Gone shopping?

Gone shopping?
Or has no new shoes changed our habits?

Monday, 19 February 2007

Hello, and an ethical issue

After a series of hard stares from Anna "New York, New York" Drew I have decided to sign up to the No New Shoes challenge, and have even persuaded my wife Angela to join in. We could not persuade our daughter Elizabeth to join in as well, as she is only 1 and the one word she says confidently is "no."

For me, going without make up and hair dye will be easy, and going out has been a distant memory since Elizabeth was born. I try to skip bought lunches to save money anyway, but this will require me to really stick to this. Going without snacks will be very hard, but my waistline could do with this bit of discipline. Angela and I have fallen into a Friday night takeaway habit, so that will have to stop. Alcohol will be a bit of a pain because my birthday falls in the middle of Lent, so I am asking you all for a pass on that weekend.

The trickier bit is music, and this is where we get to the ethical question. I buy the majority of my music online as downloads (through the excellent emusic or iTunes), which is a pretty green way of buying it: no packaging, nothing physical at all, no shop lighting or heating, no transport. Just the electricity needed to power the computers and the network. Plus its cheaper.

But I also buy a few second hand CDs a week from the Oxfam near work. This clearly benefits Oxfam, but by providing a means for people to "recycle" CDs it also keeps stuff out of landfills. So, wise people, I ask: if I give up buying CDs from Oxfam, am I hurting Oxfam by trying to do good? Should I carry on buying CDs there, or stop and cause a drop in their income? And no, I don't think I should stop buying CDs and give an equivalent amount to Oxfam. I'd have to go in to see what I'd want to buy and work out what the equivalent should be, and by that stage temptation would be too strong. I love music, and if I get as far as holding a great record in one hand and the cash to pay for it in another then the deal will be done. If I'm going to give up, I'll have to avoid the place all together.

My instinct is to say I'll give up buying CDs from Oxfam, on the grounds that this exercise ought to involve making sacrifices. But if anyone wants to say that its OK to still buy second hand from charity shops, then I will thank them.


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