Yes, It Really Does Matter Where You Shop!

A few weeks ago we were in Charleston and I wanted one of those gorgeous handwoven seagrass baskets from The Market.   But since the teensy ones were around $25, I did not purchase one.   I did however, purchase this one from the store at Hyman’s Seafood.

Made in Vietnam, this basket looks very similar to the ones available at The Market … but only cost me $12.  It’s perfect for holding all my stationery.   I also bought this etched stone {from India} for only $4.  Both of these items, as well as many others available in this store, were “Fair Trade” labeled.

What is “Fair Trade”?  According to the Fair Trade website:

Fair Trade goods are just that. Fair. From far-away farms to your shopping cart, products that bear our logo come from farmers and workers who are justly compensated. We help farmers in developing countries build sustainable businesses that positively influence their communities. We’re a nonprofit, but we don’t do charity. Instead, we teach disadvantaged communities how to use the free market to their advantage. With Fair Trade USA, the money you spend on day-to-day goods can improve an entire community’s day-to-day lives.

For me, this is a simple way to apply principle nine from Richard Foster’s Celebration of Discipline: The Path to Spiritual Growth:

Reject anything that breeds the oppression of others. (94)

There are countless ways we can live out this principle … from buying coffee at a place like Wake Up coffee (my favorite local coffee shop) which offers products through Ten Thousand Villages and fair trade coffees to ordering gifts  from  World Crafts or WAR.

Do not oppress the widow, the fatherless, the sojourner, or the poor, and let none of you devise evil against one another your heart. Zechariah 7:10 ESV

The Lord’s heart beats for the poor and oppressed … as followers of Christ, we must be intentional about doing all we can in this area.   From helping the widows to providing homes for the orphans, from offering cold water to the homeless to freeing the oppressed – even through how we spend our money, we live out our faith in our actions toward and thoughts regarding the “least of these.”

Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this:  to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained by the world. James 1:27 ESV

How do you reject those things that breed oppression in the lives of others?

Read the Psalms this summer with Scripture Dig!


  1. We have a Fair Trade Market in Huntsville and I try to go there to purchase gifts for staff birthdays, etc. I also make it a point to try to support locally owned businesses.

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