15 Reasons Why Online Shopping Is Better Than In-Store Shopping

15 Reasons Why Online Shopping Is Better Than In-Store Shopping

Online Shopping Takes The Cake
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Online shopping is one of those things that you either love or hate. Shopping in person can be pretty fun and is a good way to bond with friends or see things in person before you buy them, but online shopping still takes the cake as my preferred shopping technique. Online shopping is one of the best things to come out of the Internet and can be used to order anything under the sun. There are many reasons why I love online shopping. Here are the top 15 reasons why online shopping is better than shopping in the store.

1. You can wear your pajamas and don't have to leave your bed.

Don't feel like dressing up? You don't have to.

2. You can search directly for what you want instead of looking around a store.

There's no search bar at the store. Instead of walking around for hours to find that jacket you want, you can just search for it online and find it in a few minutes.

3. You don't have to ask people for help.

It is the perfect way to avoid awkward small talk and you don't have to rely on the sales people to find things for you.

4. There are more options to choose from.

The internet is full of different stores. Almost every store usually has more items online than they do at their in-store locations too.

5. It is more exciting to anticipate getting a package in the mail than to just buy it and get it right away.

Receiving a package in the mail is like getting a gift from yourself.

6. There's no waiting in line.

Not having to wait in line at checkout is one of the best things about online shopping. You can pay whenever you want.

7. You have more time to think before impulse buying.

If you're unsure about a purchase, you can just close your computer and buy it later.

8. You don't have to worry about parking.

Parking is the worst and on weekends it is almost impossible to find a parking spot at the mall or grocery store.

9. There are more sales and you can use coupon codes.

You can use as many coupons as you want without looking like one of those crazy coupon hoarders.

10. You can shop at any time.

Want to shop at midnight? No worries. Malls and stores usually don't open until 9 a.m. and close around 10 p.m.

11. No carrying bags.

Your arms will thank you later.

12. You don't have to worry about starting an awkward conversation when you see someone you know at the store.

One of the worst things about going to the store is that moment when you see your old math teacher who hated you or some person you barely talk to and are forced to strike up a conversation.

13. It is easier to compare prices between stores.

You can keep multiple tabs open on your computer and compare prices for the best deal. This definitely beats that moment when you see that sweater you bought for full price on sale at another store.

14. There are no pushy sales people following you around.

You have the freedom to browse as much and for as long as you want without judgment.

15. You can see reviews of the product before you buy it.

A sales person is never going to tell you if one of their products is bad, but the people of the internet are brutally honest and will guide you in the right direction on what to buy.

Cover Image Credit: mandalaybay.com

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5 Companies That Still Use Slave Labor

Let's talk about the modern slave trade.
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Growing up in a country where freedom is always a right and expectation — whether you live in the United States or one of the other 86 "free" countries — it is easy to believe that, compared to the well-known 1800s slave trade, we are doing pretty well when it comes to civil liberties, freedom, and overall social welfare. Documents such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948) have been approved by the General Assembly of the United Nations, meaning that the vast majority of nations have agreed that every individual has the right to basic human dignity.

Despite this significant progress, however, there are 45.8 million people enslaved today, more than any other time in world history. The United States Department of Homeland Security has launched the Blue Campaign in light of this growing industry, hoping to raise awareness of the human trafficking that persists in local communities. Additionally, you can watch this video for a summary on the Global Slavery pandemic. I will write about the problem of human trafficking in the United States on another day; however, global slavery affects us whether it is in our city or halfway around the world. In fact, companies that you purchase from every single day use slave labor for their work instead of paying employees a fair wage.* Don't believe me?

Here are five companies that are using slave labor to make their products TODAY, and where you should shop instead.

Nestle

Nestle is one of the largest companies that has consistently carried out human rights violations all over the world. Not only did they illegally take water from California during the drought in 2015, but in the 1970s they got third-world mothers to use infant formula by selling it at reduced prices, and then when the mothers could no longer breastfeed, they raised the price of formula so much that many children were malnourished and starving.

Their most recent problems revolve around slavery in the cocoa industry. In 2009 several former child slaves sued Nestle because they were trafficked and forced to work on Nestle farms in Cote d'Ivoire. Another suit was filed by former child slaves in 2014, stating that "Studies by International Labour Organization, UNICEF, the Department of State, and numerous other organizations have confirmed that thousands of children are forced to work without pay in the Ivorian economy." In 2016, the Fair Labor Association executed an assessment of Nestle in Cote d'Ivoire. They claimed that 70% of Nestle farms were not trained on the prohibition of forced labor. Further, they stated that "there is no process in place to monitor, report, and remediate cases of forced labor at the farms." With this in mind, they did find evidence of potential forced and uncompensated labor. Additionally, they found evidence of child labor—many of these children never enrolling in school — in which children were getting paid little to nothing, and often working in dangerous conditions.

INSTEAD: buy from Ben & Jerry's or Theo. They will satisfy your sweet tooth and are Fair-Trade guaranteed.

Nike

Nike has REALLY cleaned up their act in the last several years, but with a standard of no slave labor, they still have quite a way to go. In 1992, activist Jeff Ballinger published an exposé in "Harpers" that revealed the story of a child in Indonesia working in disgusting conditions, and for a mere 14 cents per hour (far below the minimum wage in Indonesia at the time).

Since then, Nike has begun to report supply chain information. The most recent report claims that, in 2016, only 86% of their factories were up to the minimum standards they set. Though they give a good indication of how far the company has come, these standards are set by Nike and assessed internally, making it difficult to compare standards to a universal one.

INSTEAD: shop at Patagonia! All products here are Fair Trade Certified!

Starbucks

Starbucks claims a mission for ethical sourcing, meaning their company policy requires them to abide by a standard of "ethical sourcing" that they have created. They only have two Fair-Trade coffees available for purchase. After the development charity Oxfam reported that Starbucks was depriving Ethiopian coffee growers of $90 million every year, Starbucks was challenged by the public eye to “clean up their act,” and did so by creating their own “ethical sourcing” standards, that they implement themselves, and certify 99% of their coffee with. Whether or not these standards are viable, they are not Fair Trade Certified at this time.

The U.S. Department of Labor has a list of locations and goods that use forced and child labor. Starbucks lists coffees from countries such as Guatamala, Kenya, Costa Rica and Panama; however, none of these single-sourced coffees are certified by them as “Fair Trade.” Rather, they are all regions that are known to use child labor.

INSTEAD: buy the Starbucks Italian Roast and Café Estima; they are certified by Fair Trade! You can also order online from Café Justo, Jurang and Equal Exchange —entire companies dedicated to producing Fair Trade coffee.

H&M

A 2016 report stated that as of December 31, 2015, 31 out of 72 H&M suppliers were using illegal contracts. In other words, these contracts allowed for wrongful termination. Now I know what you are thinking: the current system of hiring/firing in the U.S. is full of problems, and it takes way too much work to fire a bad employee in most cases. Well, the situation in countries like Cambodia and India are a little different. Often times, employees of H&M will be forced to work for excessive overtime hours—far beyond the legal limit—with no increase in their weekly take home pay. They are also often working in sweatshop conditions, with no breaks and unsanitary environments. Moreover, the contracts allow the factory to fire a worker for refusing to work these long hours. In fact, a garment worker in Cambodia stated: "We often get sick around once a month. We don’t eat enough and work too much trying to maximize the piece rate. Also, we don’t stop to go to the bathroom. We often work through lunch breaks or go back into work early, so there is hardly any time to rest."

INSTEAD: shop at one of these other retailers that are guaranteed to have fair-trade labor!

Walmart

Well, this one is probably the least suprising yet. According to a 2016 report by the Wage Alliance on Walmart's value chain, Walmart refused to sign the 2013 Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh that 200 companies signed following the collapse of Rana Plaza. It also stated that all 14 factories in Cambodia were studied, and they all violated local overtime laws consistently, with some forcing 14 hour work days without overtime pay "in sweltering heat, without adequate supply of clean drinking water or any breaks." These same conditions were expressed by workers in factories in India, Indonesia, and Bangladesh. The report continued to list countless instances of workers given severely less than they were promised, or even cases where owners of factories fled without paying workers at all.

INSTEAD: OK, I know it's hard to pass up Walmart prices. However, here is a full list of companies that are fair trade. Even if you start small, I know you can find a way to cut back on your slavery footprint! Want to know how many slaves work for you now? Visit the Slavery Footprint mission to find out.

*I use the term “fair wage” because many people who are enslaved are trapped in a cycle of debt bondage. This means that an individual or family works for pennies per hour to pay off an ever-increasing debt. Oftentimes this debt is passed down for generations. To learn more about debt bondage and other forms of slavery, visit the non-profit End Slavery Now, here.

Cover Image Credit: iragelb / Flickr

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The Best Places To Shop When You're A College Kid On A Budget, Or Just Anyone On A Budget

Who doesn't love saving money?

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Shopping is one of my favorite past time. I mean, who doesn't love to shop?! However, as a college student on a budget, I don't get to shop as much as I would like to. Thankfully, I've found some stores that sell quality clothing that are affordable for college students. So rather than keeping all these secrets to myself, I thought I would share them all with you beautiful people.

Old Navy

This is one of my favorite stores. Roughly 90% of my clothing comes from here. Not only are they super affordable,but they are almost always having some kind of sale to make you feel just a little bit better about shopping.

Burlington Brands

If you have one of these around you, I highly suggest checking it out. They usually always have a sale or awesome deals. Stock up on all of your clothes for a small price tag.

Forever 21

Forever 21 always has affordable clothing and they have something that everyone can find and enjoy. Forever 21 is my go-to place for when I need a quick, cheap outfit.

Shein

Shein is one of those hit or miss online stores. However, if you know what you're looking for and you check the reviews and make sure that you order the right size, you can find some great clothes without breaking the bank.

H&M

This is my favorite stores to get the basics that everyone needs in their closet without paying an arm and a leg.

Amazon

I knew Amazon had everything, but I didn't realize that they had EVERYTHING. Amazon has clothes for everyone of every size. They're nice quality and nice looking clothes that won't break the bank. (Plus, free shipping with Amazon Prime)

Honey

Honey isn't a clothing store, but it will help you save money while you're online shopping. Honey is a free web browser extension that searches the internet for coupons while you shop, and applies the coupon that will save the most money before you check out. I've been using for a couple of months and it's so exciting to watch my total drop, thanks to honey.

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