So I did a thing. A sweet teenager, probably 13 or so, came to my door with his dad. They were selling chocolate for a school trip.
I regretfully but likely condescendingly, smiled & told them 'No, sorry. It isn't fair trade.'
Cacao is notorious as one of many commodities us humans exploit one another for. It's responsible for child labour & slavery. Purdy's claims to give farmers fair prices & conditions, to only purchase sustainable cacao, & ensure people are treated properly. What they don't have is the 'Fair Trade' recognization on their labels. While it's true they can do as they claim without the designation, the fact is, I don't believe them. They are big business & they didn't bother to get the official recognition which even the smallest companies do.
There are no checks, no accountability to their claim.
As the father-son duo walk away I hear the father explain to his son what fair trade is. I thought that was awesome.
So I'm sweeping my floor, remembering my days of selling Brownie Cookies (ahem, full of palm oil don't buy them...), Jump Rope For Heart drives, & UNICEF at Halloween. Everyone was always so nice to me.
I thought 'It's so great that kids still do that sort of things these days. Too bad they're selling junk.'
This is when I start reflecting on travel & how great that trip to Japan will be & how the many journeys I've taken changed my life & shaped me.
That's when I knew I'd totally blown it.
I humed & hawed about what I should do & finally jumped in my car, tracked them down, & apologized for being a total prat. Then I handed the young traveler to be $20, told him I think he's awesome, & asked him to learn more about chocolate trade in the world when he got home.
I doubt I made an impact at the end of the day but at least I saved a situation. My self-righteousness was not constructive (it never is). Instead of gaining an ally to a cause I find incredibly important, I would have alienated someone right as they are coming of purchasing power age.
It's really easy to get frustrated when we see the choices people make but pushing at them & judging them is not going to get the results we want. It will do the opposite.
Be kind. Be patient. Never give up.
PS Ditch the straw!