made in the US. Yeah, they bought MANY of the things from us. But did I put them right in their delusions? Of course not. I had a selling margin to meet (manager) and I wasn't going to lose the big business from these stores/restaurants so I could put these "informed shoppers" in their place.

I know that people will respond to this saying how much worse Walmart is. Sure. The dollar store chain I worked for treated its employees just as badly. They are paid very, very low hourly, forced to NOT get a second job so that they can always "be on call" (for less than a dollar over min. wage). Instead of firing people, we were told to cut their hours down to four a week to force them to quit so they couldn't collect unemployment. The items were made in shady places overseas, many were even bought from Walmart towards the end of my employment there. Just because a huge deal hasn't been made out of that, does not mean it doesn't happen. Racism runs rampant, each district has a different sort. Mine was populated with Mexican higher ups who were horrible about black people. One manager went so far as to question me about a person's race before considering their application (I'd say I'd "forgotten", best I could could do, I needed the job.) They seemed to forget that I am mixed with black and white and even when I put in complaint after complaint (anon. remember, I needed my job and they fired anyone who complained) of the racism, giving dates and lots of evidence, still nothing was done. I could go on and on but I've watched the Walmart movie in the past and the EXACT same thing was done in the company where I worked. The fact that an assistant manager knew about it goes to show that they aren't exactly trying to hide their processes, just that the public isn't interested in finding out. Plus the fact that anyone willing to work for such low pay NEEDS their job, no one is going to say anything because they know they'll be forced out. Reassurance of "they can't do that" and "that is against the law" mean nothing to people who will get kicked out of their apartments if they don't have next week's paycheck.

So no, I do not boycott Walmart and probably never will.
post #47 of 411
I have a question... Which is better, to shop at Kmart or Wal-mart or spend the gas to drive 45 miles round trip to shop elsewhere. I buy everything I can from small businesses, but sometimes... If they don't have what I'm looking for, what am I supposed to do???
post #48 of 411
Marged some posts from TAO pointer thread...

Dar
post #49 of 411
I'm sure I will get flamed for this but I think I hating Walmart is a pretty elitist point of view. Pen and Teller have a very intresting B.S> episode on the subject.

When we were a two income family I would have never dreamed of shopping at Walmart but then we moved somewhere very expensive and dropped down to one income I couldn't affiord to shop locally it was out of the scope of our budget.
post #50 of 411
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dar View Post
Marged some posts from TAO pointer thread...

Dar
Thats why I was confused for a minute!
post #51 of 411
Quote:
Originally Posted by nannymom View Post
I'm sure I will get flamed for this but I think I hating Walmart is a pretty elitist point of view. Pen and Teller have a very intresting B.S> episode on the subject.

When we were a two income family I would have never dreamed of shopping at Walmart but then we moved somewhere very expensive and dropped down to one income I couldn't affiord to shop locally it was out of the scope of our budget.
I don't think so. We hate Walmart and we are not "elitist". We live on one income and we have very little, if any, money left over. In fact, if we can pay all our bills I'm happy. So not everyone who hates Walmart has plenty of money.
post #52 of 411
Quote:
Originally Posted by nannymom View Post
I'm sure I will get flamed for this but I think I hating Walmart is a pretty elitist point of view. Pen and Teller have a very intresting B.S> episode on the subject.
What about just hating consumerism? Is that elitist? Because I hate every store that sells a bunch of crap. I hate buying stuff. I think lots of others on this thread feel the same way. I'm guessing that most people who hate Wal-Mart, hate lots of other stores too. Wal-Mart just takes the brunt because it's the largest big-box chain in the world. While their business practices make me cringe, so do business practices of most large corporations.

That said, if I needed to feed my kids and had limited resources, I'd shop at Wal-Mart. Luckily, that isn't my situation right now.
post #53 of 411
A lot of people will say something is elitist when it is not the way they do things. Go over to the lactivism forum and you'll find lots of women who are frustrated with the attitude of FF moms who think us Breast feeders think we are better than everyone else. Or the Home School forum and you'll find women who's families don't get the home school thing and chalk it up to "they must think they are too good for the public school system"

People do what works for their family. Doesn't make someone a snob or elitist.
post #54 of 411
Quote:
Originally Posted by simple living mama View Post
My thought on this whole thing is how much one really needs. Our consumer spending habits are out of control. When is enough, enough?

I really ask myself anymore do I really need this? Is it something I can't find used? Will it really make my life better? Do I want to give up that precious space in my home to this new thing I am bringing in?

If the answer to all of these are yes then I will buy new. I have to say, it's not very often I say yes. It would be to things like underwear or tires. Most everything can be bought used and I laugh because half of them are so close to new it's hard to call them used. (again, the consumer world we live in where folks use things once and give them up).

From there I find out if I can get them anywhere but a boxed store. Most the time the answer is yes because I have saved so much money buying things used that I can afford to stay away from those places. And my artist husband and I have a limited budget.

Another thought I have on this is not having TV in our house makes it MUCH easier to live this way because we don't have constant reminders from the advertisements what we "should" have. If I did have TV, I would definitely have Tevo.

Target got a "D" grade behind Wal marts "F" for slave labor practices. Im trying to find that article to share.
For many people, they are not spending out of control. Heck, they're hardly spending. I know I don't have to sit there and wonder "do I really need this?" at all because I simply do not buy things I don't need. I've never been in a position where I could buy whatever I wanted. I have never confused 'want' with 'need'. Ever. I simply cannot afford to. Literally.

And regarding used items. I used to be a HUGE supporter of it. HUGE. Freecycle and thrift stores were my FAVORITE places to get things cheaply, reuse, recycle, and feel good about it.

Until bed bugs started making a come back. After living with them for almost a year now.. I can honestly say, I will never bring anything used into my house unless it can go straight into the washing machine and dryer. Never furniture again. Ever. Before I dealt with bed bugs, I had no problem with it and for that matter.. didn't even realize bed bugs were a threat, or real! So I know that this won't bother others that haven't been unlucky enough to deal with them... but I did want to put it out there.
post #55 of 411
Here's what I don't understand and I know this question has been asked already.

I can buy a package of crayola crayons at Wal-Mart for 77 cents. I can buy the same package of crayola crayons at Canadian-owned Zellers for $1.77.

I sure as heck know that my extra dollar isn't going to the people who manufactured those crayons so isn't it Crayola themselves that is the problem as opposed to the corporation you buy them from?

In that scenario, isn't Wal-Mart the better choice because I am in fact contributing less money to a large corporation's profit line?
post #56 of 411
Quote:
Originally Posted by Maeve View Post
I don't think so. We hate Walmart and we are not "elitist". We live on one income and we have very little, if any, money left over. In fact, if we can pay all our bills I'm happy. So not everyone who hates Walmart has plenty of money.
:

I've been boycotting Walmart for about 2 years now, and I certainly don't have plenty of money. Lately we are scrambling to pay the bills, and some aren't even getting paid. But I won't go to Walmart still. I also don't shop at a Target or K-mart because there aren't any in my area. Instead of going to Walmart for stuff, I just do without for the most part. Most months the only thing I buy is groceries and gas for our car. I rarely buy "household goods" from any place (no paper towels, rarely buy TP, make my own dishwasher detergent and cleaners, etc). I find that I have SAVED money since I stopped shopping at Walmart because I buy so much less crap. It helps me on my path to living much, much more simply. I dislike Walmart because of their business practices, but also because of what they represent: America's obsessions with consumerism at any cost.
post #57 of 411
Quote:
Originally Posted by artgoddess View Post

People do what works for their family. Doesn't make someone a snob or elitist.
I couldn't agree more.
post #58 of 411
Quote:
Originally Posted by Baby Makes 4 View Post
Here's what I don't understand and I know this question has been asked already.

I can buy a package of crayola crayons at Wal-Mart for 77 cents. I can buy the same package of crayola crayons at Canadian-owned Zellers for $1.77.

I sure as heck know that my extra dollar isn't going to the people who manufactured those crayons so isn't it Crayola themselves that is the problem as opposed to the corporation you buy them from?

In that scenario, isn't Wal-Mart the better choice because I am in fact contributing less money to a large corporation's profit line?
Well as a former garment manufacturer i can tell you that Wal mart will threaten to put a company out of business if they don't agree to take a loss on certain products. There was a big hula ballo about that and rubber maid a few years ago too. If Rubber maid didn't agree to sell to Wal-Mart at the price they demanded then Wal-mart would only carry a lesser knock off and not having their product at the largest retailer in the world could have been devastating to Rubber Maid.

I never sold garments to Wal-mart, but I did to VS and TJ Maxx, and what it cost me to produce was more than Wal-Mart was willing to pay. In fact in some cases even with VS I would make a garment line, and because the panties and boyshorts use so much more material than a bra, but sell for so much less I would either take a loss on the panties or barely break even, and have to make it up in the bras. So Crayola may be having to do that with their products. Take a loss on the 8 pack of markers, but make it up on the coloring books, and wonderpads. Or Crayola maay be forced to look for cheaper labor in order to keep selling at Wal-Mart which means in a sense yes your extra dollar would be going to the workers.


Second, another poster pointed this out above, part of the incentive is to get you into the store. Once you are there you may buy other things, that they do make more $$ when sold. That makes up for the crayons. I know the only time I've been to a Walmart the store was approximately the size of the state of Rhode island, and it was laid out in a way that you were sort of forced to go through many sections and different aisles to get to the item I needed, baby wipes. Are all of Wal Marts back to School items right up front and easy to get to?
post #59 of 411
I think what Nannymom is saying, and correct me if I am wrong, is that there's a continuum of economic privilege (also encompassing geography here) that needs to be taken into consideration when talking about social movements (participating in a boycott) or overarching statements that take personal experience and blow them up into macro-size statements of facts. To dictate: Wal-Mart is evil, never shop there is an elitist statement because it does not take very REAL factors into account (ftr: I don't think anyone is dictating anything in this thread).

And I'd add again that the other national chain aren't a better choice or a more moral choice than Wal-Mart. IMO recycle, reuse, reduce, and help a neighbor are more important in my world (as they are ethical actions that everyone can take part in and not based on the $$$ in your pocket) than making shopping a purely ethical choice that ignores, oh, social and economical capital.
post #60 of 411
The subject of choice and going without is a bit amusing to me really. I've seen in several places on the forums conversations surrounding the amount of money people here spend on food a month. The figures are astounding to me. Absolutely astounding. I spend less than $150 a month on food for a family of five. The majority of people polled spent two to three times that in one week. Often for families smaller than mine.

So tell me... why is it that I have to go without and my purchases are being labeled a 'want' and not a 'need.' Yet peoples definitions of need in regards to food vary so much. If I can feed my family of five for $150 a month, why can't everyone else?

Do you see how that unfairly puts my priorities and morals on a higher ground than yours? Often, thats how it sounds when others talk about "choice" and shopping.

All people have different circumstances. Blanket statements that include everyone just are not realistic.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Frugality & Finances
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Natural Living › The Mindful Home › Frugality & Finances › Saved $16 but feeling a little guilty