I understand the idea that "how you spend your money is how you vote on what exists in the world."
I get it.
I also understand that discount stores, like Walmart might be bad places to spend my money because their low prices take jobs away from Americans. This is partly because even though Walmart employs many Americans, discount stores have put so many other American stores out of business (because they fail next to the Walmart model) that America now has fewer jobs.
Actually, I don't really have a big problem with this. It is capitalism at work and competitiveness is what keeps companies working hard and our economy strong. If you are the most popular- you win. Right?
That issue isn't my major concern. I am also not going to go into how Walmart is bad for the environment or about their poor reputation in regards to how they treat their U.S. workers (low-wages, forced overtime, discrimination, etc).
What I have a major problem with is the way they are going about dominating the market through offering their low prices by outsourcing to other countries (mainly China) who do not have fair labor laws. The outsourced workers who produce Walmart products often work long hours, 7 days a week for around $3 a day in hot, deplorable conditions.
So after my delusion was shaken I started wondering if shopping at Walmart and other discount stores was morally wrong. I started asking myself if I just go for the cheapest product or if I find out if the item is child labour-free and workers received a fair wage.
The thing is; however, even though I can afford to do that now- I can pay more for fair wage products- this wasn't always true.
There was a time when Walmart was all we could afford and I think this is the case for a lot of Americans. Walmart helped us survive in the early years of our marriage- especially with kids. Can you fault struggling Americans for shopping there? Even if they aren't struggling as much as the Chinese workers who made the products?
The more I think about it- I think that if I had known then what I know now I would have probably figured out ways to shop their less. I could have used Goodwill more often.
I could have gotten by without some of the things I bought there. I certainly can get by now without shopping there- especially with the plethora of online shopping availability.
According to The Better World Handbook changing where you shop retail is listed as one of the top 10 things to change in your life for a better world.
I won't go into all of the other actions on the top 10 list of changes to make, but I will link you to the page that mentions the top 10 best companies to buy from. Check it out HERE.
You can also search HERE for fair trade products from other countries.
What do you think about shopping at Walmart? Yea or Nay?