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Writer of fiction that reflects the light of Jesus. Sometimes the grit mixes with beauty to make up a picture of this life. That's where my fiction lives.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Killing the Consumer Within

I really enjoy shopping. Especially when I can get a great deal.

A t-shirt for $3? It's mine!

Shoes on 50% off clearance? Move over, lady! I'm gettin' them!

And kid's clothes? Oh...I could buy them all!

There is a thrill to finding a bargain. Some kind of adrenaline courses through the veins when buying something marvelous. A rush of pride when looking through the bags at the end of the day, perusing the newly bought goods.

I remember one day, not very long ago, walking through a mega big store. This particular super market is well know for it's super duper low prices. And, oh, those prices roll on back. It's blue (except in Roswell, New Mexico...that one is green like an alien). There is a smiley face at every turn. Huh. I just can't seem to remember the name...

But that day, walking up and down the aisles of the store I thought to myself "How on earth do they keep these prices so low?"

Well, I found out.

They don't pay the people who make the items. And if the workers are actually paid, then it is to repay a debt that has been unfairly kept against them. And what they pay their workers is typically not enough to cover living expenses. And they are not in safe environments. And they work far more hours than not. And they use little children to make the t-shirt that I get for so very cheap.

That is how the prices stay so low. It is true and ugly and sad and evil and destroys lives. And just so that my kids can have a pair of shorts that they may wear one time.

I felt horrible. In the words of Julia Ormond (the actress from "Legends of the Fall"...you know I've seen that one) in the documentary "Call + Response" "I don't want to wear someones despair".

So, I made a decision in a discussion with God. I will no longer purchase clothing for myself or my family unless it is either fair trade or second hand.

The day after I felt that conviction I realized that my kids had very little to wear once the weather warmed.

I went to the Goodwill store a block from my house (I know...that's pretty nice). They had little to nothing in my kids' sizes. And it was all for winter. I, however, found 6 outfits for myself to wear when I work (and all for $30!!! And that money doesn't pay slave drivers!). I counted that blessing and was very, very thankful for it.

Then my friend Dee delivered some hand-me-downs (a full tub) packed with sandals, t-shirts, shorts, etc for my boys to wear. A few days following that my friend Ashley gave me 3 boxes of really amazing clothes that her son no longer used. Some still with tags. And all very, very fun! Then my friend Andee sent some items for my daughter. Also, my friend Wendy sent along 2 big bags of things for Elise.

I say this with much humility...we are completely set for clothes for our kids for the next year or two. Seriously.

This causes me to marvel in the provision of my Father. I stand like a little girl, unable to give enough thanks to the One who sees our hearts and yet loves us.

The song that keeps running through my head is this...

"God will take care of you,
Through every day,
Over all the way!
He will take care of you!
God will take care of you!"

And I no longer worry about my clothes. He is adorning our family in more than the flowers of the field. And we are humbled.

2 comments:

  1. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts Susie. Your heart for the broken is such an encouragement to me. The other day after we had met for coffee I found myself helping a friend shop for a swimming suit at Target. The clothes there were so cute!! Although I've done my own research and understand the problem of slave labor I was still tempted to buy them. Thankfully you and I had met just a couple days before and our discussion about slave labor was fresh in my mind. So I put down the outfits I was holding in my hand and said to myself, "I'm not going to fund the problem!"

    Thank you again for your heart for others. I love you.

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  2. What an awesome testimony to God's awesomeness. (I just made that a word.) I'm inspired. I'm going to start doing the same thing. I'm so thankful for a God who provides and for people like you in this world who see injustice and do something about it. Something ANYBODY could do!

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