Moral dilemma

As I continue to try to acclimate to life in England, I think my biggest adjustment is something like city living. I miss grass and trees and green space. Funny since the town I live in boasts that it has the greatest number of trees per person. But I live near the city center (or centre), so not so much here. I’m also trying to get used to small living spaces and no car.

Which brings me to troubles with grocery shopping. There are local stores near us where we can get some of the things we need at higher prices. Or we could take a bus to the bigger store, get more of what we need at better prices, and struggle on the bus home with all our crap. And of course, we can order things online.

My husband chose to do this and ordered food from Asda. I’m not in love with the idea of ordering my food online. I want to be able to pick out the apples that I think look the freshest and make sure my yogurt has the plastic seal in tact and make sure the cheese I get isn’t the one moldy package on the shelf (yes, I’ve seen this in grocery stores). But he tried this and seemed pleased with the results. I was less pleased when I saw this:

oranges

Ok, I know “chosen by kids” and “approved by mums” is supposed to mean that kids like them and mom’s are happy because they are healthy. Like “kid tested, mother approved!” on Kix. But I can’t shake the eerie feeling that these clementines were picked by child laborers. Because Asda. Because Wal-Mart.

To be honest, I don’t know a lot about Asda. But I do know they are owned by Wal-Mart, the company that every time they have to choose between two business practices, they choose the evil one. Even if the non-evil one is something easy like not making your employees work off the clock or not discriminating. So seeing “chosen by kids” on what is essentially a Wal-Mart product makes me uneasy. In the States, we didn’t shop at Wal-Mart. Is it ok now to shop at Asda?

A lot of my problems with Wal-Mart are rendered moot when applied to Asda simply because I’m living in a socialist country. Example: Wal-Mart employees are often on Medicaid because they don’t make enough to pay for health insurance. But apparently Asda won awards for being one of the best places to work for. Great, but there are still a host of others (including child labor) and Asda carries some of the same products as Wal-Mart (George clothes, for example). Not to mention that the money still goes in the Walton family’s pocket. But they know where their money comes from. If they get a better return per store from Asda than Wal-Mart, will that teach them that consumers respond when they treat their workers right and are less evil?

I don’t know if I can in good conscious shop there.

 

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About emmawolf

I'm a freelance writer living in Baltimore with my husband, son, and two cats. I'm working on editing my first novel. I love reading, traveling, and the cello.
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