Tuesday 21st May 2024

Ethical spending vs. your sanity: how do you find the balance?

Balancing on a log

I am developing a Partridge-esque friendship with the attendant of a petrol station I frequent.  Here is a recent conversation.

‘Just these, please.’

‘Don’t you want a drink?  For another eight pence, you could have a drink on the meal deal.’

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‘I’ve got a bottle of water in the car, thanks.’

‘But for another eight pence, you could get another one!’

‘I don’t want it, it’s Buxton.’

‘Oh, that’s right, Buxton is a Nestle product.  You don’t like Nestle, do you?’

‘No, it tastes like the tears of African children.’

‘Wow.  You know, you’re buying these things in a Shell garage.  You’re not exactly giving your money to a worthy cause, are you?’

‘I suppose not.’

Needless to say, he had the last laugh.  Trying to keep track of the companies who take your money on a regular basis is a sure-fire route to madness.  You think you’ve got the hang of it, and you’ve cut all the pernicious companies out of your regular purchases, and then you see a viral video showing the chief executive of the Co-operative Bank punching a dolphin.  (Not true, but you get the idea).

I don’t want to live on an allotment, with a solar panel strapped to my head, speaking my own secret language. 

I think my children would be even more embarrassed than they already are.  But I don’t want my pennies to go towards child slavery, or propping up dictatorships, or terrorism, or any of the legion of horrendous things that are going on in this over-connected, globalised world of ours.  I know my pennies are a drop in the ocean, and only have a miniscule impact, but it’s that sort of thinking that has landed our species in the various predicaments it now faces.

Here’s a link to a short list of pretty big companies that are likely to do something nice with your money (like pay their employees a living wage), rather than something nasty (like buy a machine gun, or spend it on lobbying politicians to block environmental legislation).


Dan Lever

Mouthy Blogger

Family man from Bolton, guitar teaching exercise enthusiast, due to get married any minute now so watch this space.

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