These are human beings goddamnit, their lives have value!
I’m most likely preaching to the choir and hope the my voice can add to the thousands literally starving for change here in the first world of the United States, and push the issue of labor rights just a bit further. Lets take a look at today’s Huffington Post Black Friday reports. Seriously go take a look I’ll wait… … … … So are you mad or disgusted yet? I hope so. There is a time for anger, righteous anger. That time is now.
Personally I have seen both sides. I worked those way before pre-dawn hours at a big box store for many years. And been a witness to appalling customer behavior, intentional stock shortages and staff pushed beyond levels of decency by management. It would easy to point the blame at retailers like Wal-Mart and say. “You’re an evil corporation that is ruining people’s lives and depriving your employees of a decent standard of living.” And why this is generally true. It’s much harder to stand in front of that dressing room mirror and say “My unconscious consumption is ruining people’s lives and depriving people around the world including Americans a decent standard of living.”
If Americans were more conscious about where and how their money was spent the tide of violence and aggression that has become the day after Thanksgiving could then and only then be stemmed. Private corporations are more democratic than we give them credit for. Your wallet casts a vote every time you exchange currency for goods and the cash register is the ballot box. Every time you purchase a product from a retailer or manufacturer that mistreats its employees you are showing your explicit approval of that companies practices and give them the incentive and capital to not only continue but to expand their immoral practices.
I know its hard not to do this. Most of us work shit jobs that pay shit wages so in return the only places we can shop are places that treat people like shit. It’s a circle that is quickly destroying our nations middle class. I don’t have all the answers on how to break this cycle but I know where we can start. Buy less things for a start. By doing this you can save money. So when it is time to make that purchase of something you need you can spend the extra money to buy something of quality and if possible buy something made in America. We didnt get to this sorry state overnight so it’s going to take time to get us out of it. The only ones with the power to fix this is us, the consumer. The American worker and our very way of life is depending on us.
Look, I’m no hermit. To quote the Dennis Leary song Asshole “I like football and porno and books about war” I like fatty foods and I don’t drive a hybrid and I don’t buy organic. Everyone has their cross to bear. Mine is video games. It’s hard for me to not pull the trigger on the newest murder simulator released every other week. But I have gotten to the point that before I buy that new game I’ll take a look at my shelf and on my computer hard drive and see all the games that have that have gone unfinished and come to the realization that whatever new virtual world that a company is pushing on me at the time is not going to enhance my experience in my actual physical reality. I imagine it’s like kicking an addiction. I still have the trigger to buy new games but I don’t follow through. Your burden might be shoes, clothes or electronics. But make no mistake by consuming these cheap poorly made goods you are consuming the very heart and soul of America.
Before you buy slow down. Think, “Do I need this?” and “what is the real cost of this item in human capital. Am I contributing to suffering or contributing to a living for another human being or a fellow American?”If you do what you know is right with your hard-earned dollars then you will change your life and others for the better.