I Don’t Want My “Have” to = Less Than for Someone Else

My girl has big feet.

That’s where the whole thing started today.

We all need to have good walking shoes.  Good ones.  As in walking for miles.

And no one really has shoes that will hold up under that kind of pressure and not leave our feet regretting it.

So I loaded up Aub and the littles and we headed to the sports store to see what kind of shoes they had that might work. I refuse to buy top of the line for Cooter or our Princess because their feet are still growing.  But good ones?  Yes.

Our Princess, who is destined to be very tall like my Fella, has big feet.  For her age.  She and I can wear the same shoes.  Only she prefers a half-size bigger because her feet don’t like being cramped and in tight spaces.  Flip flops are her best friends.

The sad thing happened today when she realized she is no longer able to shop where they have the glitter and jewels and fancy colors on the shoes.  She now has to choose from the same boring, plain, rarely lovely selection that the rest of us do.

And she had her heart set on a pair of purple sparkly sandals.

Sparkles, y’all.  Poor thing.

So she did what most nine-year olds would do.

She pouted.  She was tearful.  She was a bit angry.  She insisted that we go to another store.  She despised the one really suitable, good pair I handed her to try on.  They fit her feet but not her spirit.

After much *ahem* discussion, she finally succumbed to pressure and said, okay.  I told her if she wanted to we could put purple designs on the straps with t-shirt paint.  I mean, I’m not a total ogre, right?

She smiled wanly, and wiped her eyes.  *sigh*  The hardship of being big for her age.  One of them anyway.

So we got those shoes and headed to our next spot on our OutandAbouts for today.  As we were getting out of the car, this girl who doesn’t let go of anything easily, said indignantly, as she read on the shoebox, “UGH, Mama!  Do you know where these shoes were made?  And you still wanted me to get them.”

My girl's new sandals, Miss Sophie's sock monkey and my toes (which fit, along with the rest of my feet, in these shoes as well).  But yeah, my girl's new shoes.
My girl’s new sandals, Miss Sophie’s sock monkey and my toes (which fit, along with the rest of my feet, in these shoes as well). But yeah, my girl’s new shoes.  We plan to add purple or sparkles later.

I knew exactly what she was talking about.  I just nodded resignedly (did I mention I’ve not had a nap FOR DAYS), and said, “Sometimes you do what you have to do.”

Meaning, sometimes you have to buy things “Made in China” because it’s hard to find anything suitable otherwise.  I’ve tried to find shoes made in this country, but I haven’t been able to.  I found a company that used to manufacture their shoes here, but they have since outsourced much of the production to China, so I was back where I started from.

My children have heard me rant (I guess more than I realized) about this problem.  I was so excited when I found socks made in the US at a local farm supply store.  I have a hard time finding apple juice made in our country–are we not growing them anymore?  I guess I’ve been pretty vocal, because when my sweet cousin knitted me a pair of socks, she wrote down where the yarn came from, how it was made, the environmental impact of the dyeing process, and so on.  Love her for that.  I think she gets it.  And me.

I’m not against these other countries making things. I’m not against us trading with them.  But I am concerned about their employees being treated well and paid fairly for their work.  And when I can buy a pair of jeans for $5, while on the surface looking like a great deal, I wonder how on earth they can pay someone adequately for the job well done.  I don’t have all the facts, but I’ve read things written by folks who say they do.  And it doesn’t look good.

It’s been in recent months that I’ve wondered something though.  While these reports and stories have me worried about buying “MIC” as I call it, I wonder if somewhere on the other side of the world, there is a young person trying to start on his or her own in the world or an elderly person still trying to make ends meet who is HOPING, with fingers and toes crossed, that we will keep buying.  Because it’s a job. Because it might not be much of a living, but if we quit buying, they won’t have anything.  At all.

I’m not saying that’s how it is.  I know my dollar is a vote in how things turn out in this world.  The food and clothes and all products imaginable that I make a choice and spend money on–that’s my vote, whether intended or not, on how I think things should go.  Maybe I’m rationalizing in my mind so that I won’t feel quite as guilty when I buy the Made in China shoes or the Made in Thailand sweater.  Or maybe it’s dawning on me that there might be more to the story.

I have no idea really.

Tonight I’m thankful for shoes that someone in China touched and made so that my child can have good shoes (albeit not fashionably acceptable to this nine-year old) for walking and taking care of her feet.  My fingers are crossed and my hopes are spoken aloud that somewhere on the other side of the world, the person who did make them or who ran the machine that put them together, is doing okay.  Leading an okay life.  Better than okay I hope.  Because bottom line, I don’t want someone else to have to suffer or be “less than” so my child can have a new pair of shoes. Or whatever.   No one should have to suffer for me to “have” anything at all.

Pondering this again.  Won’t be the last time.

Love to all.



5 thoughts on “I Don’t Want My “Have” to = Less Than for Someone Else”

  1. Like most of life’s issues this is a complicated one. And you are right, someone in those third world countries was glad when they got that job, or that contract. It makes a difference to them individually and most likely also to their family and quite possibly to their extended family. I watched the national news campaign, Made in America, and thought yes! But then I remembered my father’s wife’s business, importing trims from China, and how she does business with companies that make a huge economic impact on its workers. Their living wage and conditions are different than ours. They shouldn’t be on unsafe conditions under any circumstances, but what that looks like in one part of the world varies greatly from what it looks like in another.

    We no longer live in a world that is so black and white about creating consumer goods that a snappy slogan can really solve trade and economic imbalances.

    PS: love the idea of’prettying’ them up! Years ago I dyed a package of white boys boxer shorts purple so that my son might finally get rid of diapers and move into underwear. Back then you couldn’t buy purple boys underwear. We do what we got to do to bring joy to our babies!

    1. Yes, it’s all grey, isn’t it? And that’s so hard to live with at times. It would be great to have things either right or wrong. Period. End of story.
      Thank you for sharing your story about your father’s wife. I shunned a company for a while because their products, which I really love, are made in China. Then I watched a video about their relationships with the people who work in the factories there. Precious. And my sister worked for a company whose products were manufactured there. All was well in those examples. At least what was readily evident. And then the woman who was selling for the company was using her profits to fund a school in an underprivileged country. How do you say that’s no good to support? I just don’t know. As my parents used to say, you do the best you can with what you’ve got at the moment, and I guess that can include knowledge too. So I will try to stay informed but I want to keep my eyes open and my mind open to both sides of the story. Thank you for saying it so well.
      Purple underwear? That ROCKS. How clever of you to think of that. And yes, we do what we have to do. And it brings me joy to bring them joy, so win-win right?

  2. We’re right there with you. And it’s a judgment call that has to be made on an item by item basis. The apple thing … OH how I’ve pondered that one.

    A few years back I read a book called PLENTY … the writers’ goal was to eat no food that wasn’t from 100 miles away. They lived in Vancouver … it was a LONG winter. One of the most fascinating lessons was their trip to get local crabs. Crabs were harvested right off their coast, then shipped to China for processing and then returned for sale in the US.

    How about them apples?

    Hugs my friend … keep shining lights … we need them!

    1. Thank you Michelle. It is a challenge to try to do the “next right thing,” as BME would say, in each and every situation. But still we shouldn’t stop trying.
      I have heard something recent about sending chicken over like that as well. As Niecy Nash used to say on Clean House, “Whose foolishness is this?” I don’t even know.
      Thanks for reading and shining light right along with me. ❤

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