Thin Mints and Thick Rugs: Making the Right Choices
Every Girl Scout parent is well-acquainted with the dreaded cookie order form. There are 28 varieties of cookies. You have to decide on the quantity of boxes to order for each variety, find and mark your choices on the form, check and re-check, sum up each quantity and make sure there are no mistakes before submitting it for Girl Scout Cookie order processing and fulfillment.
In my case, however, the job is easy. That’s because there is only one variety of Girl Scout cookie that qualifies as vegan: Thin Mints. (It also happens to be a favorite in our family, which works out nicely!) Just as our family refrains from consuming foods containing animal products, we also refrain from buying non-vegan items for others or offering them for sale. Girl Scout cookies are no exception.
Despite a limited a product selection, my daughters were successful in their selling efforts. It helped that they set up shop near a metro train station during rush hour. Many people stopped to ask them questions about why they sell only Thin Mints, even though their signs already provided the explanation. What does it mean to be vegan? Why are they vegan? How long have they been vegan. Is it hard to be vegan? Is their puppy vegan too? (The answer to the latter question is: yes.)
The girls explained to anyone and everyone who would listen that they are proudly donating 10% of the proceeds from their cookie sales to Mercy For Animals, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping to end factory farm abuse (and an organization that Warm Fuzzies Place also supports). Upon hearing this, some people generously threw in a few extra bucks “to help the animals”. It was heartwarming to see. In the end, my daughters felt that they accomplished something more meaningful than just selling Girl Scout cookies.
Maybe in talking with my children some people learned something about milk and egg production and the fact that these foods do not represent humane choices. Maybe some came to realize that enjoying delicious treats, even Girl Scout cookies, is not incompatible with making humane choices. Maybe some people were even inspired to start checking ingredients on food labels and choosing more cruelty-free products for themselves and their families.
Of course, every merchandise item that is chosen for inclusion in our Warm Fuzzies Place collection is 100% free of animal products. Fortunately, when it comes to home decor, there are many more options than just “one variety of Girl Scout cookies” from which to choose.
There are, in fact, an amazingly vast variety of gorgeous rugs, pillows and throws. They come in all styles, shapes, sizes, textures and colors. Filtering out products that contain animal-sourced materials is easy in many cases, but always. Often, for example, we come across an amazing-looking cotton, jute or viscose product that we think would be a perfect addition to our collection only to discover, upon closer examination, that the thread contains a mix of wool or silk.
Just as we scrutinize the ingredients of food products, always on the lookout for that tiny amount of milk or whey that seems to pop up in the least expected places (thanks to the powerful dairy lobby), we conduct an enormous amount of due diligence on new items we consider for Warm Fuzzies Place to weed out any that may contain materials of animal origin. I’m sure I drive my manufacturing suppliers crazy when I insist on knowing whether something as seemingly insignificant as the felt on a rug pad contains wool particles. But we are committed to our cause and would rather find out right away that an item contains animal products rather than later, after we have already made it available to our customers and shipped out a hundred orders.
It is fair to assume that most of the people who stopped to buy a box of Thin Mints from my daughters at the train station that day do not subscribe to a plant-based lifestyle. It may have not mattered to them one bit that the cookies they bought are vegan. It did, however, matter to my children that what they shared with others was cruelty-free and that, just maybe, they educated a few strangers on their way home from work.
By the same token, I am certain that a large percentage of my customers come to Warm Fuzzies Place because they like our merchandise, our presentation and our prices. After all, synthetic and natural fiber rugs are popular with everyone. And who doesn’t want a price match guarantee? It matters to me, however, that everything we offer is 100% free of animal products. I hope that, over time, some of my non-vegan customers will come to appreciate their purchases for the cruelty-free aspect as much as for the outstanding quality and design.
Good choices. Good feeling. Warm fuzzies.
- paulina hubli