The Golden Rule of Shopping

We’re all familiar with it – The Golden Rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”. This sentiment appears to be universal. It’s golden in its simplicity, that we would treat others as we would like them to treat us. Here are several Golden Rules that span both time and cultures:

The Golden Rules

• Secular: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”

• New Testament: “Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them” (Matthew 7:12)

• Old testament: Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself” (Leviticus 19:18)

• Islamic: “No one of you is a believer until he loves for his brother what he loves for himself” (Al-Nawawai, 13)

But, what does the Golden Rule have to with shopping? In a word (okay, two words), a lot. Consumption and ethics can’t be separated. Consumption is a moral matter because it “raises issues of fairness, self versus group interests and immediate versus delayed gratification” (Wilk, 2001).

Let me demonstrate how the decisions we make as consumers reveal a lot about who we are. I call this The Golden Rule Acid test. Psychologist, Clayton Tucker-Ladd, has asked hundreds of college students over the years the following question which I would now like to ask you:

                                        The Golden Rule Acid Test

Is it morally just and fair to be free to have plenty to eat, nice clothes, luxuries, time and money for fun, TV, and comforts, while others in the world are starving, uneducated, and in poor health?
Circle one: Yes No

This question hit me like a ton of bricks. Maybe we all need to step back and reconsider what our spending says about us as human beings. For many of us, it appears that the Golden Rule of Shopping has taken a back seat to our desire for money and Shiny Objects. It’s time we all start practicing checkbook morality.

Consider Shiny Objects as a Christmas gift for someone you love.

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