Every time I enter a big grocery store I think of my late best friend Caroline. I walk in, look around and reflect on her philosophy; we Americans have way to many choices. Caroline never shopped in big stores, she was forever dragging me to small co-ops and thrift store. Her favorite store was a funky organic grocery store where we could always count on local produce and bulk staples. She limited her choices to used cloths and a small variety of foods and sundries. She taught me that we can always get what we want even as we limit what it was we want.
She did this after coming back from India, having lived there for 3 years. She said coming back to America was a total culture shock she just never got over, and for her, big grocery stores stood for American gluttony. I don’t necessarily agree with her, but the lessons she taught me about the choices we make have stayed with me. I still shop at thrift stores, especially when I am looking for a piece of furniture. I would rather re-use before I buy new. This is one choice I make consciously.
Many of us don’t think about the choices we make. Most of us make decisions over time and then stick with our choices. Can you imagine how overwhelming it would be if we had to decide which brand of laundry soap, bread, salad dressing etc , every time we shopped? I bet many of us would become more like Caroline, and limit our choices or go nuts. When we do have to make decisions we do so after careful research and talking to others. It takes time, but we do so because we want the best product for our hard earned money.
Besides making choices about products, we can choose to take a stand. This is harder, especially with what is going on right now. What can we, the small consumer do? Where do we start?
I think about this a lot, over the years I have taken many stands on social issues but lately I have been frustrated with what I can actually do. It seems every time I turn on the news I am bombarded things that make me mad but I am not sure what to do with my anger. This weekend though, things changed. I found an issue I could chose to take a stand on. This is why, instead of blogging over the weekend , I spent a lot of time writing e-mails, calling 800 numbers, tweeting and signing petitions. This issue? Rush Limbaugh’s decision to call a young college student, who testified in front of a Senate hearing, a slut and prostitute. He crossed the line with these words and the twisting of the issue he was talking about. I may not totally agree with the issue of employer paid birth control, but there is no excuse for what he did.
It is because we do have so many products to choose from that it was easy to take a stand. I contacted the companies who advertised with the leader of the Dittoheads, to let them know I was choosing to boycott their products unless they pulled their ads from his show. I got flowers from Pro-Flowers for Valentine’s Day, so I was able to point to that order and tell the company it would be my last . I left a polite but firm message on Mission Pharmcal, the makers of Citracal, that I would find my calcium supplement in different form until they pulled their ads and reminded Autozone there are plenty of other stores women could shop in for their car part needs (yes, women do buy car parts). I sent a tweet to E-Harmony, not that I use their service, but come on, a dating site is remaining quite on this issue?
Many, many others have taken the same stand; as of this afternoon 12 advertisers have pulled their ads and two stations have pulled his show from their lineup. Mission Pharmcal has issued a statement on their website that they have not advertized on his show in years, I bet they won’t in the future either! This has shown me that sometimes, when we chose to take a stand it works, and that sometimes we have to think about which products or services we buy. Sometimes our choices should include the word NO!
If you would like to take a stand on this issue I am providing a link to a great blog, Freesia Lane. This blogger has taken the time to give out numbers and contact names and I thank her for it.