Shoppers looking for value find fair trade sales an appealing alternative to Black Friday consumerism. Offering gift items produced in developing countries by workers in sustainable and decent conditions who receive just wages, increased sales of fair trade products can create a better world.
El Paso’s Columban Mission Center hosts an annual Alternative Black Friday sale of fair trade products to support cooperatives and grass-roots organizations. Held the day after Thanksgiving, a day traditionally kicking off the holiday shopping season, their sale offers gifts with a difference.
From the perspective of values, fair trade gifts always offer “two for the price of one,” according to event vendors.
“Your gift gives twice here,” states Polly Edmunds of Border Partners, a local nonprofit organization working in the impoverished border community of Palomas, Mexico. Edmunds’ agency, a sponsor of sewing cooperative Palomas Oilcloth Designs, sells a colorful array of bags, aprons and table coverings produced by Mexican women at the Alternative Black Friday Sale.
Since families in Palomas live on incomes of less than $75 a week, she explains, “The Mexican women don’t have many options for selling their products in Mexico. When we sell them here in the United States, we can raise money that makes a real, concrete improvement in those families' lives.”
Event organizers also hope to combat comsumerism by offering an alternative.
“We promote this as an opportunity to not buy into the excessive consumerism of the holidays, but to really make a difference in someone’s life,” organizer Sister Janet Gildea explained to Fox News Latino.
Because there is “no middle man,” Gildea continues, more profit returns to the producers, thus promoting education, healthcare, and economic development in local impoverished communities.
“I think people come to buy [at] this sale because they’ve become more conscious of consumerism and if they are going to give gifts at Christmas, they really want to make them very conscious choices of who benefits,” said Gildea.
Vendor Andrea Tirres states: “It’s easy to purchase goods and to not have any reflection on how that purchase impacts people and so I think this [sale] really draws attention to how your money can make a difference.”
Many value-minded shoppers won’t limit themselves to Alternative Black Friday or fair trade items for their gift-giving. But shoppers with values are increasingly “thinking small,” preferring to support home-owned, local businesses and self-employed artisans rather than big-box stores and multinational corporations.
Fair trade sales provide an alternative to Black Friday Consumerism while offering the values-minded gift-giver a great value indeed.
El Paso, Texas: Alternative Black Friday Sale, November 23, 10 AM--3 PM; Columban Mission Center, 816 Magoffin Avenue.
Fair Trade, Wikipedia
Fox News Latino, El Paso Has an Alternative to Black Friday 11/26/2011