A few days back I was reading a blog post that one of my favorite bloggers wrote. The blog is High Heels in the Wilderness and the blog is written by Susan Burpee. Susan is a Canadian who writes beautifully. That’s why I like her blog. She’s no BS. She tells a story and tells it very well. She’s not boring. She’s not pretentious. She’s just really nice and that niceness comes across in her blog.
Anyway, the post is Is It Possible to Be An Ethical Shopper. After reading the post, and the links she added within the post and which I read, it got me to thinking.
Thinking about how ethical I’m not—as far as shopping goes. Susan is way more ethical than I am.
Ehhhh. I may not be an ethical shopper, but perhaps if the sustainable clothing made by “ethical” companies brought their price points down, maybe more of us would be ABLE to be more ethical in our consumerism.
Allow me to give you my view on this…
When I lived in Manhattan, oftentimes I passed the School for Ethical Culture. The school always intrigued me because I thought to myself “Who the hell needs to go to school to be taught ethical behavior or ethical culture?
Honestly, I used to really think–“Why is there a school for Ethical Culture”?Being ethical and ethics have always interested me. I looked up a couple of “proper” meanings of the word and got …… involving or expressing moral approval or disapproval ethical judgments, as well as …conforming to accepted standards of conduct ethical behavior.
Now, in my simple-minded way, to be ethical is to do the right thing. Am I being kind? Am I being a decent person? Am I trying to be a better person? Am I making an effort to be socially aware? Do I have a good work ethic?
Yes. And in my simple and ethical way, I’m also polite–but like Ed Helms, don’t test my politeness!
Ethics is just a part of one’s value system. As a mother, I may not have ever been perfect and boy I have more faults than the Sierra Madre mountain range. But, I taught my children values and meshed in with the values are ethics. My three kids have stellar work ethics, they are ridiculously socially aware, they all volunteer and exhibit far better ethical behavior than I do.
Well, we are the way we are because of our values and ethics!
Be that as it may, I am very particular about my work ethic. When I was working, my ethics were excellent. I did the job and followed through to completion. I stayed to finish a task. Oftentimes I didn’t take a lunch break, I arrived early every day and did my best to stay out of office politics.
And these days ethics in business is practically an oxymoron!
But back to everyday ethics. Before throwing out any old clothing, I will give those clothes the once over and wash and iron them before taking them to the Goodwill for resale. I would say that’s trying to be an ethical person.
Surprisingly, my cosmetics and skincare shopping are more ethical than I imagined. I was actually pretty happy to find that many of the items we put on our faces are made here and in Canada!
I was happy to see that Vivant Skincare and….
…Skinactives are made in the USA. You can see that I use this a lot by the shape of the jar.
A great Canadian import..
As is The Ordinary’s products!
At $8.00, Hard Candy Primers, which are made in The States, are an excellent value and buy..
Praise be to God. Fenty’s Trophy Wife is made in Canada!
Now this is interesting, the photofocus foundation from Wet n Wild is made in the USA, but filled in Mexico!
My favorite eyeshadow palette from Mally is made in China–but the quality is great!
Urban Decay’s Naked 2 Palette. Made in USA, assembled in the Dominican Republic and the brush that is included is made in China. In my ethical behavior, I no longer purchase products from Urban Decay simply because the company is NOT ageing friendly. I received the most patronizing email from them and will never again buy anything from this company. I feel they are not ethical in their recognition and respect of older women.
But shopping for clothing is where my ethics change. Granted. I will only purchase my sandals from Rondini in France. This is more about brand loyalty than my ethics. I love the fact that the sandals are custom fit and made on the premises, rather than the mass-produced kind of many designer and not designer brands. For about the same cost as a pair of Tory Burch made in a third-world country sandals, I can have a far superior pair of footwear.
One of the collection of my Rondini sandals. A very ethical family-run company. I’ve been spoiled and even if I can’t make it to France, I can order these.
Same with Repetto ballet flats. I’m extremely brand loyal to these beautiful and comfortable flats that are made in France, even though I should be more in tune with the fact they are sustainable and ethically produced.
And less than Tory Burch flats too. Repetto produces a quality shoe that is ethically made in France.
Regular readers of this blog are well-aware that my favorite clothing store is J. Crew. And a great number of the clothing from J. Crew is made in China. It’s not stopping me from shopping there. The brand fits my style. The brand fits my taste and I can always get a great article of clothing for a very, very purse-friendly and inexpensive sale price. Perhaps the reason the prices can be sold so low during sales is that the clothing is made in China and other countries.
My J. Crew Tippi Sweaters–not made here! Does that mean that every single buyer of J. Crew clothing is an unethical person? Hell no it doesn’t!
I’m also not adverse to fast fashion. (I’ve recently written about my penchant for hi/low fashion). In fact, fast fashion is a godsend for women, both younger and more mature in age, who cannot afford pricier clothing.
A very inexpensive fast-fashion Chanel-inspired jacket. From a fast-fashion mail order site–Shein. And I love this jacket and will wear it with no shame!
These are the women who may be working for a larger corporation that hasn’t given out monetary raises in years because they are so hell-bent on putting money into their upper management’s pockets due to the big tax cuts they will receive. Who’s ethical here?
These are the single mothers—working on a salary that doesn’t afford proper medical care for her or her children. She needs to spend more on food and shelter for her family. Why would a woman in this situation be considered unethical if she isn’t buying sustainable clothing? Perhaps it is the politicians who take the medical care away who are unethical.
Do you remember Carol Burnett’s Charwoman character? She was so human and despite the exaggerated costume, real. And there are millions of women in America who make a living cleaning and are not well-paid. I know this because my Irish grandmother worked as an office cleaner for years and was never paid what she was worth.
Not everyone can afford to be an ethical shopper.
AG Jeans–made in USA, but look, the jeans are also made of imported Fabric and globally sourced components–what is that about? FWIT, I am a fan of AG jeans and only make my purchases at Nordstrom rack when they are on deep discount–it the only way I can afford them. The other two brands are inexpensive and made in China and the quality and fit is excellent! Just sayin’
And another thing. All these articles about why we should be shopping more ethically-hey, in our very own American backyard people are overworked for minimal wages. Businesses are allowed to make staff feel guilty if they don’t work 50, 60 hours a week whilst giving only five to ten vacation days a year. Is that an ethical way to treat employees?
Talk to me about being a more ethical consumer after corporations become more ethical in their practices–especially their ageist practices.
An ethical quality of life is more important to me than the way I shop.
I want to wake up to a completely ethical government and society first and foremost!
I’m sorrynotsorry for my views on this particular subject but I ran across this article from the site Racked: Ethical, Sustainable Brands You Can Really Trust and it got my goat. Now, I don’t know about you, but there is no way I am spending $35 on a pair of drawers to cover my ass and lady parts. Perhaps the brand Anekdot should be more ethical in making a more affordable pair of underpants.
Anekdot has some beautiful underwear but there is no way I’ll spent $35 on underpants–even if they are spun with gold, I’m not spending it!
And please—I know tons of women in our age demographic who adore Eileen Fisher clothing. Sustainable perhaps but I refuse to walk around in those sacks of clothing that cost way too much money. Not now. Not ever. Never! The brand may speak to many women but to me is says “Don’t buy me.”
Eileen Fisher has a huge and loyal fan base. I’m sorry, I am not feeling these clothes. They are baggy, boxy and totally unflattering. I sometimes thing some of these clothing companies are cashing in on”ethical”–is it ethical to make a woman look like a burlap sack?
Ethical brands may cost more—but the majority of folks, especially now, cannot afford to spend $165 on a pair of denim jeans. And many who do put themselves in credit card debt. Is that ethical?
Same with my “hair”. Turns out I’m not a very ethical wig shopper because the wigs I purchase are either made in China or Indonesia.
My hair. China and Indonesia. The hair is a touchy subject…
And I thank the good Lord for online wig vendors like Divatress and Hair to Beauty for keeping the costs of my inexpensive hair down. The ethical thing is that these inexpensive wigs are giving women back their confidence and self-esteem. You just need to know where to buy the goods. Come to me an I’ll tell you where!
And in my most humble opinionated opinion, it’s more ethical to buy my cheap synthetic wigs than to give my business to a mumbo-jumbo company that sells false promises of growing hair through their overpriced treatments, shampoos and conditioners. These companies are completely unethical by taking advantage of the vulnerability of women who still have hope that their hair will grow back more lush and beautiful than it ever was. They use aggressive tactics and harass people to buy the product. I know. I’ve been harassed by these people. They ain’t ethical!
Don’t even get me started on the unethical practices of the people who sell Monat. I’ve been harassed and bullied on social media by more than one of their representatives. I wouldn’t care if this stuff grew ten feet of hair overnight–their unethical treatment of consumers is disgusting!
No. I’m a realist and will not let one of those unethical companies take one cent of mine. I’ll be unethical in my wig shopping instead. And it is because a great number of us women cannot afford to also spend upwards of $500, and into the thousands on wigs.
And even though most of the wig companies that do sell extremely expensive wigs are sustainable and ethical in practices, the average, middle-class and working-class woman cannot afford to spend thousands on wigs. We have no choice but to veer into that naughty territory. But, we can purchase from reputable sellers—and that’s what we do!
Let’s be more ethical in our judgement. Just because someone may like fast fashion, or more affordable clothing or more affordable anything for that matter, doesn’t make them an unethical person.
I truly believe that nobody is unethical on purpose. No. Just. No. The whole process of ethics is a cross between a spider web and a Pandora’s box. But a lot has to do with the Benjamin’s (that’s cool people talk for dollars)!
Consumers don’t try to be unethical in their shopping practical on purpose. It’s the purse strings that speak. So perhaps it’s time for those ethical and sustainable companies to lower their prices on the goods—and we can all be ethical!
Thanks to Sue for allowing me to ping-back her blog. She really is a great writer and if you haven’t read her blog, head on over to the wilderness and have a look-see; but wear your heels. You’ll really like her!!
You know, I’m not the biggest Rolling Stones fan, but this song, You Can’t Always Get What You Want, is one of my favorites of theirs. It’s true. You can’t always get what you want. But if you try sometimes, you’ll get what you need. That pretty much sums up my ethics when it comes to shopping!