Food For Thought Friday: A Model for Honest Retail

I am deep into my apparel coursework, a part of which emphasizes the business of retail, ethical practices and consumer behavior.

If nothing else has been gained by this study, I have been prompted to think a lot about how we as business owners, do business, and as consumers, what our role is in the support of business and ethical implications.

Most recently, we watched this video about the founder of JCPenney’s , James Cash Penney. I had no idea about the humble roots of the now quite large retailer. And J.C. Penney himself was a man of character we sorely lack in the 21st century. He believed that through hard work and high moral standard, a man held the key to a good life and could accomplish his goals. Fitting that his success began at a store called the Golden Rule.

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    In accordance to his high moral standard, one principle that J.C. Penney firmly believed in was a cash-only policy, for the reason that you do not want to unwittingly drive a family into financial difficulty through credit lending. A quick peek at our current consumer debt crisis and it is not hard to see why he held firm to this stance. This policy wouldn’t change in his company until he was well advanced in age and out-voted by the board who wanted to issue credit cards like all the other department stores, seeing as a way to stay competitive. While I wouldn’t say that I agreed with all of the ways in which he chose to operate his life and his business, I will say that he is a man to admire for his outstanding resilience and solid moral foundation.

As we venture into the holiday season, preparing our hearts for Christmas, I just want to prod you to think about who and what you are supporting with your purchases, give a little small business love (and any big businesses that have managed to keep their soul) and never forget the dignity of your fellow man whether they are ringing up your purchases at the store, delivering your Christmas mail, waiting for your Food Shelf donation, or driving slowly in front of you in traffic.

Next week: An exercise in Thanksgiving (a simple thing that you can do too)

Happy December!

xoxo Kait


It’s good to give full disclosure: link to JCPenney Biography provided via my affiliation with I make a small commission if you find it worthy of purchase; content remains unchanged for you, and I only provide links that I personally recommend, Amazon does not suggest, request or dictate any content published here whatsoever. All other links are simply via my own suggestion, not affiliated with any organization at all.


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