Tom Maxwell wrote about his “Random Kindness Monday” on January 7th, 2013.
He hid 15 Starbucks gift cards, with thoughtful messages on the card sleeves, inside of women’s weight loss books at Chapters (a Canadian bookstore). Women who decide to leaf through those books, who in all likelihood do not feel comfortable with their own bodies, will stumble upon Tom’s kind gifts. Without a doubt, they’ll smile. Who wouldn’t love to find a Starbucks gift card with a note that professes your beauty or tells you, “You ARE loved” ? It’d make me smile.
As it turns out, this sort of thing is right up my alley. Reading Tom’s post has inspired me to pick my own random kindness day. I choose …. Friday : )
I like the idea of random acts of kindness, but not all purported kindnesses are helpful. For example, a while ago I read an article like this one on the dangers of the TOMS Buy One Give One (BOGO) donation/marketing model. Among the reasons for which BOGO isn’t actually helping is that TOMS ships in, “goods for free that outcompete local goods, it’s a short-term solution that could create long-term problems.” BOGO has a good chance of hurting those local economies, by outcompeting the local shoe markets.
Unfortunately, BOGO’s a bit like little Baldy in the above picture. Plants need rain to flourish and struggling economies need internal stimuli to grow. In all likelihood, we’re inadvertently stunting those economies. We don’t mean to, of course. We just mean to help, but that’s not what’s happening in the long run. TOMS has such powerful marketing that many people don’t consider this viewpoint. I wonder if TOMS thought through the implications of their BOGO model.
Anyway, there are some questions about the “green”-ness and conglomerate meanness of Starbucks, but I’ll leave that for another post. That aside, leaving a Starbucks gift card for someone to find is not going to hurt them, or our economy. It’ll simply spread a bit of joy and love to our neighbors. That is something I can get behind.
Peace, love, and RANDOM KINDNESS FRIDAYS, Y’ALL!