Monday, 2 August 2010

The true price of cheap shopping

I went into the new Primark store in Blackburn today.  It was packed out with people, and I struggled to make my way through the crowds of shoppers.  I noticed little pairs of glittery slippers for £2, coats for £20, pyjamas only £4.  It seems too cheap to be true.  And it is.  But people were lapping it up, all the clothes they want at a price they can afford.  But I wonder about the true price.  The price of making cheap clothes, that aren't made to last, or soon go out of fashion and are thrown away.  The price paid by the people who make cheap clothes, who are underpaid, possibly underage, and working long hours in bad conditions.  Am I happy that someone is suffering in order for me to be able to buy cheap, throwaway clothes?  No, I am not.  And I came straight out of the store with a vow never to return.  This is not the way forward for the planet.  But people love it, and all across town I spotted shoppers with Primark bags, brimming with bargain purchases.  This is not a sustainable way to live, and I worry that people don't seem to care about the consequences of their actions, both now and years down the line.  Someone will eventually pay for our generation's waste and greed, that's for sure.

And here's another local example of large companies not giving a crap about anything other than making profits.  A new Tesco supermarket is being built in our town and to make way for it they have illegally felled nearly 200 trees.  The local authorities weren't interested in the illegal felling so my friend is grassing Tesco up to the local newspaper in order to name and shame them.  They've got signs up around the new building saying how their new store will contribute to the local community - my arse it will!  It'll put small shops out of business and pedal rubbish made under bad conditions in developing countries.  It'll come along and destroy our trees and natural habitats.  We might upstage their grand opening in some way, and guerilla garden some plants around the new building.  People deserve to know the truth.  When the co-operative shop opens local people will finally have a real alternative to supermarket shopping.  It'll be somewhere where local people can buy their groceries safe in the knowledge they are buying ethically sourced products, where profits from the business are reinvested into the local community and environmental groups.  Stick that in your pipe and smoke it Tesco!

And as for Asda, well the only green thing about Asda is their logo.

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