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BS: politics and buying stuff

Sam L 25 Feb 04 - 10:58 AM
Chief Chaos 25 Feb 04 - 11:02 AM
Sam L 25 Feb 04 - 12:20 PM
Folkiedave 25 Feb 04 - 12:37 PM
dianavan 25 Feb 04 - 01:24 PM
Don Firth 25 Feb 04 - 01:25 PM
Chief Chaos 25 Feb 04 - 02:34 PM
Metchosin 25 Feb 04 - 03:07 PM
Mark Clark 25 Feb 04 - 04:18 PM
Metchosin 25 Feb 04 - 06:35 PM
Sam L 25 Feb 04 - 06:40 PM
dianavan 25 Feb 04 - 06:46 PM
ranger1 25 Feb 04 - 06:56 PM
GUEST,Ely 25 Feb 04 - 08:45 PM

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Subject: BS: politics and buying stuff
From: Sam L
Date: 25 Feb 04 - 10:58 AM

I read the thread about walmart and couldn't add anything. I feel on both sides of it, but boy, people feel strongly about these things.
Supposedly people can sort one's general politics by how they shop. Conservatives tend to be brand-loyal, and buy more condensed soups. Liberals buy more new instant things, especially noodles.

   I bought this computer through walmart's online store, one of the only places I could find a good straight deal without rebates, bundled stuff I didn't need, and complicated deals where I couldn't see what it cost. If an ad tells me what something costs a month, but not what it costs, the product doesn't exist for me. The reason I don't shop there much is there are five Targets and a hundred other things between here and the nearest walmart.

Where do you draw the line on where you'll buy? Or get a job? If you won't order Domino's because of their political contributions, do you ask the owner of a restaurant what he or she thinks? The cook? The waiter? I'm starting to think you can't buy anything or earn any money to buy anything without indulging in crimes against humanity.

   How do you like to save money, when do you say screw it and buy what you need? I like hitting thrift and consignment stores with my daughter, mainly because you'd have to go to fifty other stores to find the variety. But it isn't fun for my son, because he doesn't care what he wears, so we don't bother and just buy at department stores. My mother-in-law refused to talk more than a minute on a long-distance call, but when she wanted a car, she wanted the hottest thing on wheels, whatever it cost.

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Subject: RE: BS: politics and buying stuff
From: Chief Chaos
Date: 25 Feb 04 - 11:02 AM

Real easy answer on that one. They didn't need to do a study.

The democratic party is the home of the underpriviledged and poor who are going to buy things as cheaply as possible. They are also going to be the ones that buy the instant and microwavable things because they haven't the time to take that business lunch or shmooz over dinner with clients.

Conservatives are buying the brands that they have stock in, thus shoring up their questionable value.

Just my $.02.

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Subject: RE: BS: politics and buying stuff
From: Sam L
Date: 25 Feb 04 - 12:20 PM

Now, really. I have poor conservative friends, and liberal friends who have stock portfolios and give me tips assuming I have money to put here and there. My boss is pretty wealthy, and always makes a big deal about coffee at work, but only had a jar of instant at home when I was there.
   People can take it as a platform, but our contradictions and observations are more interesting to me.

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Subject: RE: BS: politics and buying stuff
From: Folkiedave
Date: 25 Feb 04 - 12:37 PM

Join Martin Carthy and Norma Waterson and boycott Nestle.


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Subject: RE: BS: politics and buying stuff
From: dianavan
Date: 25 Feb 04 - 01:24 PM

Fred: Are you assuming that there are only liberals and conservatives? Sort of like there are only Democrats and Republicans? Isn't this the problem already? No real choice? Both parties controlled by big business?

I will support the local business person over the big business everytime (regardless of their politcal views). Why? Because I like community. Because I think new businesses and young ideas should have an opportunity to blossom.

When given the choice, choose ethically. No Nike, no Nestle, no Walmart, etc. You can invest ethically, too. As we speak, Walmart is being pressured to clean up their act or the funds invested will be withdrawn. We can exert pressure and do by our actions.


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Subject: RE: BS: politics and buying stuff
From: Don Firth
Date: 25 Feb 04 - 01:25 PM

Immediately following the attack on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, George W. Bush said that this could be a blow to the American economy. Therefore, Americans should go shopping.

Don't ya just love the guy?

Don Firth

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Subject: RE: BS: politics and buying stuff
From: Chief Chaos
Date: 25 Feb 04 - 02:34 PM

What he should figure out is that by constantly scaring the American people about possible attacks (with no real known targets) is that he is scaring people away from malls and other large shopping centers.

If you think that I'm full of shit then let me let you in on a secret. The anti-terrorism training that I've had over the years started before 9/11 with a scenario in a large shopping mall.

My first post was tongue in cheek. I also have a portfolio, it doesn't make me Liberal or Conservative.
I try to buy things made in America. It's getting harder to do with each passing day. The thing to remember is that the American worker is also the American consumer. If one is out of work, the other isn't going to be buying much.

I try to buy green as well and if I really believe that a corporation is harming people then I will indeed boycott that corporation. It is getting to the point however, that I will have a lot of money and won't be able to buy anything.

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Subject: RE: BS: politics and buying stuff
From: Metchosin
Date: 25 Feb 04 - 03:07 PM

There are some places and some manufacturers or suppliers where I will not shop for a myriad of reasons and some of them might be judged by others to be silly. However, as far as our own business is concerned and where we make recommendations to our customers for the purchase their goods and services, we abide by a certain standard of business and expect those we recommend to do also.

Very little of our business choices are based on our politics or the politics of the businesses with which we deal, but are based upon what has been our personal experience in our business, regarding the ethical standards of other's business practices and the quality of their goods. To us, the customer is always right, even if he is behaving, in our opinion, like a complete asshole and if we have made an error, we will eat the cost or work out an equitable solution, equitable always weighted on the side of our customer.

Odd though it may seem to some, the ethical standard practiced by our business and those we deal with and recommend in regard to how the customer is treated is usually reflected in the manner with which the employees are treated as well. Our business still thrives after almost 30 years, so we don't forsee a change in our practices.

There has only been one slight exception that I can recall, regarding who we will recommend, which was based upon something more personal. After witnessing an intoxicated manufacturer physically abuse his wife in a resturaunt one evening and despite the fact that he manufactures a quality product and there has never been any complaint feedback from our customers regarding his service, he is no longer on our recommeded list.

As far as more personal shopping, that has changed considerably over the years, because I have worked at times ludicrously hard and have had the fortune and good luck to now be able to not solely base my purchases on the lowest possible price in order to feed, cloth and house my family. Now when I shop at SallyAnn, it is a considered descision, not one based upon the lack of choice.

If someone cares to or can determine my politics from the above, good for them.

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Subject: RE: BS: politics and buying stuff
From: Mark Clark
Date: 25 Feb 04 - 04:18 PM

I don't think it's true that poor people are generally left-leaning and rich people are more conservative. As mentioned above, a lot of wealthy people are very liberal and I know from experience that a great many poor people are very conservative. It doesn't make a lot sense based strictly on self interest. I tend to think political conviction is generally more closely related to education. Many people who are economically disadvantaged are also poorly educated. Most wealthy liberals are highly educated. Go figure. Rich conservatives are acting intellegently in their own self-interest. Poor conservatives are just stupid. And, as our own pResident has demonstrated, spending a few years in college doesn't necessarily make one educated.

I often play music with people whose political ideas I abhor. I actually have a good time and enjoy playing music with them. I care about them personally and wish them health and happiness. I've tried playing music with people who share my political views but don't necessarily play very well. I've discovered I'd much rather play music with people who can play well.

I often think I should support workers in my own country (US) by buying automobiles made here. The problem is that, compared to Japanese autos, ours aren't really very good. So for more than thirty years I've always bought high quality Japanese cars. I'd buy US products if they could compete in overall value.

I often support boycotts such as those waged by Cesar Chavez and UFW and still try to make purchase decisions based on ethics. We've been avoiding Sams/Walmart for obvious reasons but I really don't want every buying decision I make to be based on politics, that's just way to intense for me.

      - Mark

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Subject: RE: BS: politics and buying stuff
From: Metchosin
Date: 25 Feb 04 - 06:35 PM

Regarding ethical work standards and a living wage. Our youngest daughter recently landed a job at IKEA, she is ecstatic and we are thrilled for her. Most of her employment experiences, in the last few years in Vancouver have been decidedly userous and borderline, if not outright criminal, when it has comes to decent treatment of those that work for you and had left her increasingly despondent regarding her dreams for the future and how to deal with her incurred debt as a student.

There were over 1,200 applications for the job advertised, 90 were selected for the first interview and 8 eventually hired on for the 3 month probationary period. We are not certain how many will be retained after that. Her starting salary is $11.95 /hr Can. rising to $18.00 after 2 years and she got the job based on what she knows not who she knows.

What she has learned from the company so far and from her fellow employees is that very few leave IKEA for elsewhere, there is an incredible company loyalty among employees (which is from a business perspective smart, it is very expensive to hire and train new employees all the time) and the company treats their employees very well indeed. On top of their generous and flexible benefit package, even for part time employees, they will look for housing and find medical services for you, if you do not have the time to do so yourself, due to work and other commitments.

They do not test their employees for alcohol or drugs use, what you do on your own time is your own business as far as they are concerned, but they do expect you to show up for work, on time, clean and sober.

They promote within the company first and will pay 70% of any further outside education or training fee that she may require, to eventually end in the kitchen design department, which is her ultimate goal.

Basically, along with their furniture designs, IKEA also imports it's Swedish employment standards to Canada as well.

Have I shopped there? Many times.

Will I continue to shop there? Yup!

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Subject: RE: BS: politics and buying stuff
From: Sam L
Date: 25 Feb 04 - 06:40 PM

No Dianavan, I didn't mean to assume everyone was left or right, and it's probably true that a false dichotomy is the most common sort of error, failure of imagination, or whatever.

I knew you were kidding Chief Chaos, but many conservatives I know talk harsh, and act pretty decently. They like the manner of it, it seems. I guess I was hoping to hear some less loaded observations, likes, dislikes.

I disagree that the Japanese have moved ahead of U.S. auto manufacturers. They just haven't learned planned obsolescence the way our guys have. I believe Ford Co. invented it. Anyway,it's the only conclusion I can reach, otherwise you'd have to suppose cars were this new-fangled invention they're still working the bugs out of. I don't think so.

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Subject: RE: BS: politics and buying stuff
From: dianavan
Date: 25 Feb 04 - 06:46 PM

Metchosin - Sounds good to me. Obviously, you and your daughter are looking at all the angles. I'm sure you wouldn't be so pleased if she had chosen to work for WalMart. I, too, shop at Ikea but not if I want something to last more than five years. I actually like Ikea for what it has to offer and you're so right about loyalty. In almost any workplace, you can use employee satisfaction as an indicator of good business practices.


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Subject: RE: BS: politics and buying stuff
From: ranger1
Date: 25 Feb 04 - 06:56 PM

I try my best to buy local, and from independant businesses instead of chains, but it's not always easy on my budget. I also can't completely boycott Nestle, as they are the owners of Poland Spring Water. The Maine Deaprtment of Conservation is paid a royalty for every bottle of Poland Spring Water sold, as the well and aquifer are on land owned by the Maine State Park system. This is money that is used for things that the parks would otherwise never be able to afford, like a nature center at one park, or new educational signs in other parks. Upgrades of facilities that are falling apart and no money in the budget to fix them, things like clean water systems and low flow toilets, new roofs for historic sites, money to fund educational positions, etc. Things are never black and white, I'm finding out.

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Subject: RE: BS: politics and buying stuff
From: GUEST,Ely
Date: 25 Feb 04 - 08:45 PM

I bought a Pontiac [Vibe] that's really a Toyota [Matrix/Corolla] and so was assembled in California for a Japanese company (the Pontiac guy gave me a better price). I grew up with Toyotas and, although we don't need to buy them often, we'll buy them again.

All the clothes I can afford are made overseas. I'm hard to fit, anyway, so I'm learning to sew, but the fabric I buy is almost always made overseas, too. My back yard just isn't big enough for a cotton crop . . .

We [my family] tend to drive cars until they drop (150,000 miles is a minimum expectation), wear clothes until they're rags (my dad literally has shirts that are older than I am), I've never been into designer or "logo" clothes and I have no problem buying secondhand. My father worked for a major oil company and had issues with its environmental impact and with the way it treated workers in overseas branches, but he felt he was lucky to still have a job after the market bottomed out in the Eighties. He wasn't an executive; he worked like a mule and didn't get rich, but it let him get a house in a neighborhood that didn't have gang problems and put us through college. He would have preferred to be a teacher but he tried that and couldn't feed us. What was he going to do?

My boss treats me like an indentured servant and I'm looking for something better. I have to base part of the search on ethics or I'll be just as miserable at the next job as I am at this one, but I also have to find something that does right by me financially.

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