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Mar 06 2012

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Is there a way to avoid shopping at major chains??

I think I’ve officially reached the grumpy old woman stage – or at least the grumpy, I’m still not admitting to the old!

There are now officially more things I can’t buy, see or do than those I can.

I do believe in consumer power, and I think it can start with one person. So I am on my own crusade to boycott companies or products I don’t like. These include:

  1. Sexist advertising – particularly any that assumes women/mothers are the only ones who cook or clean, and that’s the most important thing in our lives. I’m talking to you Tip Top bread, Finish dishwasher powder, and Meadowlea margarine. Virgin stands on the top of the podium in this one.
  2. Advertising that assumes I have the IQ of a gnat – far too many to list but special mention must go to Budget – or is that boojay
  3. Companies that organise their service around themselves rather than their customers – again a long list, headed by Harvey Norman where you need 3 sales people and 3 transactions to buy 3 items because they’re all in a different section of the shop.
  4. Environmentally unfriendly advertising or products – like all those who hire big trucks to drive around all day with their name/product plastered over them. I once saw a convoy of 5 trucks following each other around advertising the one product – Magnums. Top of my most hated list now. And I don’t buy Australian rice because it uses too much of our scarce water.
  5. Hidden prices – banks, airlines, phone companies, insurance companies all specialise in this one but are hard to avoid.
  6. Unethical or irresponsible organisations  like BP & Exxon.
  7. Organisations that try to own everything, such as the Coles & Woolworths of the world.

I wish that was the end of it, but the list goes on, and on. And it raises lots of dilemmas for me because there are some things I can’t do without.

I need a phone and internet and don’t like dealing with either Telstra or Optus. But Telstra is the only company that comes close to having the coverage I need when we go travelling (possibly because it also falls into reason 7 and won’t share its infrastructure).

I buy fruit & veges and deli items from local shops rather than supermarkets and have found an independent grocer close to home that isn’t too expensive and stocks a great range. There are also accessible farmers markets nearly every weekend, but there are still some things I need to go to the supermarket for and if I find I’ve run out of something I need for dinner the only ones open are the major chains.

I buy most of my wine from small wineries. That one’s not too hard because the world’s best white wines are in Australia – Allendale on Lovedale Road in the Hunter for  Semillon and Hahndorf Hill and a few others in the Adelaide Hills for sauv blancs.

I’m even trying to wean myself off OfficeWorks and Bunnings.

But if I’m not careful I could spend all my time researching products and companies before I buy anything – who owns the product/company? Where do they source their labour? Are they free trade? Etc, etc, etc. And then I could find a reason to not buy almost everything.

So I have clothes that are made in China, and wine from Dan Murphys. And I’m just off to OfficeWorks now to get a few things I need and have a look around just because I like the shop.  I have phones with both Optus and Telstra, and a credit card from one of the major banks

So does that make me a hypocrite? My head is in a spin thinking about it.

I need a drink – but I’d have to run across the road to Dan Murphys to get some wine!!

 

 

 

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