It’s hard to legitimately seek to help others without finding oneself inherently political.

At least, that’s what we’re learning.

At the shop, we’re working to create easier access to high quality used goods. Our reasons are legit: the resources required to produce newly manufactured goods are directly at odds with human beings having access to those same resources (clean water, for example). There’s no logic in buying new stuff when it causes harm to other people (even less so when the used stuff is higher quality and built to last).

The biggest challenge, as far as we’ve been able to conclude, is that it’s too easy (comparatively speaking) to get the new stuff, not convenient enough to get the old stuff, and building a system that would flip this dichotomy is an uphill climb… but we’re committed to the cause, and committed to achieving results.

As we’ve continued to learn more about the forces we’re up against (public policy that treats secondhand dealers as inclined toward criminal activity, or food laws won by plastics lobbyists that prohibit consumers from bringing their own containers to restaurants for leftovers — when most new production happens in non-sterile factory conditions), it’s been, frankly, a moral imperative to get involved and do what we can to change the systems we have.

And, as we’ve become more aware of the challenges of addressing environmental risks to human health and wellness, other issues with related impacts have emerged (racial matters, employment matters, cultural challenges), leaving us at an interesting crossroads of wanting to rally and bring others together to help as many people as we can — while facing the potential for isolating those whose politics are, by nature of identifying with an elephant (or a donkey), out of alignment with our own (even though these same people may love our t-shirts).

We’re here to bridge as many gaps as we can right now – the issues we face aren’t isolated to one political party, and will require more than rabid adherents of one party to solve them. Part of bridging the ideological gap will necessarily involve finding and connecting the dots that we can agree are overdue to be connected. We consider this issue (shared via content posted on Julie’s Facebook page) to be one such dot. —->

If you haven’t really considered yourself to be part of the 99% (or haven’t understood the argument, or that our financial system has insidious flaws), take a few minutes to watch Elizabeth Warren question the CEO of Wells Fargo (I thought characters like this with names like ‘Stumpf’ were exclusive to bad PG-13 quasi-dramas) about massive fraud occurring on his watch at the company.

When businesses are allowed to privatize financial gains while forcing all of us to digest adverse social and environmental impacts, we have a system that’s not working for the society it has been built to support.

And when leaders are not held accountable for managing to a bottom line that’s about more than just earnings, these are the results we can and should anticipate.

We need to expect and demand more from the money-first organizations with whom we currently conduct business (financial, service, consumer goods, or otherwise). Or, perhaps, we can consider this an opportunity to bring our business to those organizations who are already holding themselves accountable for ethical social conduct.

If you’re not sure how to do this, you can start by researching ‘social enterprise‘ ‘public benefit corporation‘ ‘b corporation‘ (‘b-corp’ for short), ‘triple bottom line,’ by supporting cooperatively run businesses, or by asking around. There are some great companies doing important work. Let’s each encourage more of the good stuff (and less of the ugly Stumpf).

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