Category Archives: citizenship

Yet Another Reason

not to use a self-checkout. I have NEVER used them, for a few reasons:

  1.  I did retail for 30 years. If you want me to check out my own merchandise, you will pay me or I won’t do it.
  2. Someone has a job to do that. If we do it for them, there are no jobs. Remember the high school kid who used to pump your gas? When was the last time you bought gas you didn’t have to pump youself?
  3. Why should I make their corporate profits bigger? When was the last time you saw a self-check out line at a Mom & Pop market say? You won’t. Why? They can’t afford it, they don’t make enough $. ‘Nuff said!

You might be interested in this article, I know I was!

Stigma & Shame Links

I found this about stigma the other day. You might be interested? link

And while we’re talking about the good or bad the internet can bring, you may want to listen to this TED talk I found last week which talks about shame as well.

My personal experience was that shame was the biggest single thing which kept me from healing. link

J

Zero Waste?

We have always recycled. That is for nearly 40 years now. Before you get on me about recycling and its virtues: in college my husband (then roommate) and I recycled our glass bottles at our college’s glass blowing program, had the local boy scouts cued in that whenever they had a paper drive we’d contribute, etc. Later we drove to the base recycling, because it was the only one available to us, it wasn’t the town’s dump. So, okay? I believe in recycling and have always practiced it, for for 39+ years now.

So, zero waste as a concept isn’t new to me. The “movement” I see is new. I agree with it, but I think the ludicrous “posts” I see of a family of 4 having only a quart jar of waste a year to be a cheat. Why? Because if you read these blogs, etc. a lot of what you see is what you’d expect: use vinegar, home-made cleaners, permanent cleaning tools rather than paper towels, etc. But you also see things like the cheat (well, I consider it a cheat) I found which turned me off of all such blogs.

The cheat? The person bought a pair of shoes and left the shoe box with the store. That ISN’T zero waste, it’s just being nasty, giving someone else your garbage. You might just as easily take all your other waste in a plastic bag and stuff it in a municipal trash can.

recycling process

Yes, there are things you can do to lower your waste. You can deliberately find a use for something you might otherwise discard. You can buy big packages of supplies (food and otherwise) and make smaller, more convenient collections of those things yourself (preferably in something other than disposable bags). You can use rags instead of paper towels. You can not buy things with pieces which are trashed every time they’re used. You can pay attention to what you buy and what winds up in the trash. How many bags of garbage does your household generate? Can you do better? (We use 1 a week, plus recycling.)

You can also save money and avoid a huge amount of waste if you just use more of your food. Or learn how to cook, right? Prefab food generates container and packaging you don’t have if you cook yourself. Think about it: when I buy a package of ground meat at my local green market, it’s wrapped in 2 pieces of paper. [I admit, if I’d remembered, I could take a lidded, freezer-safe container with me and use that. I didn’t last time, hopefully I will next time.] Anyway, because we make our own bread, the packaging for us to get hamburgers on the table is the wrapping around the meat. Everything else comes in a big package (like a head of lettuce or bottle of catsup) and is used multiple times. Contrast that with the paper napkins, wrappers, receipt, salt, pepper, catsup packets and bag which make up a bag of 2 hamburgers from your local Mac’s. Is it cheaper? No. Is it faster? Well, my local Mac’s is 25+ minutes away, so yes it is.

food waste

But don’t tell me you’re zero waste and go to a store, buy a pair of shoes and leave the packaging. Get your shoes repaired rather than buying a new pair. Buy a used pair? Donate TWO pairs to a charity when you buy that new pair? Try making it a policy to have minimal shoes. For me that’s 5 pairs: daily shoes, snow boots, fancy shoes, sandals, house shoes. My fancy shoes, if I have them, (I don’t at the moment.) are usually either solid white or black. My daily shoes are shoes I wear when I’m going out, they tend to be walking shoes. The house shoes are slippers or slip ons I use in the house, sometimes I use socks. Honestly? If I wasn’t in a snowy climate, I could manage without the boots and could use the sandals as house shoes and for the fancy shoes too, I have previously. That would leave me with daily shoes and sandals.

For restaurant take out, you can do what a friend of mine has done for decades: put a picnic basket in your car with real plates, cloth napkins, food containers, etc. in it and ask the restaurant to package your food that way. Some fast foods may not be able to cope with that, but some can. Pay attention, do what you can, and keep looking for new ways to lower your impact on the world.

I’m not zero waste, but I admit what I do and don’t foist my garbage off on others as if that somehow makes it “vanish.” It doesn’t. The idea that the things we discard don’t count or will vanish is a lot of the reason we got where we are. So, don’t tell me you’re zero waste and foist your garbage off on someone else. If it comes with the goods you buy, it’s yours. Deal (and be honest).

My World These Days…

I’ve been wading through the junk. That has resulted in a bunch of books being donated at markets, in the book bins, the dump’s swap shop, or wherever I can find a spot which seems appropriate. I actually sold two books this month! One of them for > $5 and not credit.

Considering that in a bad month in the bookstore I’d sell $300+ worth (about 100 vols.) and a good one $2k, selling 1 book isn’t significant. On the other hand, I’ve sold 3 lots of placemats, 3 metal baskets, and 3 vintage picture frames. Although I expect I will owe the antique store about $30 of my October rent, percentage-wise and otherwise, I’m doing better over all, nearly every month. It seems I’m making my rent + about 1/2 the time, the rest I’m a bit short. It’s getting better. According to every antique dealer I’ve talked to this month has been “dead.” My guess is that this is two things — political/financial uncertainty and changing weather. (Sales always go down a bit when it first gets cold or warm for the year. People go inside and stay there in the fall and go outside in the spring.)

 

financial-chart

Depending on how the overall economy does, stock market and such in the rest of the country, people will be more or less conservative. I hate election years because the financial impact of how people think the election went happens at the beginning of the holiday season.  If you do retail, it can make what looked like it was going to be a healthy year into a really bad one, overnight. There’s no real predicting it, you just have to realize that it’s possible that people will stop buying almost anything, until the new President is inaugurated and the political shift does or doesn’t affect the day-to-day.

People will then settle into a new spending pattern or return to their old one.

As a retailer, especially a retailer selling non-essentials, you see, feel, and then share it if people aren’t feeling “safe,” after the election.

  1. Your sales go down just when you expect them to go up for the holiday season.
  2. You buy, have bought, or committed to buy things you expect sales to help you pay for (sales you didn’t get).
  3. The end result is that now YOU feel insecure financially like your customers did following the election.

So, as a retailer, I hate presidential election years!

Rather than worry about it, as I can’t do anything about it anyway, I’m working on the stored stuff. Better items we aren’t keeping have been put up for sale. I need to purge the books in the booth, again, and move the entire thing around again too.

Dear Pollsters:

  1. Yes I am registered to vote.
  2. Nothing you say, no matter how you load your wording, is likely to change my vote. (I’m a writer/editor, I play with words for effect too!)
  3. I will NOT watch the debate tonight. Why? I don’t have a TV.
  4. You do not know what 2 minutes is, or 4, for that matter. You really ought to buy a stopwatch, or use that function in your cell phone.
  5. I will vote, if I have to do it from my death bed.