Come, Mommy

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Now I Remember Why I'm Not A Shop-A-Holic

Lots of women regard shopping as an exercise in stress relief, or as a favorite pastime. I'm not one of them. I tend more towards the surgical strike method of shopping: make a list, go in the store, get exactly what I need, pay, and leave. I'm not a big fan of trying on lots of different clothes, or scouting out the new shoe styles, or walking about a mall just to see what's there. I don't know why this is, but it's the way I am, so there you go.

However, Monday was beautiful here, so I decided to head into Local College Town, which, being a college town, houses a lot of quaint shops and has a sweet downtown area. There is an excellent consignment shop for kids' clothing that was the intended destination as both boys need summer clothes. I love the shop because I love being able to support a local business and at the same time reduce our footprint by buying quality used clothing that has a lot of life left in it. Unfortunately, I forgot the store is closed on Mondays, so the kids and I (the whole plural use of the words "kid" and "child" still throws me for a bit of a loop) meandered about downtown, doing some window shopping.

We saw the usual college town/touristy types of things - logo T-shirt shops, coffee shops, body-piercing places, and gift shops, so we saw all kinds of items out for display. Two items, however, made my head spin. We saw this at a coffee shop:

It's a map of our shrinking landscape called a "Global Warming Mug." Apparently one puts one's (presumably organic and fair trade) hot coffee in the mug and is treated to the sight of the world's shorelines disappearing under water. Eh?

I'm all for crunchy environmentalism. Global warming is real and needs to be addressed, as far as I'm concerned. But I gotta ask how much energy is used in the manufacture and transport of these mugs. And the packaging? How much carbon does all this contribute to our atmosphere?

Is it just me, or does this product seem a bit ironic?

I was wondering how someone came up with the idea for this mug when I spied a package of these:

Organic Oreos. OK, so I buy a lot of organic food, but really, when it comes to Oreos, does it matter if the white sugar and flour that comprise them is organic? Nah, I didn't think so either, at least not in terms of nutrition, or, in this case, the lack thereof. I guess I could make a case for the introduction of organic foods to the general population, but if all that happens is that junk food becomes organic junk food, then the sad state of nutrition is this country will remain unchanged. I'm not sure I can even make a case for the environmental benefits of organic junk food.

What we have here is evidence that I think too much. I can't even go on a leisurely window-shopping stroll without considering the implications of consumerism to the downfall of the planet. Maybe I should learn to let window-shopping be window-shopping, and just do my part by not buying anything?

Would that save the planet and keep my kids amused at the same time? I don't know for sure, but one thing I do know - at least not liking to shop is easier on the wallet.

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