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Published by jack elliot


The problem with ethical shops

is that most of their merchandise is over-priced junk

and clutter that none of us really needs.

Yes, this junk and clutter is nice,

but not quite necessary.

Some sell some clothing,

but usually it is limited to T-shirts, socks and scarves.

How many scarves can you buy?

I  have some 10 or 12 and don't need more.

Same with T-shirts.


I have never seen ethical shop t

hat would sell underwear,

if there is footwear, then only summer sandals.

Most feature cards, candles, cups,

mugs, rags, shopping bags, soap.

How much soap do you use?

Candles are nice,

but they burn out oxygen,


for a romantic evening or two in the dark season,

but again: how many do you need and would burn?

I haven't bought candles for years

and yet have large amount

because it is an easy gift item.

One day they will end up in the bin

and increase the amount of garbage.



I'm not sure that any local small shop

is generally any more ethical than a big box retailer.

It's a myth that artisan hand made stuff is always ethical too.

Are hand made gift cards assembled from Chinese components

any more ethical than ready-made cards using the same components?

Are 'hand-turned' wooden objects from an Indian slave shop

any more ethical because they're displayed in a ye-olde small shop with nice decor and mood-music?

Do the ingredients bought from Tesco's become ethical when they're layered in jars with a gingham bonnet and labelled 'gifts in jars' with a recipe stuck on the back?

Generalisations are never wise and it isn't always big bad and small good.


This brings us to a philosophical question of what is a gift.

Is something that you have been given as a gift and don't need or want a true gift or just a result of de-cluttering with some psychologically soothing element? 

Children should  get real gifts,

rest of us just bought something for the festivity

(food, wine, cake, fruit)

when we still could gather.

Maybe a pot of a seasonal flowering plant

if you felt like it.

This year I am so relieved there is no going to the office, no candles and mugs from colleagues and no panic buying same clutter for other colleagues for that boozy Xmas party.

No Christmas office dinners.

No obligation to visit anybody. 

And, no, I am no Grinch. It is just that Christmas have become a some sort of junk festival over years and in recent years it was particularly bad.


Basically it had become some sort of mass junk exchange event.



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