Some may call me naive, but when I go bargain shopping I never think about who’s making the product or where it’s coming from, I’m just excited to be getting such a fabulous deal. The truth is that while I have my cheap stores that I frequent, I also try to find bargains at better stores. What I’ve come to realize though is that other than the really high end expensive stuff, most of the stores I frequent are involved in producing clothes that violate international human rights and working conditions. After reading an article on Twitter on how to increase your visibility I decided to start posting some interesting articles. I typed in “bargain shopping” and found an expose on MSNBC of working conditions in Bangladesh. What I read had me in tears over the conditions that these people are forced to live in.
What amazed me was that these people don’t realize how little they’re being paid in comparison to “how much” the product is being sold for here; and how many Americans just don’t care in their pursuit of me. As one Rabbi I know puts it the I-Pod generation, emphasis on I. I love a bargain and I don’t intend to stop looking for them, but I do think that as a human being it is extremely important to know how our actions in this global marketplace affect others. Two summers ago I took a class on International business. It was my first foray into learning about the global economy. With ever increasing technology our economy becomes more and more international and we encounter many more ethical dilemmas. We as consumers therefore must be educated. The piece asks consumers if they would pay 25-50 cents more for a pair of pants marked $12.84. I know I would since I’d still be getting a bargain, and I think most people I know would. Especially if they knew that they could allow a worker in a foreign country to eat more than just rice and lentils. Maybe I’m wrong but all these people voting for Barack Obama-a symbol of change-should be aware that if we want change we need to extend that beyond our own needs and realize that by bettering the world we better our lives as well.
To read this piece go to http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/8243331/
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To paraphrase a great bargain outlet-Syms “An educated consumer is our best customer”.