7 Reasons Why Online Shopping Is Better

7 Reasons Why Online Shopping Is Better

It's much more easier for me to sit at home, find what I like and have it delivered to my front door.
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We all love shopping for many reasons. Weather it be shopping for shoes or home appliances or even cars, we all have something we want to buy. Online shopping is easy. I personally think online shopping is better than in-store shopping.

Read my reasons below to find out why I and many others are online shopaholics:

1. More convenient and comfortable

It's much more easier for me to sit at home, find what I like and have it delivered to my front door. You don't have to worry about finding a parking space, or wasting gas. You can just sit home and do all your shopping from any store.

2. You have more options online than in store

It's true. Online shopping gives you a much better variety than in-store, there's a worldwide selection of a specific product than you might want. Also most times many things you find online might not be available in stores.

3. You get to avoid people

Don't you hate when you go out and see someone you know and wish you hadn't left your house? If you're more like me, you like to avoid the crowd and the salespeople when shopping. You can stay home and shop without having to wait in long lines and babies who won't stop crying.

4. Best deals

Online shopping gives you cheaper deals and even discount codes that you can apply. You can select "low to high" and save tons of money if you know what you're doing. Online stores even have their own "sales" or "clearance" sections to shop from.

5. It feels like Christmas when your package arrives

Who doesn't like the feeling of opening up a package. That's honestly the best part for me. It's so exciting when your clothes or whatever you buy arrives. It's more comfortable to try your clothes out at home and if you don't like what you got than it's not to hard to get a refund.

6. Reviews

Online shopping gives you many benefits for reviving the best products. You're able to compare different products and find the right prices. If you don't know if you should buy those jeans, read the reviews to see if other people liked it or not. When you buy things at the stores, you don't get reviews.

7. You can shop anytime of the day

This is another reason why online shopping is better. You can shop even when the store you need to shop at is closed and even if you don't have transportation. You can fit it into your schedule easily.

Sure shopping online has its negative aspects, but the positives overcome the negative. From my perspective, I seem to enjoy it more and if you prefer to shop in person that's fun to, after all, it's shopping!

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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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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14 Useful Student Discounts You NEED To Be Taking Advantage Of

If you visit or shop at any of these places and are a student make sure you ask about discounts.
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As college students we are always looking for ways to save money and many places offer student discounts. These places can be actual physical buildings or online services. Here are some you need to take advantage of.

1. Apple Music

Apple offers half off of Apple Music for college students. You use your school email to sign up and confirm. They also offer around $200 off of a Mac for students.

2. Spotify/Hulu

These come in a bundle and it's a really great deal. You get both of these services for $5.99 a month with your student discount.

3. Amazon

Amazon Prime is free for students for six months and then $49 after that six months is up. This is still a good deal if you use Amazon a lot because it would normally cost about $100.

4. FedEx Office

Students can get 30% off documents and 20% off shipping with your student I.D.

5. Eddie Bauer

The discounts here can vary. Show your student I.D. and see what they have to offer.

6. Subway

Certain Subway restaurants offer a 10% discount with a student I.D.

7.Chick-Fil-A

At most CFA locations they offer a free drink with student I.D.

8. Kroger

If you happen to go to school near a Kroger you can 5% off on food.

9. 24 Hour Fitness

Students can get special pricing when they show their student I.D. at sign-up.

10. AMC Theatre

On Thursday students can show their I.D. and get in to movies for a cheaper price.

11. STA Travel

This was created just for students. If you plane to travel you can check and see if you are eligible for special pricing.

12. Under Armour

Verify that you are a student with UNIDAYS and receive a 10% discount.

13. Insurance Companies

Several insurance companies off discounts if you have good grades. Check with your company to see what is available for you.

14. Buffalo Wild Wings

Show your student I.D. and receive up to 10% off your order.

These are just a few of the many places that offer discounts to college students. So the next time you go out ask if they offer student discounts, the worst they can do is say no and saving money is always good.

Cover Image Credit: Brandy Melville/Instagram

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