Good, Fast, and Cheap: Pick Two

Most of us are stuck in a weird sort of limbo right now. We’re supposed to stay home, eat at home, work at home… Do everything at home. But for many of us, being at home more is new. We’re not used to it and we’re still figuring out how to adapt to this new reality. This new “being at home” thing doesn’t change the fact that we still need groceries and household products. Pre-COVID-19, many dealt with the paradox of whether products they purchased were good, cheap, or fast. Despite seemingly everything around us changing, this paradox lives on. How do we figure out what is important as consumers when we have much bigger issues to think about?

With job loss and more necessary budgeting, I have had to prioritize necessity over convenience and I know I am not alone in this. Money is tight for many people. Time seems to stretch on yet we want things to get to us as soon as possible because we can’t bear waiting any longer. It feels like in this age the concept of a good quality product is just not worth it anymore. We are often unwilling to consider where our products come from in order to get a product as soon as we want it. The need to get a product now seems to have outweighed any need to get an ethically-made product from a conscious business. 

Before Coronavirus and state-wide lockdowns, there were many places we could choose to shop. From online retailers, to small brick-and-mortar shops, we had a choice of where to buy what we needed. In the midst of this global pandemic, local businesses have shuttered their doors and we have turned to online shopping for everything from toothpaste to applesauce and socks. While our choices for where to shop haven’t completely gone away, they’ve just been altered. So I’ll leave you with this: make the best choices for you. Think about going to a local co-op grocery store or a farmer’s market. Look for gifts on places like Mindful Market to help support local businesses struggling right now. Utilize your pantry to reduce trips to the grocery store.

Products can’t be good, fast, and cheap, but you can choose which two you care most about and adapt your habits to fit which ones you chose. It’s hard not to give in to the giant retailer ruling everyone’s purchases and buy that toothpaste for three bucks so you can finally brush your teeth. But there is so much more out there in terms of responsible, ethical online retailers. Reframe the good, fast, cheap paradox as choosing between products and businesses that are conscious, gratifying, or quick. I implore you to do your research. Think about what you value most as a consumer and shop according to those values. Look around your home before going to the grocery store and make note of anything you’re running out of. Be conscious and aware of what a trip to the store means.  

We still have control over this situation, as much as it seems like we don’t. Now you get to decide which two… Good, fast, or cheap?

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Zoe Mitchell

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