What’s your take on businesses offering a percentage of sales for disaster relief?

“What’s your take on businesses offering a percentage of sales for disaster relief?” – @SethSimonds

It always makes me happy when individuals and companies donate money to help a cause. I prefer this over the US government borrowing from China and then paying back the bill, with interest, using taxpayers’ hard earned money.

That being said, it bothers me when companies opportunistically use disasters to make money.

If a company responds to a disaster, the corresponding campaign should have the feeling of a somber, heartfelt sympathy card — not clever marketing. The message should be 100% about caring and 0% about their products or services. A logo + disaster relief campaign URL suffices. If consumers (ie. potential donation partners) want to learn more about the company itself, they have a lead.

If a company specifically designs a product for disaster relief, 100% of profits should go to the cause. (As a consumer, I understand that they have to pay overhead costs. I’m cool with this.) Think of it this way — the product wouldn’t even exist unless thousands of people weren’t hurt (or killed) in the first place. Anything less than 100% of profits indicates the company is stepping on victims’ souls to get a boost up the corporate ladder.

When a successful new product comes out of a disaster relief campaign, once the dust settles a little, the company may continue the product line with fresh marketing.

Companies don’t always make products specifically to support disaster relief, but still want to donate. In this case, a percentage donation is perfectly acceptable on existing products. The larger the percentage, the better.

Even more exciting than donating money is when a company additionally donates their products and volunteers their expertise to go above and beyond to help victims. Not only are they cutting into profits when they do this, they’re also paying out-of-pocket to make it happen. It’s acceptable to respectfully let the world know they’re helping in this way, which encourages others to do the same.

Certainly any disaster response from companies potentially boosts profits. It’s delusional to think otherwise. Good companies have a history-backed identity of being socially responsible, and are always looking for ways to help others. Their brands have a relevance that surpasses the products and services they sell. Companies dance a fine line at times, but savvy consumers who are intentional with their money will research a company’s business practices before buying any product, regardless of whether or not a donation is attached.

Good question, Seth.

( Oh… and in case you’re wondering, I’m listening to Joan Jett and the Blackhearts ;) )

Readers, what do you think?

Primroses are Coffee Drinkers

But, tender blossom, why so pale?
Dost hear stern Winter in the gale?
And didst thou tempt the ungentle sky
To catch one vernal glance and die?
– Excerpt from The Primrose by Samuel Coleridge

I love primroses.

Apparently, primroses love coffee.

After a four months at home and on a water diet, my once-brilliant primroses were producing pale blossoms.

(Wouldn’t it be nice if plants came with owner’s manuals and trouble-shooting guides? If I ever start a gardening company, I’m going to include said manual, complete with the history of the species. For edibles, this guide will also include health benefits, food pairing ideas and a recipe or two.)

With research, I learned that primroses like slightly alkaline soil.

Three weeks ago, I started hydrating them with cold leftover coffee.

With each new bloom, since being fed coffee, the intensity of color has increased with each bloom. Today’s bloom – the one on the far right – is the same vibrant red as when I originally purchased the plant.

Even for acid-loving plants, however, too much acidity can be harmful.

According to The Garden Helper, primroses thrive in soil with a pH of 6.5. My soil pH meter is packed somewhere in a box in our garage. If I find it, I’m definitely going to take a reading of the soil in my primrose pots.

Happy plant, happy Sarah.

Here are some of my favorite gardening links :

  • You Grow Girl
  • You Bet Your Garden
  • Moosey’s Country Garden
  • Spring Cleaning? 5 Tips for Managing Toys

    With five children, we have plenty of toys in our house. I know first-hand how overwhelming the toy mess can be!

    In my post at RealZest, I share five of my best tried-and-true toy tips we’ve been using for years that will help keep your home clean and keep kids from flitting endlessly from one toy to the next!

    Speaking of messes, I also offer an accountability challenge for parents.

    Here’s an excerpt:

    Toys are not fun when they’re all over the house. If you’re stepping on green army men, threatening to sell wayward dolls on eBay and are using items like daddy’s lighter as a body doubles for game pieces, the toys have taken over.

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    What are your best toy-management tips? Be sure to leave them in the comments over at RealZest. I look forward to interacting with you there!