Whatcha Buyin’?

I was at the mall just before Easter to pick up my new glasses at LensCrafters. The prescription was very different, so I wanted to walk around a bit to get used to it before I turned my car into a weapon on the road. As I took a few steps, looking at a few signs, I felt the tug. I wanted to shop.

My friend Cyndi and I, who worked at Bamberger’s (now Macy’s) together, used to be Olympic shoppers. We could open and close the mall, all on our day off from jobs where we were around merchandise all day long. I was the queen of bargains. (Cyndi was the queen of quirky, but that’s another story.) I went broke saving money more times than I could count.

When I get near the mall, I am transported back to those days. I may no longer have the stamina for a 12-hour shopping spree, but I can still smell a bargain.

And yet those bargains aren’t really a bargain for anyone, including me. For me, it means less money in my bank account or that I can be generous with and more money spent on one more thing I don’t need in my closet or cabinet. And for the person who manufactured it, that bargain for me likely means pitiful wages for him or her. (How else can those stores afford to sell those “bargains”?)

May 14 is a World Fair Trade Day, a reminder that if I really do need to purchase something, there is a way to do it that at least eliminates the second poor consequence. While the price of the item I need or the gift I wish to purchase might not scream “bargain” like those sale signs at the mall, it will ensure that the worker who made it is paid fairly. That’s priceless.

We’re fortunate enough to live around the corner from Ten Thousand Villages, and in honor of World Fair Trade Day, they’re hosting an “interactive food experience,” called “World Kitchen Saturday.” If it involves food, Les and I are sure to love it! So I hope we’ll be heading over to enjoy the interaction.

If you want to have some fun, the World Fair Trade Day site has some links to events, maybe one in your community.

Oh, and just so you know, as the smell of the bargain hunt filled my nostrils, I ran for the doors. Better to brave the roads with the new glasses than to bag an item I just didn’t need.


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