Thursday, October 29, 2009

Oh, Boy

I try to honor all the important boycotts: I hate greedy, soul-sucking corporations just as much as the next guy. Maybe even more! But I'm starting to have trouble keeping up with which evil behemoths torture animals, which ones fund terrorists, which ones hate gay people, which ones are chopping down the rainforest with reckless abandon, and which ones enslave their workers and use sneaky tricks to make it look like their prices are the lowest (cough cough, Wal-Mart, cough cough).

I looked at the list of products that Nestle, that baby-killing exploiter of the poor, makes money from, and Cheerios are on the list, people! Cheerios! Most of the items on the list present me no trouble: I can easily buy Hershey's chocolate chips instead of Tollhouse, for example. And while I'm talking about chocolate, you simply must know that I just read a fascinating book called The Emperors of Chocolate, about the Hershey and Mars companies. Just so you know, you can feel reasonably good about buying Hershey: at least at the writing of the book, the stock was controlled by the Hershey Foundation, which does fabulous things for thousands of orphans, including giving them outstanding prep school educations. So most of the profits gained by hosing chocolate farmers in poor countries and spewing out toxins go to orphans in New England so they can grow up to proudly carry on the corporate tradition, despite their unfortunate beginnings. Mars, on the other hand, is family-owned, and those people are just nuts. Oh yeah, sorry about the Amazon link to the book. They discriminate against gay people, you know. And as soon as I move away from this place where yellow slips in my mail box tell me I have a box of the retail joy that makes my life tolerable, I'll never shop there again. Sorry, gay people; catch you on the flip side.

But back to the Cheerios. I'm not sure I can live without Cheerios. Not for us, so much; we go through some serious quantities, but they are not necessary to our survival, say. But they are my sole successful technique for placating our little 11-month old neighbor. She comes over every week with her sister and brother because I swap childcare with her mom, and she LOVES me. Never before have I been any too popular with babies that aren't mine, so I'm pretty sure it's because I'm her Cheerio connection. I just sort of dump some around her and she's happy for HOURS. She doesn't eat a lot of other things yet, so it's not like I can just replace them with something else. She does eat bananas, but even I can see the folly of placing piles of bananas around a baby sitting on the carpet.

So, see? This is a real dilemma. What's more important: personal comfort or the greater good? I swear, the only place I can shop in good conscience these days is Etsy. Oh, and the thrift store, of course. Sure, it sells Spiderman watches that don't work, and never has a deinonychus colored shirt when I need one, but it's a small price to pay, don't you think?


Helen said...

The greater good is more important as long as it doesn't compromise my personal comfort. For now, I'm going to buy that Amazon unintentionally screwed up, that Scholastic is absolutely abhorrent, that Wal-Mart is not cheaper than Target, and that I kinda liked Mars in the Emperors of Chocolate (love that book! Glad you read it.) even though they are nuts! But Nestle is evil and I have no problem giving up Cheerios even if it gets in the way of your bonding relationship with Neighbor Baby. (BTW, Emma always like you. I don't think you are that scary.)

Wendy Hawksley said...

You can always scale back slowly... ;)

We gave up Lunchables cold turkey (no pun intended) after the whole #nestle thing on Twitter.

I am also learning to live without Sweet Tarts.


Amanda said...

I think if you dig deep enough into just about any company you'll find deep dark secrets. I'm one of those evil people that I like what I like and I'll buy it. Are people in the US going to stop buying gas for their cars because most of the oil comes from Saudi Arabia and Venezuela? I doubt it. But look at the track records of those countries. And yes, I still take Motrin too.

Swistle said...

I love this so.much.

Janelle said...

But, Helen, Neighbor Baby is really, really cute when she reaches for Anna instead of her mom and throws a fit when Anna leaves! Don't you think just one more box of Cheerios might be ok? c'mon, just one more?

No, you're right, she would love Anna anyway. It has nothing to do with the food. :-)