In the course of my “real” job, I ran across this post about Tom’s – the famous shoe company that promotes buy one, give one away.
I had a pretty high regard for Tom’s. I thought that it was a socially responsible company, but after reading the above post and this one, coupled with the book I am reading, Naked Fashion, I realize that while their intentions may be good, they really are going all about it the wrong way. The best way for me to sum it up is this:
Give a man a fish, you feed him for a day, teach a man to fish and you feed him for life.
Tom’s is giving the fish away, and the sad part is that there are already plenty of fish. The people in these countries aren’t looking for fish, they are looking for a way to build a viable economy that can sustain them. When foreign aid comes in the manner of free goods, it undermines the local economy.
I guess I won’t be buying those Tom’s shoes after all. Instead, I am eyeing the shoes made by Nisolo. I’m digging their Bolivar Wedge.