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I am declaring open season on myself.

How Can I Justify This Deeply Unethical Purchase?

Readers.

I have a confession to make.

I am not the righteous and principled person I pretend to be on Tumblr.

When we were in Orlando for FinCon, I had one extra day and night to spend any way that I chose.

On my one night free in the city, I walked a three mile pilgrimage from my Airbnb to visit Pulse. Like most people who visit the site of horrible violence, I processed by considering that violence through a selfish lens. These people were my people. This could’ve been me. I thought a lot about the kind of life I want to lead, and how much that life depends on the kindness of others. It left me feeling somehow rejuvenated and drained at once.

The next morning I visited the Harry P. Leu Gardens, because I am the world’s oldest young person. I confess that I have a fascination with this one very niche kind of tourist attraction: the palatial estates of long-dead industry barons transformed into indoor/outdoor botanical art museums. I. Love. Them. I posted many cute photos on Instagram, which were liked by all the people at FinCon I’d drunkenly passed out my personal Instagram to. (By the way we are on Instagram now, but it’s all just pictures of food, dogs, and chickens. If you’re into that, add us @BGRKitty and @BGRPiggy!)

But then…

With my last remaining afternoon in Orlando…

I…

…went to SeaWorld.

YES, I AM ASHAMED

I am not fucking proud of the fact that I went to SeaWorld

Let me invite you into my ethical dilemma.

I love roller coasters.

I love roller coasters so much that, when the ride is over, I laugh like a happy baby until the person strapped in next to me says “Wow, you must really love roller coasters!” It happens every time, because an adult woman laughing like a happy baby is actually super disturbing and not cute. People get anxious, and try to diffuse the awkwardness by saying “Wow, I’m going to assume that you have a good reason for making me feel so creeped out!”

I can ride them again and again and again. If I’m at an amusement park with other people, they usually beg off after the first one or two, needing a break for their weak mortal stomachs. Not I. Hey NASA! Your girl is right here, ready for her astronaut training!

My partner, comically, has terrible motion sickness. He cannot ride boats, let alone roller coasters. So for as long as I’ve been with him, I haven’t been on any roller coasters. (It’s not like an “ohhh, I can’t go anywhere without my BoYfRiEnD” thing. It’s more like “it’s rude to plan a date that requires a three-hour round-trip drive and $80 tickets when only one person will actually enjoy themselves” thing.)

But this was my big chance! I was alone, in Orlando, in September, on a weekday. All the kiddies were back in school, and the parks were as empty as Mitch McConnell’s locker on Valentine’s Day. This was my moment to drink from the cup of roller coasters until I drowned in it.

So I looked up which parks had the best roller coasters.

The fastest? It’s at SeaWorld.

The tallest? It’s at SeaWorld.

The longest? It’s at SeaWorld.

The second longest? It’s at SeaWorld.

Orlando’s only flying coaster? It’s at SeaWorld.

Orlando’s first coaster with virtual reality elements? It’s at SeaWorld.

… Shit.

My dreams were about to hit the brick wall of an ethical dilemma.

The problem with SeaWorld

Most of you will have heard by now that SeaWorld is the worst.

They kidnap highly intelligent, highly social animals from the wild and stick them in substandard concrete tanks to perform tricks for greasy tourists and their bored children. Their living conditions are deplorable, and they die young. Worse still, the stress of their living situation causes them to become violent against humans, other animals, and themselves. And SeaWorld has gone to great lengths to cover all this shit up and silence its critics, especially when those critics are former employees.

Basically SeaWorld really sucks.

The company’s response to the explosive documentary Blackfish was basically to greenwash themselves.

They ended some of their most egregious practices (like forced captive breeding for Orcas). But most changes seemed to have more to do with wrapping themselves in a cloak of corporate social responsibility.

The fundamental problem of the park hasn’t changed. Their dolphin program is still going strong—and dolphins are no more ethical to keep than orcas. They’re just not the animal on the cover of the super-duper critical documentary that everybody saw.

I love animals. I even love people! Sorta. (Ughhh, I can visualize a lie-detector needle jumping like a popcorn kernel in hot oil on that last one but it is abstractly true.) I’m not spending my hard-earned money at a place that abuses both the animals and workers in their care.

So I vowed not to go.

Don't fuck with whales, m'kay?

BTW, here’s a few of our animal love articles…

The itch

I visited Islands of Adventure with Piggy, as we wrote about here. As we got in line for the Incredible Hulk roller coaster, she looked back at me briefly, then did a double-take.

“Oh my god, your face!

I thought she was telling me I was getting sunburnt. (Hi, I’m extremely white!) But she was referring to the look of radiant joy on my face as we breezed through the queue. I felt like I was walking through the gates of Heaven. I rode five roller coasters that day with Piggy. After she left for the airport, I rode four more alone.

And they were honestly all pretty meh?! (Note from Piggy: Kitty is a lunatic adrenaline junkie and she is not to be trusted. Those roller coasters were great as far as us average Earth humans are concerned.)

The Incredible Hulk has a fantastic start—truly, one of the best I’ve ever experienced—but a ho-hum middle and an abrupt, unsatisfying end.

The Harry Potter robocoaster was fascinating and innovative, but quite tame. Lots of lurching movements and sensory confusion, but no actual high speeds or inversions.

The Jurassic Park ride was laughably phoned-in. The introductory animatronic dinosaur was an absolutely wretched brontosaurus sporting a heinous case of scoliosis. Whoever approved this ride should see me after class.

Flight of the Hippogriff? Brief and trivial. Dudley Do-Right’s Ripsaw Falls? A respectable classic hobbled by only one real fall. Doctor Doom’s Fear Fall? Don’t even get me started. That “ride” should be embarrassed to exist in the same world as the Tower of Terror.

I left Universal Studios feeling fundamentally unsatisfied, and I started to think about SeaWorld again. I fell asleep in my Airbnb contemplating this question: If I really want to purchase something that I know is unethical, how can I mitigate the effects of that choice?

How do we handle unethical spending?

Unless you are a pretty serious backwoods type, you probably buy products every single day that are unethical to some degree.

Gasoline and electricity and air travel are horrible pollutants. Most of our food, clothing, and technology is produced under oppressive conditions for workers. Major institutions that power modern life, like banks and chain stores and utility providers, are rife with exploitative practices.

It’s hard to point to any one thing you can buy and say it isn’t making the planet sicker, or further entrenching a system of globalized poverty. It’s a fucking bummer to think about. But at least most of these represent necessities. What happens when you don’t need something? And you just really, really want it?

How do you handle craving a Chick-fil-A sandwich, knowing that you don’t agree with their stance on social issues?

What happens when you value the convenience of Amazon Prime, but you’re also aware of their awful treatment of warehouse workers?

If your favorite hobbies are made easier with access to an SUV, how do you justify the much larger carbon footprint?

Well, sometimes you can’t, and that’s probably good. But here are some strategies.

FUCKIN YEHAW MAN

Make a good faith search for alternatives

When faced with unethical purchases, the very least you can do is to fully understand the choice you are making.

Let’s say your favorite pizza chain is Papa John’s. (No one actually loves Papa John’s so this is obviously hypothetical.) Let’s also say you’re grossed out by founder John Schnatter’s shitty politics and disgusting, naked racism.

In good faith, you should not order another one of Papa John’s rancid, doughy monstrosities “pizzas” until you’ve tried the other pizza joints in your hometown. Brands are really, really good at tricking you into discounting their competitors without ever having tried them. Don’t fall for it.

If you exhaust the local mom and pops, Domino’s, Pizza Hut, CPK, and Little Caesars and decide that you still want that vile wet disc “pie,” so be it. At least you know there is no viable alternative.

I went to Universal hoping their lesser coasters could scratch my itch. They did not. Check.

Practice extreme moderation

I hear this one from the guilty liberals who love Chick-fil-A. They vow not to go, and vow not to go, and vow not to go—but then The Hunger visits them in the night. They can’t ignore their craving. Das chyckyn vampyr!

You know what? That’s okay. I have never had Chick-fil-A myself, but I have eaten a Popeyes biscuit, so I get what you’re saying. Sometimes I just need a fluffy, hot biscuit constructed out of 85% pure butter, dusted in so much salt it creates a crispy shell. And damn the consequences!

If you only put $1.19 of profit into Dan Cathy’s pockets twice a year, well, whatever. Not the end of the world.

I know, without a shadow of a doubt, that I will never return to a SeaWorld ever again. It’s out of my system forever. Plus, they’re very likely to go out of business in the near future. This could legitimately be my last chance to ride these coasters. Check.

Don’t know what you’re missing

Notice how I just said I’d never had Chick-fil-A? I knew they were owned by homophobic jerkwads before one opened in my town. I’ve heard their chicken sandwiches are peerless. I intend to never find out if that’s true or not.

If I could go back in time and never go on a roller coaster, I might. But I can’t. No check.

Get only what you need

Growing up in a small town in the Midwest before the advent of online shopping, there was only one craft store in town: Hobby Lobby. The chain’s ultra-Christian owners have quietly funded all sorts of gross legislation, attempting to enforce their personal religious views on everyone else in the country. And I don’t cotton to that, not one bit.

… But I also needed chartreuse embroidery floss for my grandma hobbies.

So when I had to go, I would only buy the things that I could only get at Hobby Lobby. If I needed both embroidery floss and new scissors, I’d get the scissors elsewhere.

I bought absolutely nothing at SeaWorld other than my ticket. No water, no snacks, no souvenirs, no photos. I was ravenously hungry by the time I left, but it was worth it not to put more money in their pockets. Check.

And not that I wanted to go, but I skipped all of the live animal shows. I assume they have some way of measuring attendance. I wanted to give clear feedback that I was there for the rides, not the sad dolphins gliding listlessly through their concrete puddles. Double-check.

Make them suffer for your business

This is my favorite one. Because it’s genius and evil, and that’s kinda my thing.

When I went to SeaWorld, I got a discounted $80 ticket. That’s actually not much money, when you think about the massive bills SeaWorld must pay. It’s a lot of land to own, a lot of grounds to keep, a lot of rides to power, a lot of animals to feed, a lot of employees to pay. SeaWorld survives by padding that relatively low ticket cost with money spent on snacks and souvenirs.

In the four hours I was at SeaWorld, I rode absolutely as many roller coasters as I could. I hit eleven. That means I paid $7.27 per ride. This rate is so low that I suspect SeaWorld actually lost money on me that day.

If every customer walking through their gates spent and consumed at the rate I did, they would go out of business even faster than they already are. Take that, you whale-kidnapping, whistleblower-abusing assholes. Check.

Offset the bad deed

If it’s within your means to make a matching contribution to an institution that works against the unethical company you just funded, do it!

Let’s say you like to hunt, which leads you to buy supplies through businesses that directly endorse or support the NRA and its indefensible stance against commonsense gun regulations. If there are no viable alternatives, maybe you can also make a donation to an organization like the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence?

So I set out to save the whales. Remembering that not all charities are created equal, I vetted them first. I ended up donating to Oceana, an international advocacy group that seeks to protect oceans and their wildlife through strategic, achievable legal campaigns. Because I love SMART goals and cetaceans.

It’s money I would never have donated had I not gone to SeaWorld. I am relatively rich and I have no excuse not to. Check.

Make it count

Finally, hey, a reminder that we’re imperfect human beings with a limited amount of time on this planet. A lot of ethical consumption is about virtue signaling as much as actually making good choices. And that’s okay! There should be social pressure to not do obviously lame things like going to SeaWorld. Believe me, it worked: I felt it!

At the end of the day, I went because I was pretty sure that I would get a once-in-a-lifetime experience that saturated my soul with pure joy, and I could do it in a way that didn’t make me regret it.

So how were the roller coasters at SeaWorld?

Um, they were fucking great.

The Kraken: 7.5/10

Loved the speed, loved the inversions, loved the near-miss on the concrete pillar. On my last ride, I took a bug to the throat so hard it left a bruise. (Make no mistake: this enhanced the overall experience.) I actually preferred the rearmost seat on this one. A sterling example of a modern thrill coaster.

The Mako: 9/10

It was INCREDIBLE. The front row on this one is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. The first drop plummets you down 200 feet at an almost 90 degree angle, reaching speeds of 73 miles per hour. It’s all the more thrilling given the lack of chest restrains. The only thing keeping you in place is a minimalist lap bar. Sure, this means no inversions—but the airtime is exquisite, especially on the camel backs.

Basically, if you want to know what it feels like to skydive, you could just ride this baby.

The Manta: 13/10

I was devastated when I arrived—the Manta was closed for repairs.

All are punished!!” I cried up to the heavens, pronouncing punished with three syllables, because if I wanted it to be two I would’ve written punish’d, obviously. The poor park employee who had to turn me away from the ride entrance could see I was devastated.

Later in the day, I saw him again, now working on the Kraken. “The Manta’s reopening in fifteen minutes,” he whispered as he clacked my safety harness into place.

I booked it straight to the Manta and rode it back-to-back three times in a row.

It’s what’s called a “flying roller coaster.” Once you’re locked into your seat, the seats then rotate 270 degrees so that you’re hanging parallel to the ground, arms dangling, but still in a seated position. Sorta like Superman-style flying? You have a perfect view of the walkway below, with other park-goers craning their necks up to look at you. Then the ride begins.

Jesus H. Christ. How to describe that first pretzel loop? You’re swooping through the park, face-down, arms out, gliding like the creature the coaster is named for. Then the horizon crawls away and you’re on your back, belly to the sky, blinking up at the sun. It’s so disorienting that even watching the video, I’m struck by the sense of being sucked backwards. It’s a movement my brain never learned to fully comprehend. I screamed myself hoarse with raw joy every time.

The coaster’s construction is perfect. The ride is smooth; the placement over and through the heart of the park is thrilling; the length is satisfying. There’s even a manta-shaped figurehead hovering over the cart. It sounds inconsequential, but when you catch your own shadow, what you see is a manta. Such a charming touch!

Without reservation, this is the best roller coaster I’ve ever been on.

An experience I will remember for the rest of my life.

I am declaring open season on myself. If anyone would like to excoriate me, just scroll down—the comments section is right there.

But maybe there are some among you who understand my wretched choice. Guys, what are some of the purchases that have given you serious pause? How do you reconcile giving money to an entity whose ethics are completely out of whack? And just how good are those Chick-fil-A sandwiches anyway???

Please tell us in the comments below!

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33 thoughts to “How Can I Justify This Deeply Unethical Purchase?”

  1. so, not really commentary on the actual issue of going to seaworld or anything, just a little note on john schnatter that i love to share: he went to school with my mom. he was a freshman when she was senior, so their interactions were minimal, but my mom HATES him. even before everyone else hated him because he’s a shithead. she would flip off every papa john’s we’d go past, it’s kind of hilarious, she thinks he got what was coming to him. but! her main reasons are not his politics!

    she’s mad that he says he was born and raised in louisville, kentucky when he’s actually from jeffersonville, indiana. and she’s mad that he claims that the pizza recipe is his own, when the original pizzas that started it all? those were made by mama john. it was his mother’s recipe. it pisses her off to no end.

    also, i live in port orange, florida (two hours from orlando), and i haven’t been to seaworld in years, but the manta is without a doubt the best rollercoaster ever, i held hands with a girl i barely knew the first time i went on it because my friend who would have sat between us had a panic attack (poor destiny) and couldn’t go on. if i had the ability to airlift the manta out of seaworld and to a better, less animal cruel park, i would do it in a heartbeat. i love that thing.

    1. AAAAHAHAHAHA… I couldn’t possibly be more tickled. Thank you, and please thank your mom for this most delicious tea. I’m originally from a very small town in southern Illinois, and all of this jives with whispers I’ve heard. Also there’s no faster way to piss off a midwesterner than claiming you’re from the *other* city in a twin city setup.

      MONICAL’S TIL I DIE, JOHN!

  2. I honestly hate the idea that, to be ethical, you can never participate in anything unethical. And for many of us, that’s just not an option- especially those of us in rural locations that often get left in the dust… And especially when that dust concerns financial advice, resources, etc… Because apparently everyone on the fame circuit thinks everyone else /also/ lives in a large city, making 90% of peoples’ advice and resources useless for many of us. But still, that’s another bitch entirely.

    The fact of the matter is we can virtue signal all we want, but for many of us we don’t get a choice whether or not to be ethical in our purchasing decisions, because being unethical is the only option we’ve been given in our day to day consumption. And I can’t express how much of a breath of fresh air it is to see a post like this that doesn’t lambast people for it and instead offers completely reasonable and commonsense options to mitigate it. Even if it’s still limited in who can participate, having those options- and having them supported and promoted as not only viable, but as acceptable- is honestly so important.

    1. OH! Thank you for bringing this up because I didn’t even think to address it, but it’s huge.

      In the anecdote above, about me snootily not shopping at Hobby Lobby more than was strictly needed? My ethical alternative was going across the street to the Wal-Mart instead. Because I lived in cornfields and big box stores are literally the only option. Now I guess you could also buy on Amazon? Which is another gigantic company with many good reasons to boycott. The US and Canada are geographically ENORMOUS, and there are huge swaths where you just don’t get a second choice.

  3. Kitty, I’m with Piggy here: holy shit your adrenaline junkie tendencies show you’re not human. I am not going to tell you what I thought of some of the rides I was on at Disney (and some of the ones I purposely didn’t go on!)…

    Unethical purchases are, sadly, almost unavoidable. Hell, even me investing in index funds means I’m supporting companies I don’t want to be giving my money to in any way, shape, or form. But sadly that’s one of the best things to do with my money so that it grows to the point where I can afford to make the usually more expensive ethical decisions I want to be making without having to worry about the price. It’s a vicious cycle. But these are excellent strategies that I need to deploy more in my own life.

    1. I ticked a box for “ethical investing” on my investment portfolio. No idea what it really means. I hope it’s different? I hope it makes a difference? I’m glad, at the very least, that it’s being nodded to? But who actually knows. My long-term plan to address this quandary is to live in the woods and build my own roller coasters out of pine boughs and bear scat and twine.

      1. Vanguard has opened a new ‘ethical investment’ index fund recently. The trend seems to be picking up. Theirs doesn’t include weapons manufacturers, cigarettes, alcohol or gambling, but it does include Facebook, Google and Apple. So, ethical investment depends heavily on your definition.

  4. As a person who lives in a small town with a Hobby Lobby that has a much better selection than the other craft store in town and I have to shop there on occasion when I do not have time to order something: I forgive you. I shop there maaaaybe once a year, spend approximately $5, and go in the restroom and flush their toilet 12 times* just to make sure that they don’t actually make any money on my purchase.

    *Kidding.**

    **Maybe.

    1. I. AM. DYING. Genius isn’t dead! You are my hero.

      I’m Kitty, and I approved this message. Everybody get out there and flush the toilet so many times that David Green awakes in a cold sweat, haunted by dreams of same sex longing.

  5. For some reason I need to go with a numbered list, today is just that kind of day:
    1. I find it incredibly weird that PETA is a shareholder and HASN’T demanded the release of the animals yet.
    2. It’s so true that we do not exist without making some ethically grey choices every day. We simply can’t exist in a vacuum that way. So if you must give money to the horrible place (In’n’out may be my Achilles heel, I just discovered they donate to the GOP but I love their burgers), at least you experienced unparalleled joy.
    3. I like that you rode everything that much.
    4. If only they could separate the rides from the animal abuse and be a different place ENTIRELY.
    5. I don’t talk about the Chick-Fil-A sandwiches to ensure I never remember if they’re so damn good.

    1. 1. PETA is not actually an animal welfare organization. It’s a donor-funded institutional troll.
      2. Do you have Five Guys?? Try Five Guys.
      3. I DID TOO. I would literally come out the exit line, then swing 180 degrees back into the entrance line.
      4. That’s what I’m all! It was pointed out to me that if SeaWorld goes out of business, someone might buy out the park and rebrand it without the animals. But I think it’s just as likely they’d retool, dismantle, or sell the rides. If I were the CEO of SeaWorld, I would set “cool aquarium with rides” as my north star like, yesterday.
      5. What’s a Chick-Fil-A?

      1. 2. We have one very close by but they’re overpriced and not that good 🙁
        4. If only they were smart enough to consult with you!
        5. It might be regional but they are a very Christian anti-LGBT company that also sells great chicken sandwiches. Haven’t had some in years because I don’t want them to have my money.

    2. In-n-out has always been such a wild struggle for me since their burgers are so damn addictive. Having now moved away from the only place in the world that has them, I have to say that while Five Guys is good, nothing beats that good good In-n-out sauce.

      I will say that while I didn’t know they donated to the GOP, it doesn’t come as much of a surprise as the company is as staunchly Christian as Chik-Fil-A; they’ve just been better about being quiet about it so they don’t get bad PR. That said, as much as I disagree with their politics, I very much so agree with the way they treat their employees. I mind supporting them much less when it means supporting their employee base, a group of people who may otherwise be struggling much more in the SoCal area.

  6. There was an article I read some years ago (thus, no link as I did not save it at the time) where a journalist was talking with activists in the clothing sweatshop arena in eastern and southern Asia (India, Malaysia, goodness where DOESN’T the US have sweatshops?). The journalist noted that many of the people who worked in the sweatshops and where against how they were treated and who were actively organizing against working conditions still wore the clothing labels of the companies they worked for. So the journalist asked an organizer — why is that? Don’t they feel the need to boycott (like we try to do in the US)?

    The organizer’s response went something to the tune of a) these clothes were all that the people had access to, so naturally they wore them. and b) the people being exploited were not responsibly for their exploitation, and therefore wearing the clothes or not wearing the clothes would not change the system. What WOULD change the system is direct action — they were coming at it from a stance of unionizing on a large scale and legislation.

    I think about this article a lot when it comes to responsible consumption. Because a lot of the time alternatives to spending at Walmart is Amazon and the alternative to spending at Amazon is Walmart (just as an example). I haven’t given up on responsible consumption entirely, but I do think that organizer was right — direct action is what will change minds (not hearts, obviously, because if the people exploiting others saw the heart of the issue, I’d like to think they wouldn’t have exploited to begin with).

    1. Great comment. It gets even more complicated when you consider that factory jobs are, historically, the fastest way to build a middle class in an area that doesn’t currently have one. Yes, they can be dangerous and repetitive–but compared to subsistence farming? They’re amazing, life-changing opportunities that help economically empower women, provide avenues to wealth that aren’t dependent on land ownership, aggregate populations in cities (which are significantly greener), and insulate communities from disasters and famine.

      …It’s fucking complicated, man.

  7. I love the coasters Sea World. Manta is absolutely my favorite. When I was a kid, the lines were always really long – at least an hour wait for one ride. Now any time I go, they’re nothing. Busch Gardens is really great, too. The SheiKra, the Kumba and the Montu are all a blast. Busch Gardens also does a bunch of shows that feature people instead of animals, which are a nice break from the hot sun, and they have a wildlife preserve similar to a zoo that you can walk around. Disney is by far the best when it comes to the shows and scenery, but Expedition Everest in Animal Kingdom is the only coaster that actually gets my adrenaline pumping. 🙂

    1. I feel validated!

      I cannot overstate how empty the park was. Most lines had 2-3 dozen people, max. Considering the rides accommodate at least a dozen people at a time, they were effectively nothing.

      Interestingly, most of the people at the park seemed to be Latinx. It could’ve been because of the time I went, but I suspect it’s at least somewhat because the bad publicity didn’t reach that demographic as thoroughly.

  8. Ha, this reminds me of one of the most bizarre one-off ads that Youtube ever showed me a while back (sometime in the year after Blackfish was really getting noticed). It was this very lengthy (I remember it being around ten minutes long, but my memory might be off, it was long enough that one could skip through it) ad from Seaworld with some BS “data” about how their orcas lived longer and were healthier and happier than orcas in the wild. It was so strange that I wanted to find it again, but never could, and Youtube never showed it to me again.

    Great post, and this is a general idea that I think about a lot, though my focus is mostly on trying for more ethical clothing and fashion consumption, as it’s the genre I blog about most of the time. It’s a tough subject, because clothing companies are super non-transparent. (I’m highly skeptical of the marketing of many of the largest “ethical” brands.) I’ve never found a better solution than trying to shop secondhand as much as possible.

    1. Oh the park was covered in propaganda about how great they are for wildlife. And actually, I suspect that much of it IS true. They do rescue manatees n’ shit. But that doesn’t change the fact that the orca program is FUCKED.

      Shopping secondhand is my jam right now. I’ve been finding stuff I want to buy in stores, then seeing if I can find it on Poshmark. I usually can; it’s often like new, or even new with tags; and it’s half as expensive. Winner winner, chicken dinner.

      1. Even buying second hand at thrift stores has varying levels of ethical issues. One of the thrift store chains around here that has the best selection is actually “a for profit professional fundraiser” for other charitable organizations. I compare that to Goodwill, for example, that states they spend 87% of their revenue on their programs. I buy nearly all our clothes from one of these two stores, but I could be helping _even more_ if I stuck with just Goodwill.

          1. That’s because their disabled employees are on SSI, and thus can’t have more than X amount of money at ANY given time,and breaching that amount will cause them to lose their SSI.

  9. Reminds me of my daughter, who tricked me into taking her to a horse camp in northeastern Ohio only so she could spend an afternoon at Cedar Point. Nothing ethical about THAT behavior.

  10. My ethics are pretty out of whack as well so there is really no need for me to justify anything to myself. (This is not to say that I don’t judge or feel bad about some of the decisions that the companies make. I do. I just realize that if I were the CEO or a high up employee of that company, I would make exactly the same unethical decisions as them. And I also recognize that if I were some poor worker in Bangladesh, most people would not give a damn about my life. I have an understanding that the world does not care about me and, therefore, I do not care about the world.) So after I started viewing the world in this way (and this was an improvement from the way I used to view the world), I stopped having any sort of bad feelings about unethical purchases.

  11. My family and I thought about Seaworld over the summer, but went to the Orlando Eye instead. It was a nice indoor ferris wheel that looked over Orlando. We really enjoyed it!

  12. Omg the best part is the ranking of the damn roller coasters, hahaha!

    We have a Sea World here in my town and I refuse to go. Even as a kid I felt kinda weird about Sea World. Blackfish just confirmed my inkling.

    That said, I still eat at Chikfila and Amazon, even though I detest many of their policies. It …. well, it freakin’ sucks. I did stop eating at Jimmy John’s, but that was easy. It’s harder to drop spending on things that you REALLY like, but that you also disagree with (oh hello, Chikfila sandwiches).

    Thanks for this guide; I’m hoping it’ll help me navigate this stuff a bit better.

  13. I adore roller coasters an insane amount. In a (what feels ironic but maybe I don’t understand the meaning of irony) twist of fate did not realize that Seaworld had roller coasters and now I want to go on the Manta more than anything!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! AGH!!!!!!!

  14. The quandaries are so real!! My unethical drug of choice is air travel – I went to college in the UK (originally from New England), and I now live and work in between Chicago and the Bay Area, so I’ve taken off a dozen times this year (with at 3-5 more coming), which is APPALLINGLY BAD for the environment. I justify it to myself by thinking about a low environmental impact generally – I buy groceries from local stores for the most part, and I don’t own (or know how to drive) a car, so I get everywhere on foot or public transit (or plane, lol). I should make a bigger impact to buy specifically locally produced food but it’s hard to keep track a lot of the time.

    I’m also trying to take a stand and go from “only using Amazon occasionally because I don’t buy that much stuff online” to “never using Amazon” which has actually been a little easier than expected – it just tends to cost more in shipping from smaller businesses that charge fairly for it.

    Overall, though, I think your presence was a net-loss for Seaworld, so good on ya, and I also think your wild, adrenaline-junkie ways successfully off-set any free publicity you gave them 😛

  15. I too came to FINCON this year, mostly for the rollercoasters.

    I actually was a huge fan of Hulk, really impressed by how it starts, and I guess that was enough to last the whole ride!

    Everything at Sea World was pretty amazing, especially the short lines. I thought it was really cool on the Manta ride how you could take your sandals off and ride barefoot (not sure if this is always allowed). also, I would just stay on without having to get in line again, and rode it until I couldn’t stand it anymore!

    btw, the butterbeer in Orlando is way better than the stuff they sell in London.

  16. This is a great article, but can I say I’m so sad that you were in my city and I couldn’t hang out/show you all the best local spots?

    I’m a former employee of SeaWorld (I worked at Aquatica and Discovery Cove) and yeahhh they suck. Behind the scenes is horrifying. Mostly the families that come do so bc they make prices hella cheap to attract certain demographics in the area.

    I work at a competitor now. Big businesses are never great, but they definitely treat us and the environment with far more respect.

  17. This is absurd. You want people to pat you on the back for indulging in a luxury purchase that you knew ahead of time was unethical, but you made it anyway? When it would have been so easy not to? And then promote their roller coasters while you’re at it. You haven’t hurt SeaWorld at all. You gave them money that they’ll use to continue harming sentient creatures, and they would have been running those rides whether you were there or not. I enjoy your financial advice, but this is garbage. I dont pretend to make 100% ethical purchases, but if I see an easy opportunity to do better, I take it. Not hard, really the bare minimum folks.

    But regardless of all that, I hope everyone is voting.

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