A New Year Resolution

Apart from the usual swim the English Channel, run a marathon, learn 37 languages stuff that we all say and never do, I’ve decided on one simple resolution. Before I buy anything, I’m going to think about what I’m buying and who I’m buying it from.

I’m going to think about whether a company treats their suppliers fairly. Do they pay them a fair price and pay them on time or do they screw them into the ground? Do they treat their customers fairly or do they treat them merely as a source of revenue? Do they compete fairly? Do they make a fair contribution to society or do they use tax avoidance schemes just because they can and soften the blow with a bit of ‘Corporate Social Responsibility’? Do they pay their staff properly or do they use dodges such as ‘zero hour contracts’, ‘internships’, ‘workfare schemes’ or ‘apprenticeships’ under the pretext of helping people into work whilst doing it to save on the wage bill?

I suspect many of the companies we deal with will be found wanting in some respect but I’m determined to start dealing with companies that act responsibly not just in their own interests and stop dealing with those that put profit above everything else.

It won’t be easy and it will mean some tough decisions, some of which I’ll get wrong but it’s something I think we all ought to be doing. It will also hurt me financially.

My first task is to find sensible alternatives to Amazon who are incredibly handy for just about anything, are absolutely massive yet hardly pay any UK tax. Has anyone any suggestions?

Advertisements

About Peter Domican
Marketer and change professional. Writer and photographer.

3 Responses to A New Year Resolution

  1. tu says:

    It’s easy to say “local shops” instead of Amazon but the thing is, we’ve all set the bar at a certain level when it comes to e.g. present giving, and Amazon’s free home delivery and x% price reductions make it almost a ‘must’ for Christmas bulk purchases etc. This Christmas I tried to buy a few local gifts but this did add cost and postage — and I also tried ebay. There can be some great deals and you can buy from an individual if you don’t mind second hand things (OK for collectible toys etc I find). Plus we had some fun with personalised gifts e.g. Snapfish. Some of the charity sites sell awesome things, Oxfam jewellery in their online shop / ethical collection is great, and allegedly fairtrade. There are a lot of different options, it’s just getting used to setting up some new lists, getting out of the Amazon habit.

  2. Some really good ideas there. The more I see, the more convinced I am that this is a good thing to be doing.
    ‘Local shops for local people’ is a bit difficult if you don’t have the right local shops. It’s finding somewhere that ‘fits’. One friend of mine does all his book browsing on Amazon but then rings up the local bookstore (reopened as a smaller store after big one closed) and orders it through them. I’m also trying different bookstores who offer an online service as I don’t go into town so often but I want to support a ‘local type shop somewhere. P&P is a lot these days so this is going to take a while.
    Lots of odd things bought from Amazon come direct from the supplier anyway so it’s often just a case of finding out who the supplier is and cutting out the middleman. I’ve done this for about £30 of stuff so far this year.
    Last week we went for a lad’s bike ride and went to Jack’s cafe in Wheathampstead (themed [slightly] on the Jack Reacher novels). We paid the same amount as a chain but put money into the local economy and the chocolate cake was heavenly (if half the calories of the ride). We’re working on a breakfast ride route with local cafe stops for the summer instead of just automatically going to a chain.

    • tu says:

      Our high street has undergone a fairly grim set of changes in the last five years, we’ve lost a string of indy shops and some old fave chains (Woollies!) and instead got a lot of pound shops which pride themselves in providing cheap T-Rex figures, Haribo rip-offs, and underpriced books. It’s an exercise in consumerism for its own sake, and sometimes actually possible to buy a small, coloured rubbery thing and not know if it’s a sweet or a toy. The only way to counteract this is to buy from the remaining shops — little galleries and things. They’re more expensive overall but still stock some inexpensive things & I’d rather see my child receive a sweet little notepad & pencil than a giant, imported rubbery brontosaurus whose eyes have been printed below its cheekbones. Kids, of course, are capable of enjoying either.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: