Thursday, March 30, 2006

Going shopping, buying morally.

Wednesday night is mine and my girlfriends shopping night. It's also a time when recently I have been morally challenged.

It first occurred to me when I went to pick up the bananas but the ones I usually get weren't there. I immediately looked to my right and there were some identical looking banana's with a different label, they were over 50% more expensive than the ones I usually get. With a closer inspection I realized that they were fair trade banana's (don't know if you get fairtrade or if they are called something else in the US). Now, I was faced with a dilemma, from now on do I buy the cheap banana's where I know third world farmers have been ripped off or do I buy the other more expensive banana's where I know the farmers and third world companies got a fair deal.

So I moved on with my shopping with the thought in my mind "how many of the products that I am buying are ripping people off, how much more expensive would it be to buy morally?"

So that was my challenge last night. We went around the shop pricing up a normal weekly shop, then went around again and priced up the morally correct option.

A few examples of the sort of things I was looking for:
  • Banana's - fairtrade banana's
  • Chocolate - fairtrade chocolate
  • Eggs - freerange eggs
  • Wines + Beer - fairtrade equivalent
The price difference is considerable!

It worked out to be £42.95 for the normal shop, shopping morally cost £64.82, that's a 51% increase! In our normal shop we already bought free range eggs and some fairtrade products.

Now in a modern world where we have become accustomed to these cheap prices will we be able to shop morally, is it right to shop morally or is it ok to buy food where I know the farmer has been ripped off or the chicken has been thrown into a square foot cage where it will spend its life. How do I do my shopping in the future, if I buy morally I will spend £1137.24 more on my shopping a year! Did those people who are now rich care about this sort of things or is it their companies who exploit these sort of things?

What do you think? What do you do? Any thoughts would be great.

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