“Every Dollar…A Vote”

by Marissa Rubin

I went to a fair trade shop down town the other day called Yobel Market and bought a book that I don’t recommend you purchase.  This “dangerous” book is “the better world Shopping Guide” by Ellis Jones.  It is categorized under environment/current affairs and printed on 100% post-consumer recycled paper, prospectively.  Basically, it is a “user-friendly guide for socially and environmentally responsible consumers.”  It “ranks every product on the shelf from A to F so you can quickly tell the good guys from the bad guys – turning your grocery list into a powerful tool to change the world.”  The product brands are measured in the categories of Human Rights, The Environment, Animal Rights, Community Involvement, and Social Justice.

Yes.  You must buy the book to get the full effect, of course.  Oh right, I told you not to buy it.  Well, maybe you should.  I don’t know, actually.  It really depends on you.  My point is that it will change your entire perspective and quite possibly stir up some anger.

According to this book and it’s 35 sources (including the BBB, CEP, HRC, BE, and others), Kraft foods is listed as being the corporate villain in the condiments category.  They are named as “Top 10 Greenwasher,” have been involved in deletion cover-up, and continue to do business in Burma.

Did you ever wear those light-up shoes as a kid by LA Gear?  They have been named “Sweatshop Laggard,” rated F by the CEP for overall social responsibility, and have no supplier code of conduct for workers.

Oh, how about Microsoft…  The CEP also gave them an “F” for overall social responsibility.  Named “abusive monopoly by U.S. Court.  Paid $46 million to Washington lobbyists.  They refuse disclosure on business.

All according to this book.  I haven’t done any additional research…yet.

In every single category (Coffee, Gas, Pizza, Feminine Products, Pet Care, etc.), there is listed a corporate hero and a corporate villain along with the varying degrees for other brands.  Some hotshots listed are Simple Shoes, Whole Foods, Organic Valley, Sunoco, Clif (excellent reviews), Kettle Chips, and Patagonia.  Of course, most all of the good guys’ products cost a fortune in comparison to the others.

I am a waitress, in school, and trying to be responsible with my spending habits in hopes to invest and save a significant amount…well, a significant amount for myself.  Where do I draw the line…ya know, if every dollar is truly a vote?  I don’t want my hard-earned cash going to companies who are involved in child labor, but can I afford to buy all organic food?  CAN YOU?  I don’t have a solid answer.  If I was raking in the big bucks, sure.  But, that isn’t reality.

I think I’m done with this blog, even though I don’t think I worked out all of my thoughts.  It’s all still very unsettled in my mind.  Sin has done this.  Sin.  Dr. John M. Perkins said, “The theme of justice is an economic issue.”  We live in a corrupt world.  So, another question is, do we let this corruption slide, or do we take a stand where we can?  There are so many other issues of justice to which this question can be applied.  Ok, now I’m finished.  Still not settled, but I must end somewhere.

Oh, guess what?  The very place where I am employed (California Pizza Kitchen) is rated an F.

You can find more information on Ellis Jones’ findings at the better world shopper.

SIDE  NOTE:  Politically speaking, please do not accuse me of being a left-winger.  I am not.  I am not on the right either.