Purchasing Power

 

 

 

 

Monday, MLK Day, the kids and I went to the grocery store first thing in the morning and bought some items for a local food pantry. They were having a volunteering event, so we brought the food in and then the kids colored place mats to be used at Cathedral Kitchen in nearby Camden. I had also hoped to bring Aidan to a local screening of “Selma” on Sunday night, but I was too tired.

The weekend was nice; Saturday I did laundry but otherwise relaxed and puttered. I sat down with my garden plan and finally came up with something that should work. Now I just need like 10 more raised beds (!).

20170114_140208

Graph paper is fun.

Saturday night was a surprise party for my BFF. Sunday, I did all the dishes I didn’t do Saturday, plus all the ones from Friday, when I cooked three different things at one time for a school event. And more laundry. Wash a few dishes, run down the cellar and switch the wash, run back up, repeat, repeat, repeat. At night I took the ornaments off the Christmas trees and then folded the laundry — all of it. I didn’t cook Saturday or Sunday night, although Friday night I made tacos with ground beef. And Monday night, I got a little creative with the meager offerings of the fridge and made baby bella mushroom tacos. Roasted the mushrooms in the oven, in olive oil, salt, pepper, and a little lime juice. Served them on soft corn tortillas with cheese and lettuce. Yum. Everyone else had leftover spaghetti. Last night, we had mashed potatoes, corn, chicken nuggets and some leftover chicken with mozzarella, proscuitto, and veggies leftover from lunch at a restaurant with my mom for her birthday.

Tonight, I’m seriously considering Chili’s because it’s a kids-eat-free day.

Yesterday, I sold a coat of mine on a Facebook yard sale, and I got another box of kid clothes out of the basement and set up an eBay listing. I also set up a bank on the kitchen table for the kids to put found change in. I call it the “fence and dog fund.” I haven’t made any runs to Wawa for coffee in forever, so I must be saving money there.

Last week, I went to Whole Foods for the first time in forever. Got some Kiku apples from Pennsylvania that were quite tasty. I also made sweet potato muffins that are quite good — even without the drizzle the recipe calls for.

 

Working through my freezer stores — still have pumpkin, basil and lots of tomatoes. Need to try to make something with them besides gravy. Not really sure how long some of this stuff is good in the freezer. I also, um, still have quite a lot of pickles. I guess my husband didn’t like them as much as I thought. 😦

Sebastian, Gemma and I have been reading “Little House in the Big Woods” at night. They love it! “Can we read your book tonight, Mommy?” It may be my favorite of all the Little House books. It’s so cozy.

***

So I’ve been following the ongoing Twitter wars between the folks boycotting L.L. Bean and the folks condemning the boycott/supporting L.L. Bean. To recap, a member of the Bean family who sits on the company’s board is a Trump supporter and gave his campaign money, and the Grab Your Wallet people picked up on this and added L.L. Bean to their boycott list. Then Trump tweeted saying that people should buy L.L. Bean. (I am possibly oversimplifying and putting events out of order, but that’s the general idea. Google it.)

At first I was kind of excited by this, and I looked up Grab Your Wallet’s list of companies to boycott (generally, companies that sell Trump or Ivanka Trump’s products, and also companies where the owners have donated to Trump). When you feel generally politically powerless, as many non-Republicans do now, the chance to wield economic power is tempting. And I certainly agree with Grab Your Wallet that it’s everybody’s right to use their purchasing power as they see fit. It’s not bullying, as some have claimed.

But boycotts are tricky. Linda Bean is just one member of L.L. Bean’s board. Should the whole company suffer for her actions? Especially if L.L. Bean is generally more ethical than other companies in certain ways.

I am definitely interested in the concept of boycotts. I didn’t eat Chick Fil A for a year back when their owners were being called out for financing anti-gay groups. It’s satisfying to know your money isn’t going to what you consider a bad actor. I’m sure conservative groups got the same satisfaction from boycotting Target over the bathrooms for transgender people issue. Add Twitter into the mix, where you can call out people running the companies by name, and you start to feel more powerful indeed.

But for a boycott to have true power, it’s got to be long-lasting, have a wide base of support, and target some truly nefarious practices. I would argue that there are worse things in the world than contributing money to Trump.

So, I guess I’m still searching for a worthy boycott. (Not like I have oh so much money to withhold.) I definitely am interested in boycotting companies that don’t support reform of the garment industry overseas, or otherwise putting pressure on them, but I need to do more research into that.

Part of me wants capitalism to be a sort of politics-free zone. With retail such as L.L. Bean, there are lots of choices. The liberals can get their boots from Columbia or REI, the conservatives from L.L. Bean, and everyone’s happy, so who cares. And the folks at the companies don’t give a damn who you, the consumer, are, as long as you can pay. Your money is good with them whether you are white, black, gay, straight, liberal, conservative, whatever. But as we’ve seen lately, with services as opposed to goods, it can be a bit different sometimes. We have florists and caterers who don’t want gay people’s money no matter what. We have doctors who won’t provide services to women who have had abortions. Designers don’t want to design Melania’s gown. Something about the slightly more intimate realm of services; things get tricky.  Should people have to provide services to everybody, no matter what? Usually, money is enough of a grease to keep those wheels turning. But when it isn’t, what then? I want to say, no. How can you force people to render services? Go to the gay-friendly florist and screw the one who doesn’t want your business. But what if you’re gay and your car breaks down and the only mechanic in your small town won’t fix it? What if you’re a liberal with a small business and conservative people get wind of your views through Facebook and stop patronizing you? I’m going to quit right here since there’s more to unpack here than I have time for (religious freedom, etc.), but you get the idea.

Something else I’ve been following is Sleeping Giants. This is a group of regular citizens that’s been tweeting screenshots of breitbart.com to companies when their ads appear on the site. The idea is that because of the nature of advertising these days, companies don’t really know where their ads appear. So Sleeping Giants informs them of the Breitbart placement, along with a gentle nudge to block Breitbart from their ad buys (which can be done). Something like 500 or more companies have blocked their ads from appearing on Breitbart as a result.

So this is a little censorious, right? It would seem the ultimate goal is to bring Breitbart down. But I think that ultimately, Breitbart’s freedom of speech is not hurt in this scenario. They can publish whatever they want. It’s a question of who’s going to fund them. Charles Schwab, for example, had ads on the site, and when it was brought to their attention (via a screenshot taken by yours truly), they pulled the ads. I don’t think you can blame Charles Schwab for not wanting to be associated with Breitbart. But there are plenty of advertisers who haven’t responded or have responded that they will not pull their ads. Breitbart is what it is. The screenshots speak for themselves.

Anyway. Some things to think about.

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