One of the wonders of living in an industrialized nation is the multiple opportunities for shopping. It's a common pastime that we take for granted. I have written more times about different ways to shop than almost any other topic. The fact remains most folks are consumers who shop as a hobby. In many homes around the nation a typical social evening includes the ubiquitous home party, where friends and family gather to shop in the comfort of a home.
I honestly must confess to mixed feelings about such parties.
When I had my first child, I worked as a direct sales consultant and my little enterprise was a true blessing. I sold cooking gadgets and was able to share some of my favorite recipes and helpful kitchen hints, as well as get an evening out with like-minded friends. The problem was that after a while I just didn't have the aggressive sales personality to keep the business going and also I didn't want socializing to include the condition of shopping.
Now, when I am invited to such an evening, I simultaneously look forward to and dread the time socializing. I have scaled back my life and shopping so much that I rarely have anything I need to purchase. I try to think ahead to gift giving occasions and use the parties to choose gifts for loved ones.
A growing trend in home parties is to shop for a cause. The profits support a charity of the host's choosing or Fair trade merchandise. Such social events that help fight disease, hunger or poverty give a whole new meaning to voting with our wallets. Sometimes our planet's issues seem insurmountable. It's easy to think one person cannot make a difference. But often, one person, doing something small is exactly how it starts.
In March, I wrote about making the 80/20 choices, starting somewhere and using that as a springboard to truly effect change rather than allow the overwhelming importance of changing habits paralyze me to ineffectiveness. The purist in me wants to shun and ban consumerism, but the realist in me knows that is an ideal. I prefer to think that if I'm going to indulge my shopping habit, I would shop differently. It's about mindful choices. I like to shop Fair trade, thrift, and local stores. I am excited about the trend of shopping for charity. My wish is the next time my readers consider hosting a home shopping party, that we'll research the ways such a party can be a vehicle for change.