Can You Can Trust Your Purchases 100%


Last Saturday morning, it happened. I failed.

I failed at my second-hand-gift-giving-with-pride quest.

I found myself once again in a toy shop on a Saturday morning desperately looking for a present for a 5-year-old girls birthday party we were attending that day. Plus, I had Miss Logical in tow with me which made the trip all the more challenging fun.

I envied her carefree nature as she threw suggestions at me from around the store without a thought of the bigger picture going on behind our purchase.

But of course my mind was in overdrive, I couldn’t let go of the predicament I’d found myself in and had to hold my tongue. Our dance went a little like this:

Miss Logical: Princess costume?
My Illogical Mind: What if it was made in a sweat shop?

Miss Logical: Cupcake Maker?
My Illogical Mind: That is a piece of crap plastic that will break on first use.

Miss Logical: Craft Set?
My Illogical Mind: What if the paper comes from an endangered Indonesian rain forest which has been cleared and pushed orangutans to extinction

Miss Logical: Toy Story doll?
My Illogical Mind: That one is just waaaayyyy out of our price range my friend

As I chased her around the shop I felt like screaming ‘Miss Logical, stop! We don’t know that brand, we don’t know what conditions it was made in, it has no longevity and don’t get me started on the packaging!! Okay?’

But there is a part of me that wants my already quite serious daughter to make it to, I don’t know, age 10? before I introduce her to the harsh realities that control my every decision.

The truth was I was annoyed at myself. I hadn’t been organised. True, it was an invite to a party I wasn’t expecting but I had let the stocks of my present box run low to the point I had nothing.

Actually, that’s not entirely true.

(Deep breath)

I had a second-hand Barbie in my present box with an outfit that would have gone down well with a little TLC but… I just couldn’t be arsed.

And there it is. I just could not be arsed. I was tired, it was raining, we’d had a lot on and I wanted to spend my Saturday morning sitting in my pyjamas eating toast, not trying to make a second-hand present look beautiful.

Heavy sigh.

We did eventually find a present that I was okay with and Miss Logical was happy with too – a new Barbie instead of a second-hand one.

I felt okay with this because:

  • I supported local business by buying from our local toy store.
  • I know the product will last as the fact Miss Logical is currently playing with my own Barbie collection is testament to that.
  • I know that Mattel have come along in leaps and bounds with their sustainable practices by reducing the amount of packaging in their products and under pressure from Greenpeace and consumers, no longer use packaging from Asia Pulp and Paper (APP), a pulp and paper company notorious for destroying Indonesian rainforests.

But… theres always a but.

After doing a little extra research since said purchase, I found that despite Mattel claiming all of its manufacturers are certified and randomly inspected by the International Council of Toy Industries (ICTI), this certification really isn’t worth the paper it’s written on and according to a 2011 article, many manufacturing plants certified by ICTI fell well short of responsible working conditions for toy workers.

However two years on, Mattel is now rated in a list of 145 companies considered the World’s Most Ethical. If you were to read either of these articles in isolation, you would walk away with two completely different opinions.

So how do we know what to believe? I really don’t know, that’s the whole point. How can you be sure you have the most up to date facts when there is an overwhelming amount of information out there?

The good news is this slip in my second-hand-gift-giving-with-pride quest has reminded me why I should be arsed and will be arsed next time.

Because it matters, it’s important to only purchase goods that you trust have been made ethically and sustainably.

For now, I’m going to find out what are some better choices I can make for when the Can’t-Be-Arsed times happen again… because they inevitably will.

What products if any do you buy first hand that you have complete trust in?

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