Tony Jr. has been needing a raincoat and boots for a while, especially now that we walk to preschool three times a week... He only has one pair of sneakers, and I think it would be pretty awful for him to spend the day at school with wet clothes and shoes!
Here's the problem..raincoats are expensive, and it is off-season. I went to Salvation Army and Village Discount several times and found nothing. I did a lot of looking on the web and found some for $28, but by the time you add in tax and shipping it gets close to $40. We don't have a lot of money, so that seemed like a stretch.
Target has raincoats for $28, and I could just take the bus to buy it. But Target has made some pretty bad choices lately... My good friend Coya Paz has a website that details her letters to Target that is hilarious and poignant. If you have some time you should check it out.
I have been environmentally aware and concerned since high school, but I have never been a political person until the last few years. I never boycotted, always voted democrat w/o really paying attention to the issues; I honestly never really felt like my voice would make a difference anyway, so it was silly to upset my life over it. Sounds trite, but that's honest.
Now that I AM more aware, sometimes it becomes a difficult issue for another reason. Now that we have a family, we are always watching the dollar. Let's face it. Wal-mart and Target ARE cheaper. Wal-mart has had questionable practices for a long time. They are also not allowed in Chicago City Limits (I wonder how that will change once Daley is no longer Mayor...) However, when we were in Texas the last two years for Christmas, we bought all of our Christmas presents there because the other choice was to travel an hour to the mall and spend twice as much...
We have been staying away from Target, but we wanted to get Tony Jr a bike for his birthday and couldn't find any where else in Chicago we could get one for $50, so we bought it there...
Last night I went to Village Discount again, Sears, called Toys R Us and they had none... I went into Enjoy, an Urban General Store in Lincoln Square and they had two choices in Tony's size for $36. With tax it would be $39. I called Tony.
"It's $12 for your conscience." I bought the raincoat.
I have started seeing the same thing in theatre, now that I am friends with artists who are also activists. Some of my friends won't attend plays that don't have any artists of color working on the project. Some won't attend or work on projects with violence or nudity. Some actors won't swear. On the other hand, one person's bad politics is another person's "no big deal."
I still wrestle with where my line is. Most of the time I think that nudity onstage is unnecessary. Even when it seems integral, I feel like it could just as easily be done without it. There was a theatre group a few years back who did a play where at the end the actor came out naked with a mirror held up to the audience... I understand the message, I just think it could have been achieved another way. But I don't boycott, I just say "Well, that boob/penis wasn't needed." In the case of Angels in America or a play I saw in college called Purple Breasts, which was about breast cancer, it would be hard to see it without the nudity. Someone else may disagree.
If a playwright wrote a play whose message was that the Gulf spill wasn't a big deal or how the Holocaust didn't really happen, I can respect their right to write it, but I wouldn't go and support it. I don't wear clothes with labels promoting the store I bought it from because I can't be a part of that level of commercialism. I have a lot of friends who are gay, and a growing amount of friends who are immigrants or are descendants of immigrants, and I hate how hurtful and suffocating closed-mindedness can be...
...but I would probably have gone to Target last night so my kid didn't spend the day wet at school today, if Tony hadn't reminded me that it really was $12 for my conscience." Is that where my line is?