Why do some SAHM's insist they have to shop at Walmart? - Page 3 - Mothering Forums

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#61 of 313 Old 07-12-2004, 02:22 PM
 
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I am trying to cut down my WalMart shopping, but dh loves WalMart because it is so convenient. That being said, for the most part he lets me decide where we shop, although sometimes we end up at WalMart anyway.

We live in an urban area, and there are a lot of huge corporate alternatives to WalMart (Target, Albertson's, Winn-Dixie, etc). In the last 15 years, I've watched a lot of small, local businesses go under because they couldn't compete with the lower prices that WalMart can provide. I think that that's a shame. And I know, that the American way, right? Competition uber alles. But I also know that those local retailers provided for their employees in ways that huge mega-corporations have trouble doing.

I can understand why people shop at different places. We all do the best we can in the situations that we find ourselves in. But I think that the very least we can do is try to educate ourselves about the practices of those companies that we do business with, so that if/when our situations change we can make informed decisions.
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#62 of 313 Old 07-12-2004, 03:03 PM
 
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Thank you DB, that is something I think is not taken into account as well..what area a person lives in can and does affect what selection they may have as far as retail outlets.

Here is what I buy at wal-mart, and why:


Toilet paper( I am not washing my or my husbands poo off of ANYTHING, sorry.)
Dishwasher soap.
Vinegar. (I can get the huge gallon things of white vinegar there for less than anywhere else, and I go through a lot of vinegar.)
Laundry detergant.
Borax.
Dryer sheets( we like them here..)

Cat food, because it is the least exspensive place to get so large a bag, and I have a few cats.

Filters for our fish tank. Wal-mart is the ONLY place I have found the type of filters we need to have for our fish tank.

Canned Beans for meals.98 cents a can...I can make chili and have enough left over to freeze for less than $5.00 worth of canned beans and a can of chopped tomatoes.

Canned spaghetti sauce.99 cents a can at WM, $1.59 at safeway! Think about that! Either 99 cents or a $1.59 for ONE CAN of sauce. I can do a lot with one can of sauce.

Bananas.Steadily 48 cents a pound there. We go through them pretty quickly lately.

Diapers and (GASP) diaper wipes.

Pull-ups.

Soap, Shampoo, Toothpaste.

Razors for me. I refuse to have hairy legs..the sensation of this can keep me awake at night. Not gonna do it!

I also have bought clothes at wal-mart, because they have Lay Away.I do try to buy stuff used if and when I can. What I cannot find used I then go to the next least expensive place ..which means that I go to wal-mart and put it on lay-away so I can put 5.00 or 10.00 dollars at a time...which is important for me.

I do have access to an outlet mall, so I have gone there and bought things when/if I can find it on clearance. It has a Gap, an Osh Kosh, a Stride right, and a Carters and a Motherhood maternity. I can find things there occasionally that I can afford..but not on a steady basis.

My kids need clothes. I have to provide them with clothes. I utilize all options before going to wal-mart...but when it comes down to it, I have to dress my kids.


I could quit using shampoo, and ob tampons,and toilet paper.. but I am not going to.

I could let my kids walk around in the same five articles of clothing to make a statement, but I am not going to do that either.


I guess I should not respond to this thread, because it really does cause me to be angry. I am doing the best that I can right now.

I am glad that others can and have done better. Good job.


In the meanwhile, please accept that I am, once again, doing the best that I can do with what I have.
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#63 of 313 Old 07-12-2004, 03:59 PM
 
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Avonlea

You know what bothers me the most about this whole thing? It's the fact that you have to defend your choices. None of us here are any better than the next mama, and to make people feel like they have to explain their choices......I just don't see the point.
Like I said before, to educate people is awesome, and I thank the OP for her willingness to do this (I didn't know about the sweatshops), but what people do with this information is up to the individual. Personally, I have other choices where I live,(Zellers, Superstore, etc. ) but reading this thread, it sounds like not everyone does, and I wonder how those mamas will feel now that they know about the practices, but can't get around shopping there. For all I know, maybe the other stores I mentioned have the same practices

To the OP, you have definately given us some things to think about in regards to our consumption, and some great ideas on how to reduce what we use. Thanks!!
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#64 of 313 Old 07-12-2004, 08:34 PM
 
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If you live in an impoverished rural area there seems to be no viable alternative to shopping at Walmart.
It's not a matter of agreeing to disagree or not MHD. It's not a matter of "seems" either. In parts of WV there is NOTHING. You get the occasional news story like the one a few years back about the father and son living in an unheated bus in the winter, with no food and frostbite starting, but for some of these people, they'd sooner starve than get assistance. I don't know whether it's from pride or not knowing that welfare of some sort is available (that's rather difficult to imagine actually), but that's how it is in some areas. That family wasn't going to move to another town, they didn't have money for flour, let along gas (if the bus was even roadworthy). If they had 2 dimes to rub together, WM would have been their only shot at getting something they might afford.

THAT's the kind of thing I'm talking about when I mention people not having choices.

"What will you do once you know?"
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#65 of 313 Old 07-13-2004, 01:17 PM - Thread Starter
 
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WOW, I really wish people would stop assumeing that anyone is being judgemental and thinks that they are better than anyone else. People are posting here that they have either found a way to avoid WM or alternatively have to shop at Walmart. IMHO, I think that the people who are feeling like they have to defend themselves are dealing with some internal guilt or insecurity, becasue I have not seen even one post that says that if you shop at WM you are "bad".

I didn't start this tread so that I could say "I am better than you because I don't shop at Walmart". I have shopped there 2 different times this year when I could not afford a specific item I needed, and Walmart was the cheapest (my son's baseball shorts were 5$ there and 20$ apiece everywhere else.) BUT, THIS IS the ACTIVISM FORUM! I want to point out why the shorts were only 5$ at WM...... there overhead is lower for more reasons than "it is a big chain." They cut costs everywhere, including where it hurts it's human workers..... whether it be in our country in a store or another country in a sweatshop.

Michelle
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#66 of 313 Old 07-13-2004, 02:19 PM
 
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#67 of 313 Old 07-13-2004, 02:31 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Meiri
Not every necessity is available second hand.

Why don't you take those posters' word that this is the best they can do and don't have the options that you have?

And occasionally there's something decent at WM that is Not available elsewhere for more....


I can't afford (with gas prices these days) to travel to shop. The grocery stores here are very expensive compared to WM...I try to shop around, but that gets to be a pain having to travel from store to store when WM has what I need all at one place. I think it's important that each person is given the respect to make the right decisions for her family. I used to work for WM years ago and I know the crap they pull with women...I know how small businesses leave because they can't compete...I can't support small businesses when I can get something cheaper at WM. I have to think about my family first. We don't have many choices here...and it's not like there were many choices before WM came either. The same stores are here...just more expensive for some reason! The two other grocery stores are major chains here in the midwest and their prices still are higher for some things than WM. My job as a consumer is not to help keep higher priced places in business...it's to pay the lowest price I can for items (if I choose too that is).
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#68 of 313 Old 07-13-2004, 02:36 PM
 
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Originally Posted by fourgrtkidos
WOW, I really wish people would stop assumeing that anyone is being judgemental and thinks that they are better than anyone else. People are posting here that they have either found a way to avoid WM or alternatively have to shop at Walmart. IMHO, I think that the people who are feeling like they have to defend themselves are dealing with some internal guilt or insecurity, becasue I have not seen even one post that says that if you shop at WM you are "bad".
I don't think those are the feelings anyone has had until they read comments that SUGGEST that maybe they SHOULD feel bad or guilty! I think that's why people get all up in arms...all of a sudden there are comments suggesting that one is wrong or bad or whatever for choosing to shop at a certain place, not use cloth, not use natural products, whatever the case may be...then one starts to wonder and possibly get defensive.

You have to put everything into perspective...what came first really. In many of these cases no one feels guilty until there is a suggestion or implication of guilt.
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#69 of 313 Old 07-13-2004, 04:09 PM
 
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...or unless the reason to feel guilty rings true to them.

I feel guilty b/c I don't always follow what I know is right. I'll buy organic food, but can't always buy organic cotton. I once went and bought a sports bra at walmart. I suck. I bought some of those camping chairs there for 5 bucks. I way suck.

The reason I feel guilty is I know that when ANYTHING gets too big, it gets OUT OF CONTROL. I don't want to support that. I want to support a simple & sustainable life. No stretch of my imagination can create WM to be a carrier of simple & sustainable life.

I get sick when I see people buying all those ridiculous plastic unnecessary items from WM...a cart full of disposable toilet brushes & barbie dolls. I feel strongly that we have a commitment to the next generation of children to NOT completely ruin the earth...that's why I feel my guilt.
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#70 of 313 Old 07-13-2004, 04:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Meiri
Not every necessity is available second hand.

Why don't you take those posters' word that this is the best they can do and don't have the options that you have?

And occasionally there's something decent at WM that is Not available elsewhere for more....
That.
I must say i do not appreciate such hostility directed towards those of us who choose to shop there for whatever reason. Surely you must have better things to do with your emotional and mental energy than harsh on those of us who really do not have much choice? I don't think it's very productive at all. Until there truly are options for me, and if there were i whould certainly use them, i will continue to shop there without guilt.
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#71 of 313 Old 07-13-2004, 05:18 PM
 
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I have been to many towns in the US and Canada where the only store is a walmart (or kmart, etc.). They really do exist, and I don't see how its any "better" to use a full tank of gas to drive to a "good" store where alot of the things are made in sweatshops anyway!

That being said, I live in a city, in a "crappy" part of town, where I don't need to drive to buy all of those staples for relatively cheap. I figure I save the difference between walmart goods and local goods buy not driving my car to the store. This was a conscious choice I made, specifically because I didn't want to be limited to walmart or the mall, but I know it's not a choice everyone could/would make!

I think we should all think about the impact our ENTIRE lives have on the earth and its population, and try to reduce that negative impact OURSELVES before "outlawing" specific things. I read an article about celebrities who buy hybrid cars and mock those who drive SUVs, but live in huge 5000 feet air-conditioned houses themselves. I'm an atheist, but believe in the concept of "letting he who is without sin" cast the first stone.

We can all do better, right? Isn't the point to live in such a way that we set the best example we can, for our children, and for others? Far better to educate people gently about their choices, and let them decide, than judge them too harshly.
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#72 of 313 Old 07-13-2004, 05:27 PM
 
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Cancat, the last line of your post sums up what I have been trying to say perfectly:

"Far better to educate people gentley about their choices, and let them decide, than to judge them too harshly."

Thankyou!
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#73 of 313 Old 07-13-2004, 05:34 PM
 
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I read an article about celebrities who buy hybrid cars and mock those who drive SUVs, but live in huge 5000 feet air-conditioned houses themselves..

What's bad about that (other than mocking other people)? Yes, Im serious.
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#74 of 313 Old 07-13-2004, 05:41 PM
 
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Originally Posted by cancat
I read an article about celebrities who buy hybrid cars and mock those who drive SUVs, but live in huge 5000 feet air-conditioned houses themselves..
Quote:
Originally Posted by my~hearts~light
What's bad about that (other than mocking other people)? Yes, Im serious.
The hypocricy of it. "Look at me! Look at me! I'm energy concious! I'm saving energy! (Except for back home where I'm throwing it away by the truckload...) Shame on your resource hogging SUV drivers! Boooo Shwartzenegar!"

BTW, I finally realised that it is GREAT that Ah-nold owns 15 Hummers. That means that on any given day at least 14 of them are sitting idle. If they were owned by 15 different people they would probably all be driven almost every day. Hurrah for conspicuous consuption!
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Originally Posted by kama'aina mama
The hypocricy of it. "Look at me! Look at me! I'm energy concious! I'm saving energy! (Except for back home where I'm throwing it away by the truckload...) Shame on your resource hogging SUV drivers! Boooo Shwartzenegar!"

BTW, I finally realised that it is GREAT that Ah-nold owns 15 Hummers. That means that on any given day at least 14 of them are sitting idle. If they were owned by 15 different people they would probably all be driven almost every day. Hurrah for conspicuous consuption!
:LOL

I'll resume my lurking now :
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#76 of 313 Old 07-14-2004, 10:34 AM
 
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Originally Posted by my~hearts~light
What's bad about that (other than mocking other people)? Yes, Im serious.

The hypocrisy! It's trendy to put down SUVs (not that I'm a fan of them, either), but not yet trendy to put down people who waste the same amount of energy (more!) to cool their house (or three houses), or who take private jets across the country.

Edited to add: I should have read kamaaina's post above before posting...
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#77 of 313 Old 07-14-2004, 12:21 PM
 
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Great point abimommy AND great book recommendation! I'm reading "The Working Poor" by David Shipler right now. While not as well written as Ehrenreich's book, it's similar in it's outlook and basically makes the same point about "choice" that several posters are making here.

Allison

I'm reading this book, too!

You know, one thing that hasn't been brought up is that if other stores lowered their prices a bit, maybe people who don't want to shop walmart but do WOULD go elsewhere. For example, our local HFS is WAY over priced. I know how much their lease is, and I know the msrp and wholesale cost of most of their products, and they charge more than msrp. There is another HFS about 25 minutes away with more reasonable prices, set at msrp or slightly less. I won't go to the hfs near me, as I feel totally ripped off that they charge what they do.

Safeway charges much more than Walmart, and their entry-level employees don't make more than Walmart employees.........their benefits are similar as well (at least here, not sure about other states).

Of course stores should make a profit. But do they need such a high profit margin?

ETA- I'm talking about food; not clothing and such, as I understand about sweatshops and how WM gets certain items for much cheaper than other retailers that way.
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#78 of 313 Old 07-14-2004, 12:25 PM
 
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[QUOTE=who waste the same amount of energy (more!) to cool their house (or three houses.

[/QUOTE]
Just curious, do most of you mamas air condition your home?
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#79 of 313 Old 07-14-2004, 12:40 PM
 
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You know, one thing that hasn't been brought up is that if other stores lowered their prices a bit, maybe people who don't want to shop walmart but do WOULD go elsewhere.
We struggle with this issue also. In Santa Cruz we supported local businesses but I had gotten burned really badly by a few and it was making me really disillusioned. One time I was so upset with a small company and I realized that I could have called the “supervisor” of larger provider and gotten results.

So, yea, the other stores, IMO, should make a bigger effort to compete with the chains. I understand that they will not be able to fully compete but some places don’t seem to even try to compete with prices and some services (like returns).

Oh and, a big nod at the hypocrisy issue. I try not to dwell on it because, otherwise, I would see it everywhere. That’s kind of what I was talking about with the TP thing. Yea, I could cut TP and it would be a nice “radical” addition to my resume but there would still be far greater consumption issues that I should be dealing.

No air conditoning here. I really don't like it so it isn't even tempting for me. We do consume like crazy in the winter because we have an oversized old house...I'll do better with the next rental (just wasn't thinking...I was drawn like a moth)

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#80 of 313 Old 07-14-2004, 01:18 PM
 
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WOW, I can't believe that. It's too hot here, my a/c is never ever off. I run the a/c more in the winter than I do the heat. We have a fireplace but i've never used it. I'd love to live somewhere that you don't have to use a/c all the time. I bet you save a lot of money that way!
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#81 of 313 Old 07-14-2004, 01:21 PM
 
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I shop at Walmart because other than that all we have here is Kmart and they don't have everything I need, and when they do it's a lot more expensive. I do buy clothing and other sale items at Kmart whenever I can though.

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#82 of 313 Old 07-14-2004, 01:27 PM
 
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It gets hot here in the - hot enough that many shops don't sell chocolate in the summer months. Man, last year it was like 115 but that was unusual.

A better person than me would conserve better with the heat. All of the rooms have 2 doors, which would be used so you just heat the section of the house that you’re using. I hate doors and we removed them without thinking but I’m probably going to put them back on this winter because I felt bad about all the waste.

Living in Europe has given me an amazing perspective on consumption…the things I couldn’t even imagine living without most of my friends don’t even have a use for. It takes a shock to the system(for me)to be able to see them though.

My goal is to go no clothes dryer because it seems like such a waste to use one when nature does it for free. It’s gonna be hard though.

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#83 of 313 Old 07-14-2004, 01:32 PM
 
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Originally Posted by kama'aina mama
BTW, I finally realised that it is GREAT that Ah-nold owns 15 Hummers. That means that on any given day at least 14 of them are sitting idle. If they were owned by 15 different people they would probably all be driven almost every day. Hurrah for conspicuous consuption!
:LOL

on the hybrid stuff- a lot of us ordinary people (non-movie stars) who drive hybrid cars also compost, recycle and turn our thermostats way down- and don't have air conditioners. It's a part of an overall plan- no one is perfect- we're all doing our best.

Being right is not always fair, but being fair is always right
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#84 of 313 Old 07-14-2004, 02:19 PM
 
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Originally Posted by monnie
:LOL

on the hybrid stuff- a lot of us ordinary people (non-movie stars) who drive hybrid cars also compost, recycle and turn our thermostats way down- and don't have air conditioners. It's a part of an overall plan- no one is perfect- we're all doing our best.

Just want to say: I wasn't trying to beat up on the hybrid-drivers! Or the house air-conditioners either! It was just to show how it's easy to criticise someone given just one example from their lives (ie, shopping at walmart) rather than looking at the BIG PICTURE...the "overall plan" monnie mentions above.

I mean, what's better, to drop a few hundred bucks every month at organic food stores/clothes boutiques, or to spend 20 bucks here or there at walmart?
I don't have an answer to this, but its just something to consider...
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Originally Posted by my~hearts~light
Just curious, do most of you mamas air condition your home?
Yes, but it's set at 80* right now... if we don't use A/C we get mold on the walls and it gets over 95* in the house.

I love spring and fall because I can open windows and use fans if necessary, I miss that!
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#86 of 313 Old 07-14-2004, 02:45 PM
 
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Originally Posted by cancat
Just want to say: I wasn't trying to beat up on the hybrid-drivers! Or the house air-conditioners either! It was just to show how it's easy to criticise someone given just one example from their lives (ie, shopping at walmart) rather than looking at the BIG PICTURE...the "overall plan" monnie mentions above.

I mean, what's better, to drop a few hundred bucks every month at organic food stores/clothes boutiques, or to spend 20 bucks here or there at walmart?
I don't have an answer to this, but its just something to consider...
I know you weren't beating up on hybrid drivers. Just have to always step in and defend the image of hybrid drivers as being movie stars :LOL

I do think it is important to not criticize people for one aspect of their lives- all of us after all are many-faceted and it's hard to get a real picture from just one thing. Like a person getting their TP at Walmart but biking to work and growing their own garden using a recycled bedspring as a trellis for their tomatoes and pole beans!

Being right is not always fair, but being fair is always right
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#87 of 313 Old 07-14-2004, 03:21 PM
 
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It is interesting to see the vairous perspectives in this thread.

My family of three lives on about $25K/year (after taxes) so we aren't exactly poor but we aren't rich either. However, I find that we are much too poor to shop at places like Wal-Mart.

The reason is that the stuff is such poor quality. I wear my work clothes and shoes for years. I can't afford cheap stuff that falls apart in the wash or shoes that wear out in less than a year. I can't afford to keep replacing kitchenware that breaks or furniture that sags and delaminates when you use it. I can't afford to pay a big corporation to process my food for me when it's so much cheaper to buy staples like rice and lentils and supplement them with in-season fruits and veggies.

I guess this will sound elitist to some, but when I shop at yard sales, thrift stores or overstock stores at least there is a possibility that I'll find a real treasure for cheap. At Wal-Mart they promise to stock the cheapest product and that means those hidden treasures don't even exist in the store. I hate the feeling that just because I don't have much money the cheap junk they sell is all that I deserve.

BTW, I'm not saying that expensive = good quality. Even nicer stores stock marked up cheap stuff in order to make a profit. What I'm saying is that buying cheap without considering quality essentially means buying disposable products and that is almost always more expensive in the long run.

--AmyB
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#88 of 313 Old 07-14-2004, 03:31 PM
 
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Hi Amy,

I've noticed the same thing with clothing. Walmart is cheaper, but pills up or falls apart... so I can get the same item of clothing off the clearance rack at baby gap for $1-$2 more and it will last through 2-3 kids.

I was thrilled to come across a link for americanapparelstore.com (I think earlier in this thread?) ... they a tee for $14 just like the ones I purchased at Eddie Bauer for about the same price. If I would have bought from aas, I would have supported non-sweatshop US jobs. So now I know... next time I can afford some new clothing, guess where I'll go?

Everytime I think I've caught up, I find someone else that can be improved. And to think it all started with recycling! (for me anyway)
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#89 of 313 Old 07-14-2004, 04:39 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by busybusymomma
Everytime I think I've caught up, I find someone else that can be improved.
That's me to a tee! It's a total work in progress and I'm not even close to where I feel I should be from a moral perspective. I am workin' on it, which I'm proud of. It's something to be proud of regardless of where one is on the path...as long as they're on it!

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#90 of 313 Old 07-14-2004, 05:02 PM
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Yes, I use air conditioning. I lived most of my adult life without it and have been miserable in this humid climate.

I keep it at 74 but I keep the heat set at 65 in the winter.

I consider air more important than heat in winter because I feel the heat (more accurately humidity) much more acutely than the cold.

I have relatively few clothes, few possessions but I want what I have to be of good quality.

I tend to shop and eat more like a European than an American.

Debra Baker
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