When we shop, we generally like to get as much as possible for as little as possible. It is the selfish engine that drives the market system which, in turn, rules the world. But a system built on selfishness is fundamentally flawed, undoubtedly ungodly, and needs to be held in check by robust laws.
Trading standards legislation is nothing new. The book of Deuteronomy which, in parts, dates back 3.5 thousand years, contains clear instruction on swift payment, animal welfare and standard measures - all issues that are at the forefront of trading standards today.
However, while trading laws are a good thing, they are constantly under pressure from the lust for profit (on one hand) and for a bargain (on the other).
But there is another way to think about shopping. Turn your thinking around. Rather than asking: which shall I get? think: who shall I pay? I have just tried it. Driven in search of a coffee shop by unexpected rain, I made myself think differently. I put aside my usual thinking: who’s coffee do I prefer? or, who’s coffee is cheapest? Instead, I asked myself: which of these coffee providers shall I hand my money to, and why?
Every time we shop, this question is there for us. Which shop shall I support? Which manufacturer or producer? Which country of origin? These are powerful questions, and if we answer them wisely, we have power to change the world for good.
So, next time you buy something, don’t just think about what is the best or cheapest product. Also consider what is the best or most laudable supplier. If you do that, an underpaid, overworked, undervalued labourer - possibly in some distant corner of the planet - will be better off. And God will smile.