The High Cost Of Low Price (4/3/13)

Read: Deuteronomy 23:1-25:19, Luke 10:13-37, Psalm 75:1-10, Proverbs 12:12-14

Never take advantage of poor and destitute laborers, whether they are fellow Israelites or foreigners living in your towns.
(Deuteronomy 24:14)

Wal-Mart-The-High-Cost-Of-Low-Price-Documentary

Relate: I know, the picture and the title are a bit provocative. For those that don’t get it, there was a documentary done about 8 years ago with that title talking about the various ways Wal Mart exploits its workers both in the US and internationally in order to force down low prices and force out small businesses. I never did see the movie, I lived it. For about 3 months I was employed by Wal Mart a decade or so back. They wouldn’t let me have a week off to work at a Christian camp so I quit. Best thing I ever did.

React: I do, however, feel like a bit of a hypocrite even writing that last paragraph. I shop at Wal Mart all the time. It is both cheaper and closer for me than any competitors. I was convicted when I read through most of the reading in Deuteronomy today. I don’t consider myself an exploiter of others. I do tend to be generous to a fault. What I am not is a conscientious shopper. What is the cost for my cup of coffee in the morning to those working the fields? Where was the sweatshirt and the jeans I am wearing made and what are the employees paid there?

Sometimes we tend to get overly concerned with some of the statements companies might make regarding hot button issues whether on one side of the fence (Chick-fil-a) or the other (Starbucks).  To be honest I applaud their willingness to take a stand not always motivated by finances even if I disagree with where they are standing. What concerns me more is how they fare in treating the poor. At least, that is what I should be concerned about. All too often my wallet and my apathy end up taking the lead on how I am spending God’s money. So I am making an appeal for help. What resources are out there to help me make better, more informed choices? What are ways that I can walk in justice with my finances? I’m sure… at least I hope that I am not the only one wondering.

Respond: 

God, help me to remember that my finances, the money you have blessed me with is Yours. Help me to use it in ways that would honor You. Help me to remember that being a good steward is not about being cheap but spending justly. This is something that I haven’t thought and acted on nearly enough in my life and for that I am sorry. Help me to be more than sorry, Lord. Help me to repent. Help me to change.

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20 thoughts on “The High Cost Of Low Price (4/3/13)

  1. I’m not a religious person, in fact – I’m morally opposed to organized religion. So when I first looked at your page, I almost jumped away in an instantaneous response…But – I decided to read on, and you know what? I’m glad I did. I love what you wrote here. I never really payed much attention to spending justly until I moved to Seattle. Living here I learned about the things you are speaking of and became passionate about being more mindful of my spending. As a result my life has improved immensely. I have less stress, less distractions and more time to do the things I love, like reading and writing.

    Thank you so much for sharing your insights. I look forward to reading more from you!

  2. Have not shopped in WalMart in years. Something didn’t feel right there. And I do have go agree with you on the Chick-fil-A/Starbucks issue. They have a right to feel and speak about issues. And they have done so boldly.

  3. You’re definitely not alone there. I’m interested in seeing what replies you get. I could use a little direction, too. I must admit that I hadn’t thought of things this way. Thought provoking post.

  4. You may be over thinking this. God is sovereign. We as finite creatures can’t possibly know all the interactions that occur with our purchases. It is quite possible that our purchase is giving someone a job who didn’t have one before. And be careful of imposing your view of a good work environment on another country. Yes, some are atrocious, no denying that. However, many poor in other countries live in dirt floored one or two roomed huts essentially. (I lived in Guatemala for 4 years). “Do not glean your field to the edges” is a very close and personal caring for the poor. Not that a little concern about ones purchases isn’t a good thing. I would encourage the Christ follower to buy less stuff and look to share his/her stuff with neighbors and brothers and sisters in Christ. How many lawn mowers do we need on one block?

    • I have to disagree with you. I think that as Christians it is of the utmost importance that we do everything we can to ensure that we are not lending into the cycle of poverty and abuse, be it here in the U.S. or overseas. And there are so many resources out there that can help you to do that, and it doesn’t take that much time or energy. For instance, watching a movie like the one mentioned in the post can really open your eyes to how big companies like Walmart really do not see the humanity of the people they employ (both here and abroad). As Christians, we HAVE to see their humanity.
      Other resources: Not4Sale (they even have an app that you can download so that you can check out whether your purchases have been humanly sourced or not; so easy), International Justice Mission (they help to directly fight slavery using the legal system in other countries, based in Washington D.C.), and there are so many more.

      I do completely agree, however, that we all need to buy less stuff!

  5. I’m living on SS, fed rental assistance, and food stamps. I need the extras ’cause I am also paying a big chunk on my school loan. Before that payment went way up, I was stressing and God kept telling me to “don’t worry about it”. So through getting the payment reduced a little and food stamps, I do worry about being wasteful, especially food. But I always have enough resources to live comfortably. and some extra for things like clothes, art supplies and other things that are not needs. I also do not shop at the cheapest stores either, like WalMart. So now I rely solely on God for all my needs and some extras too. I am truly blessed.

  6. I’ve read many articles, watched many interviews, and heard many stories of how Walmart has not only pushed small business out, but has mistreated their employees time and time again. I’m not a big Walmart shopper. In fact, I go out of my way to shop at small businesses around my local community instead.

    My motto is “I’d rather pay more and help keep a small business running than to pay less and encourage overseas imports, and poor working conditions these big box outlets partake in.”

    Adisipleofchrist was indeed correct in that Walmart does provide jobs, and there’s nothing wrong with that. As such, I have not banned Walmart from my shopping experiences. I spend an average of $400 to $600 dollars annually at this giant because of that.

    Still, if you do some research, you’ll see how bad Walmart is for this country (At least on a grand level). This was a mom and pop company that was started by a man (Sam Walton) who took pride in the fact that his products were made in the United States of America, where quality and pride where so abundent for small business.

    Today Walmart is nothing more than a huge monsterous beast that continues to consume more small American business than any other big box, and to find anything on the store shelves that is made in the United States of America is almost a joke.

    As an alternative, my approach to spending my money wisely and doing what I can to keep small business America alive and thriving, I shop for many things at local thrift shops, I get gas at the local station down the road (Been in business for more than 5 decades), I recycle anything I can find a purpose for, and I rarely toss food in the trash,

    These are just a few things that help me to feel confident that I’m being wise with my money, and helping my fellow brohters and sisters earn an honest living.

    I think your insight is exceptional, and I will repost this post with the hopes that more people will read it and be touched by it’s message.

    Regards

  7. Reblogged this on Political Correctness Is Not On My Agenda and commented:
    I’ve read many articles, watched many interviews, and heard many stories of how Walmart has not only pushed small business out, but has mistreated their employees time and time again. I’m not a big Walmart shopper. In fact, I go out of my way to shop at small businesses around my local community instead.

    My motto is “I’d rather pay more and help keep a small business running than to pay less and encourage overseas imports, and poor working conditions these big box outlets partake in.”

    Adisipleofchrist was indeed correct in that Walmart does provide jobs, and there’s nothing wrong with that. As such, I have not banned Walmart from my shopping experiences. I spend an average of $400 to $600 dollars annually at this giant because of that.

    Still, if you do some research, you’ll see how bad Walmart is for this country (At least on a grand level). This was a mom and pop company that was started by a man (Sam Walton) who took pride in the fact that his products were made in the United States of America, where quality and pride where so abundent for small business.

    Today Walmart is nothing more than a huge monsterous beast that continues to consume more small American business than any other big box, and to find anything on the store shelves that is made in the United States of America is almost a joke.

    As an alternative, my approach to spending my money wisely and doing what I can to keep small business America alive and thriving, I shop for many things at local thrift shops, I get gas at the local station down the road (Been in business for more than 5 decades), I recycle anything I can find a purpose for, and I rarely toss food in the trash,

    These are just a few things that help me to feel confident that I’m being wise with my money, and helping my fellow brohters and sisters earn an honest living.

    I think your insight is exceptional, and I will repost this post with the hopes that more people will read it and be touched by it’s message.

    Regards

  8. I thought this was a great post, especially with how we need to not only be conscientious of others in our actions but also what we support through spending our money. Indirectly, spending money at stores such as Wal-Mart does give the company financial support to run their workers as they please. Thank you for your insight.

  9. I agree, this is a great post, very thought provoking. I had never thought of the Walmart situation in this light. I see both sides of the coin. As a believer, I too want to be very generous with what I have and I do not want to see “the least of these” abused. As a shopper who has a quadriplegic husband who is in a power wheelchair, I need the conveniences such as handicapped accessibility that Walmart offers. I can not go out without my husband so we have to go to places where there is access. I also considered the fact that Walmart employs a LOT of people, which is good for the economy. But I do not want the people taken advantage of. This is one of those areas that each must do what is the LORD’s will for their life. Walmart is never going away, and if we each with prayer and supplication of the LORD make the decision that best can glorify the LORD, we will have peace.

  10. I had a hard time finding a place to put a comment on About and I have to run out the door so I’ll just leave it here. On About I just read something that I forwarded to our campus pastor leader and that is. “When you step into Two Rivers for the first time, we don’t want you to compare it to other church experiences you might have had. We want you to compare it with the best experience you’ve had in your life.” Perfectly said. I’m part of http://www.substancechurch.com/ in the twin cities Minnesota and I think that motto fits in perfectly in what we’re trying to do a the church. I am not a pastor though. I consider myself a motivational speaker, writer, dancer, and entrepreneur, and teacher and I do it all for God. Thanks for being a part of http://purposepages.com/ We’re all about trying to help seekers find and execute their life purpose. Praise god, and see you around, BILL

  11. Reblogged this on Not In Part, But The Whole and commented:
    This is something that I am completely passionate about! I feel that it is so important for us to shop wisely and conscientiously concerning how workers are treated. I would love to here how you do that, and what resources you use!

  12. Great content. This is something that I’ve been passionate about for years. Chocolate, clothing, and coffee are three of the top ways that America participates in systematic oppression!

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