I make choices every day in the ways in which I choose to spend our money. We all do. I also frequently make compromises when I make those choices. I think most of us do. For example, I was at Ace on Saturday, looking at shower heads for our new (!!!!) shower. I picked up the one I wanted, which is the same one we had installed in our upstairs shower, and looked at where it had been made. China. I picked up another brand and guess what? China. And the third one? China. I had exhausted all of the brands and left the store after purchasing the one I had initially wanted. I didn’t feel great about it, but I left the store unconvinced that I could find a shower head that was made stateside. I was bummed.
On the other hand, Aaron & Bear & I were recently at Costco and trying to find puppy treats that weren’t made in China. This search was prompted by some news about unsafe Chinese dog treats, as well as Gracie getting sick not too long after ingesting some previously purchased Costco treats made across the Pacific (whether it was related to the origin of the treats is unknown). After seeing “Made in China” a couple of times, we found some made in the old U.S. of A. and smiled broadly. Hooray! It was a small victory, of course, but we relished it. And so did puppy.
On yet another hand, I buy a million things all the time without even looking at where they are made. I’m not proud of this, but I admit it. I try hard to make more informed choices. I try to buy local, but I admit to frequent trips to Target and tons of internet shopping. I love to patronize local eateries, but I also adore a McDonald’s diet Coke more often than not.
In any event, one place that I hope that I can always say – unless their practices change drastically – I have never purchased anything from is Wisconsin’s own, Menards. It makes me sad that it’s a Wisconsin-owned company that tops my list for ‘most abhorrent business,’ but so be it. I’m sure there are other companies that are as bad as Menards (which makes me sad to say), but because it’s a *local* company, I pay closer attention to its wrongdoings.
For me, it all started when I started seeing Ben. I wasn’t really aware of Menards before becoming close to Ben. I mean, I knew it existed, but I never thought much about it. Ben used to say we could never spend our money there — something to do with dumping in the Eau Claire River. That was pretty much good enough for me. I was, after all, only 22 years old. That prohibition stayed with me a long time, though. Probably, at least in part, because it was never a great sacrifice to boycott Menards.
Time marched on, as it does, and then came this. Of course the lawsuit and the illegal, immoral and abhorrent behavior leading up to this came well before the supreme court’s decision, but the decision highlighted for the country the indefensible behavior of the Menard company.
A couple of weeks ago, I was talking to our contractor about what we wanted done in the basement to make it something we can live with for the next few years. He had previously spoken the taboo word ‘Menards’ to me, but I had been able to ignore it. This time, after telling me the best selection for a certain item was at Menards, I told him, somewhat sheepishly, that I could not shop at Menards. He said, “Yeah, well, John Menard is a pri–” and cut himself off. I stepped in. “He’s an ass%^&$#,” I said. The contractor then rattled off to me how much Menard is delinquent in his state taxes. He made it more than clear that he is not a fan.
For whatever reason, I was thinking about all of this today. And so I did a little Google search while Bear was napping and I came across this. In case I wasn’t clear, I’ll never shop at Menards. I guess I hope you won’t, either.