(We) live in a world where our comforts are the responsibilities of other people. Yet, we act like we owe no one and are therefore unaccountable for the ways our comforts destroy and dehumanize the very people that labor to bring our comforts to our homes.
I was having a conversation with a workmate last week and she asked me to consider how many hands touch or guide a cereal box to a grocery store shelf.
I had to pause and actually think, as she started listing out the possible steps of the process of making cereal. My brain was awed because the idea of farm-to-table is really not a thing in a global supply chain. You might be thinking "What does this have to do with writing romance, Ada?"
The simple answer is, research.
Lets continue: Cereal --> Global Supply Chain --> Your table
A bowl of cereal is a staple in most homes in 'developed' countries. Pour the grain, pour the milk and chow down. Easy.
Yet the people who work in the manufacturing of those products often strike and protest because their working conditions are horrible.
But the masses (You and me) who claim they love XYZ cereal rarely stop and move to join the protest, let alone advocate on behalf of those workers. The general thought there is it’s not our business. But, we feed the bottom line of the business that makes the crunchy comfort foods and underpays their workers.
If you don’t like cereal apply the thought pattern to the shoes on your feet or the shirt on your back.
I’ve had to do research on labor laws for a character in Soul Ties who is generationally wealthy from the various manufacturing processes. As I read up on laws and inequalities that plague health and safety systems, the character started to grow and evolve. The story grew when I considered how the character was accountable to the people who made his family’s business successful. His comforts, like our comforts, are tied to the handy work; the sweat, tears, blood, and sometimes lives of men and women who sit in factories all day feeding the beast of the global supply chain for meager paychecks.
So my question to you is outside of the $2-5 you spent on cereal, are you accountable for the working comforts of the people who made your morning routine easier?