Tuesday, March 13, 2007

"Not Buying It"--then Resubscribing

From Judith Levine's Not Buying It: My Year Without Shopping:

Anti-tax pundits would have us believe that we taxpayers are bankrolling the fat wages and benefits package of the public-sector worker, while Wal-Mart is carrying its own weight. In fact, by declining to offer its workers insurance or sufficient wages to buy the basics for themselves, Wal-Mart shifts the bill to the state. After all, the cashier gets sick anyway, her children get hungry. When these things happen, she turns to Medicaid or food stamps, and the rest of us subsidize not just the cashier but Wal-Mart itself.

Levine chronicles the insufficient wages and hours of employees, unfair treatments of suppliers, environmental degradation, etc. caused by Wal-Mart and other big box stores including Target. She then quotes her friend Flavio:

When Wal-Mart tells you they are doing this to give the consumer the lowest price, they are using you as an alibi. Every time you shop there, you have to be conscious of that. It's you that makes this possible. It's not the Big Brother watching over you. It's you.

* * *

But this is news I can really embrace (and put my money behind)! How exciting!


Carrie K said...

That was a really fascinating book.

Birdsong said...

I have to agree at least in part with the sentiments; if we didn't keep buying cheap crap, there wouldn't be a market for it. I was proud of the 2 adult kiddos that told me they wouldn't be grocery-shopping at Walmart, but would go to Winco instead because it was worker-owned. I try to keep the second-hand trade going, though not single-handedly, and not for everything. Yarn is one of those things best bought new, along with underwear, wine, chocolate...


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