Sunday, September 1

I'm not having a HUGE AMAZING WHOA NELLY Labor Day Sale

I know.... what a downer, right?  

Isn't this the weekend when everyone who owns a business tries to talk you into buying tons and tons of stuff at rock bottom blowout prices? I guess it is now. I'd like to ask you to spare a moment or two to think about Labor Day, not the last weekend at the beach-barbeque on your Monday off-back to school sale Labor Day but the "real" one.

Labor Day celebrations were started as an act of defiance.  Laborers taking a non-paid Monday off listening to speeches and marching for fair wages and safer work conditions.  Here is this country, where we are so rich in so many ways it is easy to forget how many people working in this country still have to go to work on Monday and still probably aren't making a fair wage.  

I went to The World Domination Summit this Summer and heard from many amazing speakers & business owners.  One of the speeches that stuck me the most was Bob Moore from Bob's Red Mill.  He talked about growing an equitable company. A company that pays workers fairly, has them work in a safe environment and has grown on the strength of all of their work.  On his 81st birthday Bob gave away the ownership of his company to his employees. He divided the stock of his now multimillion dollar company up by shares based on how long people had been working for him. He had been doing profit sharing for the company's whole history, even when the profit sharing checks he wrote were 2 figures.

"Put people before profit. Share with those who helped you build it.” - Bob Moore in his speech at WDS.

I'd ask instead of trying to find the cheapest backpack at a big box store this weekend, try to find a local company making things that will last past October and spend your money with them.  

Aurora Shoe Co. hand made in Upstate NY (and my favorite shoes)
It is good for your community and your heart.  The more we spend on things produced with care and high ethical standards the more sustainable those things become.  The downtown of your small town can only stay (or become) vibrant instead of a sprawl of shopping centers that could be picked up and dropped in any part of the country without looking out of place if YOU shop them.

If you don't want to eat food produced with the use of GMOs and chemicals, shop at your local farmer's market, big corporations have way less care for your health than your neighbors do.
Ride your bike to your local bookstore, I know Amazon is SO convenient and Barnes & Noble has a 25% off coupon but someone in your town lovingly picks out the books in their shop, they can probably make actual recommendations based on what you like, as opposed to the person working in the book department of a box store because the guy who normally works in that department called in sick and tomorrow they'll be back in kitchenware.
You know how much you appreciate it when the LYS owner helps decipher a pattern that has had you cursing at you knitting? They'll appreciate you even more if you buy your needles from them instead of waiting for the big sale online.

I think the only way to wrestle the American economy back from the brink of collapse is to buy conscientiously.  We are never going to make the cheapest t-shirts again.  We may be able to make the best, most ethical, produced without the factory workers getting brown lung t-shirts.  Trying to do this does mean having less in number but better made things. I'm certainly not perfect in this (or any!) regard but I'm trying.

Don't let what you consume consume you.


  1. Well said, but you can also buy sustainably from larger vendors ... say, Starbucks. Check them out -- clean water in villages, sustainable farming (sometimes taught), and paying fair wages. Definitely a company who "puts their money where their mouth is." (disclaimer: my daughter works @ Starbucks, but I'm just a customer)

  2. excellent post. thanks for reminding me about the importance of these issues and this day. i love Bob!

  3. Thanks CityMinx & hodge podge and yeah Bob was AMAZING! Tom, I agree not all big companies are bad "citizens" & not all small companies are good ones! I think the key is to make informed decisions.