Sunday, April 10, 2011

Skipping the Middleman

While in the store yesterday, I came across some notebooks. According to the sticker on the cover they were 100% recycled, and if I bought one, the company would donate one just like it to a needy child. So far, so good. "Get one, give one" programs are nothing new, and seem like a decent enough way to put the average American's tendency towards slacktivism to good use.

But when I picked up the notebook and turned it over, I was in for a bit of a surprise. The price tag read $11.49. For a 5 x 7 inch notebook. This immediately banished any chance of a warm, fuzzy feeling if I purchased this notebook. Surely, I reasoned, I could go to Staples or OfficeMax, and find a six-pack of environmentally friendly notebooks for about the same price. I could just keep one, and donate the rest myself, and do a lot more good for some needy children somewhere. It turns out that I can't quite manage that, but I can do better than just one to donate, depending on which brand I go with. I can also do better than 5 x 7 inches.

But that required doing some research into the topic, which I suppose sort of defeats the purpose of slacktivism in the first place. So I'm still not sure if the ability to tap into our feelings of wanting to do good, but at the same time not do much is a feature or a bug.

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