I decided to do an experiment. Since this Buy Union! challenge has started, it hasn’t always been easy, but I’ve been finding ways to save money. A lot of it has been buying what union-products I can find on sale and by using coupons. In fact, I got so excited during my research about finding so many coupons for union-made goods and being able to save all that money, I decided it would be a good idea to make it a regular feature on our www.LALabor411.org web site.

Okay. I’ll admit it. My husband and I like the Clippers. You could almost call us fan. We buy tickets to at least one game every year.

I’m not a contrarian. I don’t root for the Clippers just because the Lakers are so dominant. I like the Lakers. I just can’t afford to go to their games.

So, after our day at Disneyland we all piled back into my union-made Ford Escape for the long drive home. Everyone had a great time, but it was late and we had all experienced a lot of walking, gawking, eating and rides so we were worn out. As we pulled out of the parking lot I baited the group, “Another successful Buy Union! Challenge day! WOOHOOO!!!”

As you may have read from one of my recent blogs, I kind of slipped off the wagon a bit with my misadventure at Macy’s. But after all, it’s the holiday season and I’ve got to buy presents.

I’ll come clean here.

Some of the more challenging aspects of this Buy Union experiment hasn’t really been the changing of habits (that was what I thought would be most difficult), it’s been having less options and paying more. Luckily, I’m not totally addicted to material things, but I like being frugal when I can.

I love what I do because I believe in it and I believe in the movement, but I’d be lying if I said it doesn’t wear me out sometimes.

Yesterday was one of those days. After a late night, I had to be up at 5:30 am to get ready to brave traffic for an early meeting in downtown L.A. Then it was back to the office in Canoga Park (again through traffic, I love L.A!) where I was barraged by more meetings, phone calls, press releases, deadlines for newspapers, enewsletters and L.A. Labor 411’s ever-approaching publication date.

So, my in-laws are coming into town for Thanksgiving and between two dogs, two cats, two kids, a husband, and my big personality, it can get a little busy at my home when family comes to stay. Truth is that I get a bit stressed by the holidays. I love them, don’t get me wrong, but with everything else going on sometimes the tryptophan in the turkey is not enough to completely mellow me out. So, I thought we’d make things a bit less complicated this year and put my in-laws (as wonderful as they are!) up in a hotel for their stay.

With my Buy Union! Challenge I was afraid that Thanksgiving would be a nightmare, but I may have been over-thinking things. Actually, as I began to investigate my options, I was surprised to find that so many of the brands we grew up on that have helped define the most important meals of the year for many of us are union-made.  So when one of our family’s dear friends invited us over for Thanksgiving, I said yes, but with two conditions.

The most difficult part of my challenge so far has been lunch. Sure, there are plenty of union-staffed restaurants in Los Angeles, but none of them are anywhere near my office in the San Fernando Valley. I’m not the biggest girl in the world. A friend of mine once called me a hummingbird—that kind of suits me right because of my metabolism and my typical day is a whirlwind of activity. Between managing an office, running two newspapers, and dealing with an ever-changing number of union PR campaigns, I barely have time to think. My one quiet spot in the day for years has traditionally been stepping out and getting myself something to eat for lunch. Well, I can’t do that now unless I’m near downtown or Hollywood for the most part.

I admit it. I like shopping. I’m a girl. What did you expect?  The problem is there aren’t a lot of retail stores that are unionized. An exception is Macy’s. Many Macy’s stores are UFCW represented. So, I found one and decided to have a few hours by myself.

I like Macy’s. Always have. I like their merchandise. I like the layout of their stores. I like their history.    I also particularly like that Macy’s has been active in the green movement. They were voted in the top 50 most green corporations in the 2009 Newsweek rankings  by adding solar power to many stores, using biodegradable packing products, and significantly expanding their “eco-friendly” product lines. We need more of that in this world.