Target has a "homeschool aisle" - Mothering Forums

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Old 01-19-2006, 02:55 PM - Thread Starter
 
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http://www.mothering.com/discussions...d.php?t=398657

I tripped out. I couldn't believe what I saw. Truly.
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Old 01-19-2006, 02:58 PM
 
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they are also carrying Seventh Generation products in select stores and next year hopefully in all stores. Kudos to them!!
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Old 01-19-2006, 03:13 PM
 
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Cool! I really like Target.
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Old 01-19-2006, 05:06 PM
 
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AWESOME!!! Thanks for pointing this out!!!

Susan
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Old 01-19-2006, 07:31 PM
 
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They have some great Organic fruit leather at my local Target, too.

Ulrike, mom to:
Roman (3/98), Evalina (3/00), Nadia (3/03), and Kira (11/07)
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Old 01-19-2006, 10:27 PM
 
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Eeek. Not to put a damper on the love for Target but I thought you should know that they got a "D+" on a report card of box stores that buy from companies that use slave labor. This has been talked about either on "talk amongst ourselves" or the "Activism" site. Just thought you should know this especially since we all have kids ourselves.

http://www.coopamerica.org/programs/.../scorecard.cfm
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Old 01-20-2006, 01:44 AM
 
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In what way is that a "homeschool" aisle?
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Old 01-20-2006, 05:17 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Assuming that you're not being snarky, I will answer by saying that several schools of thought about educating very young children include heavy doses of practical life play, dramatic play, analytical skills and scientific exploration, and creative pursuits such as knitting, painting, beading etc.

If you visit this particular aisle, perhaps you will have a better grasp on the volume of actual quality that I saw there. I couldn't believe it, truly. A hugely mainstream store like that now has cooperative games like River Crossing and Blokus; science kits that heretofore I could order only online or purchase at the educator's store a city away from us; Montessori-quality practical life equipment and Waldorf-suitable dolls and art supplies; this is what led me to call it "the homeschool aisle."
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Old 01-20-2006, 07:59 AM
 
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We hadn't been to Target in a while, but DS got a gift card for Christmas, so we visited it last week. I did see they have a bunch of natural wood and other kinds of toys we had only found in our local toy store.

My issue with it is that I can get the same toy from my local toy store, at the same price, and it doesn't have a ton of packaging on it, plus I am supporting a local business owner. We can also get science kits, etc. from our local school supply store.

BUT, if you live in a place without an independent toy store, it is great to have such a good selection of good toys and games now. Yay for them!

Related, Sam's Club now carries organic cotton clothing. All these big retailers are following the consumer trends well!

mama to DS 9 and DD 5 and
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Old 01-20-2006, 02:04 PM
 
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I live in a small town in Northern CA and I've noticed that a lot of local businesses shut down when Target moved in. There was also a protest in front of the store right before Arnold Swarzennegger's expensive "special election" because Target contributes so much money to the governator's campaign fund.

Hopefully a more politically astute member has a link; if not, I'll have to come back when I have more time to google.

Anyway, I don't shop there or allow my children to buy so much as a pack of gum from that store.

I understand that in some small towns in the rural Midwestern US, there really aren't any alternatives other than WalMart. This makes me sad.
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Old 01-20-2006, 02:27 PM
 
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The reality of life is that super stores like Target are here to stay. Their hiring and employee practices, from what I understand, are more favorable than many other companies and are much better than WalMart in that regard. They are not going anywhere. I support local business when I can (heck, I'm a WAHM, I know that game!) but the reality for most people--and let's not even talk about people who don't have choices in that regard--is that they are going to pick a place like Target to save money and time.

The point I think the OP was trying to make is that mainstream culture (Target) has turned a corner on the toy market. Instead of mainly junk toys, they are taking the leap into quality. They are the first major retailer to do this on this level and it's AMAZING. It's inspiring. It makes me think something is working at the top levels. It makes me think change is afoot. And that is exciting.

And the post questioning what made it a homeschool aisle made me laugh. Isn't every aisle a homeschool aisle if you follow the "life has all the lessons we need" school of thought? Even on the crap junk aisle, I see homeschool lessons. I see a study of economics and work ethics, of quality vs. quantity, of budgeting, etc.

That post made me a little defensive.

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Old 01-20-2006, 08:15 PM
 
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Originally Posted by indiegirl
The reality of life is that super stores like Target are here to stay. Their hiring and employee practices, from what I understand, are more favorable than many other companies and are much better than WalMart in that regard.
Jesse
I thought long and hard about posting the fact that Target stores are not much better than walmart because I was afraid of making waves and then I thought, well, if I don't speak out then I'm just as bad as Target. The beauty of this site is to pass on and share information so that as mothers we can make the world a better place for children and not just our own.

I was mentioning slave labor. Not hiring and employee practices. Whether they are here to stay or not it's still wrong. And Target is only just slightly better than walmart. That's not saying much.

As a mother and a with a great love for children and all life, I just wanted to pass that on. Going from cheap plastic to quality wood is a good thing but if the practices are the same (i.e., little kids working in sweatshops), it takes the sweetness out of it.
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Old 01-20-2006, 08:24 PM
 
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We were just there this afternoon and I loved the new aisle! My mom thought the toys were rather cool and loved the little play wooden kitchen. I would love to be able to afford that and the pots and pans and food ... so much fun!

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Old 01-20-2006, 10:18 PM
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I was there just today and wholeheartedly agree: AMAZING.

Target, for those of us who live in MN, is a local business. My sis works for corporate, friends work for the retail store. It is a wonderful company on so many levels.

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And Target is only just slightly better than walmart. That's not saying much.
I was unable to find the Washington Post article alleging the employee abuse from those particular vendors. If anyone can locate that article, please pass along.

Otherwise, I strongly disagree that Target is only slightly better than Wal*mart. Forbes named Target the most philanthropic company in the nation last year. The money you spend at Target is put back into your community.
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Old 01-20-2006, 10:31 PM
 
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Originally Posted by simple living mama
I thought long and hard about posting the fact that Target stores are not much better than walmart because I was afraid of making waves and then I thought, well, if I don't speak out then I'm just as bad as Target. The beauty of this site is to pass on and share information so that as mothers we can make the world a better place for children and not just our own.
I think politely posting information the way you did is important. Once we have a full range of information, we can make our own informed decisions; but it would be a shame to not have all the input everyone has to give. Slavery is a very real and huge international issue - and there's all too little news about it. Here's an older article about it, and the problem has grown since: Child labour. And here's one that makes suggestions about what we can do to improve conditions: toys article in Social Action site.

Funny this conversation has come up, because just the other day I was thinking about how we're now surrounded by inexpensive things made in other countries, and how that's going to affect our own economy - but add the issue of slavery and child labor to it and it really gets to be a complex issue... - Lillian





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Old 01-20-2006, 11:33 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I think it is both impolite and non relevant, frankly. I did follow the link; and using 4 year old information, which has almost certainly been corrected, to hijack a thread in a homeschool forum is just rude.

Slavery is an extremely important issue, of course it is. But the products we are discussing-- or ATTEMPTING to discuss-- are the same ones we have been purchasing from other online retailers for some time.

Quote:
The beauty of this site is to pass on and share information so that as mothers we can make the world a better place for children and not just our own.
There are many supported forums for discussing your politics, activism and causes. This forum is for our discussions about homeschooling our children. I am taken aback by your tacit statement that if I choose to disagree with your assessment of and continue to shop at Target, that I am somehow making the world a worse place. This is your opinion.
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Old 01-20-2006, 11:49 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Wolfmeis
Assuming that you're not being snarky, I will answer by saying that several schools of thought about educating very young children include heavy doses of practical life play, dramatic play, analytical skills and scientific exploration, and creative pursuits such as knitting, painting, beading etc.

If you visit this particular aisle, perhaps you will have a better grasp on the volume of actual quality that I saw there. I couldn't believe it, truly. A hugely mainstream store like that now has cooperative games like River Crossing and Blokus; science kits that heretofore I could order only online or purchase at the educator's store a city away from us; Montessori-quality practical life equipment and Waldorf-suitable dolls and art supplies; this is what led me to call it "the homeschool aisle."
Nope, I wasn't being snarky. Our local Target's new wooden toys aisle is fairly small, only has some wooden toys (limited selection, all made in China) and nothing I would consider homeschool stuff, didn't see any Waldorf-suitable dolls, for instance and no science kits. We are in a smaller city with only one Target. We have a number of much better local toy and teacher stores in our area (plus a Learning Express, which I hope is ethically better than Target) and though it's interesting to see that wooden toys are becoming very mainstream and popular, I certainly hope that new aisle does not impact the business of those smaller mom & pop type businesses.
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Old 01-21-2006, 01:00 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by RiverSky
Nope, I wasn't being snarky. Our local Target's new wooden toys aisle is fairly small, only has some wooden toys (limited selection, all made in China) and nothing I would consider homeschool stuff, didn't see any Waldorf-suitable dolls, for instance and no science kits. We are in a smaller city with only one Target. We have a number of much better local toy and teacher stores in our area (plus a Learning Express, which I hope is ethically better than Target) and though it's interesting to see that wooden toys are becoming very mainstream and popular, I certainly hope that new aisle does not impact the business of those smaller mom & pop type businesses.
Your target probably carries our Target's former selection. I guess one of the reasons I am so darn tootin excited about this is that I moved from SC to a very urban area in Washington State, and I can't find here the selection of educational supplies I found back home. It's driving me batty.

This was my former, completely local ed supply store: http://www.the-learning-center.com/

Were I still there, I'd still be pleased to see the new aisle at Target, but it wouldn't have me flipping out.
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Old 01-21-2006, 02:30 AM
 
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Just went to Target, and the one we have didn't even know what I was talking about. I guess the homeschool isle is only in certain Targets.
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Old 01-21-2006, 10:04 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Wolfmeis
I am taken aback by your tacit statement that if I choose to disagree with your assessment of and continue to shop at Target, that I am somehow making the world a worse place. This is your opinion.
Well, taking it a step farther (and by no means trying to hijack, just pointing out), if you also might want to shop at Hecht's, Strawbridge, Lord & Taylor, Filene's, Marshall Fields, Foley's, Kaufmann's, Meier & Frank, Robinson-May, Macy's, Bloomingdale's, Sears, or JCPenney, you are also making the world a worse place because, with the exception of of Sears and JCPenney, the other department stores are owned by May or Federated, which merged last year. So, yes, I'm sorry, department stores of any bent are out and you should have any wedding/formalwear custom made because May also owns David's Bridal, After Hours and Priscilla of Boston. Well, ok, you can shop at Nordstrom. (Of course, the majority of these stores are listed as purchasing garments made in now-closed factories... I wonder where their current inventory is made?)

And, yes, I absolutely will be on the lookout for the improvements at Target. I DO vote with my wallet. Target is responsive to "we're very happy, but you could do better". They're also clean and pay/treat their employees decently and do not appear to be trying to take over every available piece of land in the US. I think "mainstreaming" quality, meaningful toys is a good thing. Perhaps the other big toy chains will take notice and devote part of their Barbie aisle to something more worthwhile. Alas, I won't hold my breath, since Zany-Brainy actually felt the need to add Barbie, Bratz and other horrible things before finally going out of business... I've wondered if they would still BE in business if they'd kept their original focus. I know I stopped going in, even to look around, after the first time the blinding-pink aisle appeared.

This does not mean I will be taking my business from my tiny, not-so-local, local toy store. Shopping at an honest-to-goodness toystore is a different experience than shopping in a "megamart". If I'm taking my kids to buy toys or if I go for gifts, I'm definitely going there. But, when I go to Target, it will be nice to know that there is something to look at besides the mountains of plastic crap and, perhaps, find and pick up something.

Thanks for the heads-up. I usually go in with a very specific list of things I need and don't spend much time wandering (and try to avoid the toy area, if the children are with me).
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Old 01-21-2006, 02:01 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Wolfmeis
I think it is both impolite and non relevant, frankly. I did follow the link; and using 4 year old information, which has almost certainly been corrected, to hijack a thread in a homeschool forum is just rude.

Slavery is an extremely important issue, of course it is. But the products we are discussing-- or ATTEMPTING to discuss-- are the same ones we have been purchasing from other online retailers for some time.



There are many supported forums for discussing your politics, activism and causes. This forum is for our discussions about homeschooling our children. I am taken aback by your tacit statement that if I choose to disagree with your assessment of and continue to shop at Target, that I am somehow making the world a worse place. This is your opinion.
Wolfmeis, no one was trying to be rude just informative. You're right, there are other forums to discuss this and had I known you would take this so personally as an attack on you then I would of.

The way I've always looked at this site is homeschooling our children which means homeschooling ourselves. I never want to shut down to learning new things even the hard ones. We then go on to pass that new learning to our children. So I have to say it's a fantastic place to bring it up. Now saying this, and seeing the way you reacted, Im not so sure.

Your hard and strong words are a clear signal to me to stay the f*** off your posts which I will respect. So I will kindly leave but I will say that I invite this sort of discussion here on the homeschooling site because I see it as a good thing on so many levels.
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Old 01-21-2006, 02:13 PM
 
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It's all fine and good that all you mama's are super-psyched that wal-mart, er target, is now marketing, er, catering to the needs of "enlightened" mama's that cherish wood toys and the benefits for their kids.

but HELLOOOOOO...This is just pure marketing and you all are falling for it! I would too if I allowed myslef to even walk into a Target.

First: These toys are made in China. Probably by little kids themselves only they don't get to play...

Second: Do you know (or care) what kind of wood these toys are made of????? Form sustainable forests? I tend to think not!

Third: Yeah, yeah Target has "cleaned" up their act with employee practices and offers seventh gen stuff BUT THEY STILL GIVE GOBS AND GOBS OF CASH TO THE FREAKIN' REPUBLICANS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! HELLOOOOO!!!!! WAKE UP AND SMELL THE MARKETING PLOY!!!!!!!!!!!!

I guess if they sell the stuff you like then it makes everything ok...but don't kid yourself...you've just become their "Target"
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Old 01-21-2006, 02:39 PM
 
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Originally Posted by irishtwins
First: These toys are made in China. Probably by little kids themselves only they don't get to play...

Second: Do you know (or care) what kind of wood these toys are made of????? Form sustainable forests? I tend to think not!

I thought the poster was saying she found toys that had been previously bought on-line at Target. Maybe I'm reading it wrong, but wouldn't those be of a familiar brand name and not made by slave labor Etc?

The rest of your post was too rude to even comment on.
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Old 01-21-2006, 02:39 PM
 
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I do think it is important to note that these toys are the SAME ones we buy elsewhere.
The products are NOT the issue.
They are Maxim, Schleich, Melissa & Doug, etc

I do try to choose wisely about WHERE I spend my money and what I spend it on.
I am sad that Schleich, although a German company with HIGH quality toys, has everything made in China.
It does bug me. But they are the same products whether I buy them at Target or a different store.

Target bugs me. Yes. I admit it.
The ONLY local owned toy shop recently closed.

I dunno.
We don't shop there on a regular basis. We go for specific items.
But yes, I am more likely to go there now to see what toys they have when birthdays roll around or when I need some manipulatives for schoolwork.
marketing or not, there is a huge benefit to being able to walk in a store and buy what you need rather than having to order it a month in advance and have to go to the PO to pick it up.

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Old 01-21-2006, 02:54 PM
 
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I was saying earlier that the Schleich products (thanks for reminding me of the name) ARE the same products, which is nice, but it frustrates me that when small companies sell products at large retailers, they are forced by the retailers to package their items in boxes. At our local store, you can get Schleich without a box. At Target, they have been boxed, and that to me is just a waste.

If I didn't have a small toystore, I would welcome the Schleich products. But since I do, I am more inclined to get them at the local independent toystore.

When I saw the "homeschool" aisle in Target, I thought, Oh, Cool! But then I remembered why I didn't usually shop at Target, and why should I buy something there when it is available at a store I support more. I do think these comments are relevant to the original post, because that is exactly what I thought. At first.

I guess each of us has a different hot-issue "button" regarding products.

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Old 01-21-2006, 03:22 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by supervee
At our local store, you can get Schleich without a box. At Target, they have been boxed, and that to me is just a waste.
Now, that would be cool!
We ordered them online without having seen them first--and everything came in boxes.
I would LOVE to find a store that had toys like these out where we could see and touch them before buying them.

Actually at this point, I would love to see ANY toy stores around here.
Our choices are now: Toys R Us (where we will not go--dh worked for them for a while.....), Kay-B, and Target. I don't count Walmart as an option for us...but I guess they have toys there as well.

We do shop online a lot (a whole lot)

But there are times when I just have to choose the lesser of the local evils

You know, that is actually an interesting question.
As homeschoolers, do you find yourself buying more online or more local?

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Old 01-21-2006, 03:29 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by simple living mama
The way I've always looked at this site is homeschooling our children which means homeschooling ourselves. I never want to shut down to learning new things even the hard ones. We then go on to pass that new learning to our children. So I have to say it's a fantastic place to bring it up. Now saying this, and seeing the way you reacted, Im not so sure.

Your hard and strong words are a clear signal to me to stay the f*** off your posts which I will respect. So I will kindly leave but I will say that I invite this sort of discussion here on the homeschooling site because I see it as a good thing on so many levels.

I don't want you to necessarily keep your self the f*** off my posts. I disagree firmly with you about the Target issue, and I thought it was tangent to my post.

I am not shut down to learning new things, as it is a constant process in our home as I am sure it is in yours. I guess it is the perceived assumption that I need to be enlightened. I do read, I do watch and I think of myself as aware; and as I mentioned previously, MDC certainly gives us the opportunity to read on these issues everywhere else. You are so not alone on this site as a whole. And frankly, I don't think you were attacking me. You got quoted, but for me it wasn't about you, just the words. You can read back up the post and see you certainly weren't the rude one.

This hasn't happened to me personally before, but I have seen it time and again.

One poster could state that the sky is a lovely shade of purple, isn't it glorious? She'll get two responses that "yes we saw it, and it made us want to sing!" and then she'll be nuked by five or so more that she shouldn't like the purple sky because clearly it is a sign of the reduction in the ozone layer! OP MUST be a raging Republican, or just plain stupid! Maybe she's even a troll! OR A MAN!!!!!

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Old 01-21-2006, 03:33 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by supervee
I was saying earlier that the Schleich products (thanks for reminding me of the name) ARE the same products, which is nice, but it frustrates me that when small companies sell products at large retailers, they are forced by the retailers to package their items in boxes. At our local store, you can get Schleich without a box. At Target, they have been boxed, and that to me is just a waste.

I guess each of us has a different hot-issue "button" regarding products.

Actually that is one of mine

I would have thought that a big box like Target would have the same set up from store to store. Did we just get the boss one??????? Our scheich animals, catupults, dragons and individual knights aren't in boxes!!! They are in this large bin, like the plexiglass layered ones bulk food comes in. The packages (which they DO Have!) are for the "sets" like 2 knights and a horse together. All yours are in boxes? That's crazy!
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Old 01-21-2006, 03:41 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by Unreal

But there are times when I just have to choose the lesser of the local evils

You know, that is actually an interesting question.
As homeschoolers, do you find yourself buying more online or more local?

Online. And that is why I am giggling. Damned if I do, damned if I don't!

ITA about the packaging thing. I recycle and I have had so much more STUFF going out my door since I moved here than I ever did when I could go into my beloved learning center. I have to buy my stuff online, whether off ebay or from direct suppliers. There is a nice educational store in DT Tacoma, but frankly it's a pretty big deal to get the three kids and myself down there when they are open.
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Old 01-21-2006, 03:43 PM
 
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I am sorry you felt my post was rude, but come on!

Is it b/c what I said had some ring of truth to it?

You have to understand that Madison Avenue is catching on to us. They are clearly getting the fact that we value certain kinds of toys and their benefits for our kids. They know that we want cleaning products that don't contain harmful chemicals, etc. I know this b/c I have a close family member that works for a giant marketing firm in NYC. This is what he does...tries to find the consumers and maipulate what and where they buy.

I know that Melissa and Doug toys are now all made in china...that's why I stopped buying them.

I feel that I really have very little choice in learning products and toys for my kids that do not comepletly F*** over the earth. It's very upsetting.

At this point I am willing to just buy a couple of products a year that I can afford made by companies that share the same values as me. And I am unhappily settling for collecting used, stupid, plastic toys that will be hanging around on this planet long after we are all gone!!

This is all I can really do!

I will not give up my values just b/c Target is trying to market to the "smarter" consumer making cheap, rainforest harvested, wood toys just so I can keep up with "waldorf" Joneses...KWIM?

All I am saying is to think about what you buy and where you buy and what you are actually saying with your almighty dollar.
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