Outlook Issue 12 Winter 2010
News and Views from St. Mary's Woodbridge
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The responsible consumer
The responsible consumer As consumers we have rights just as those who provide us with goods and services have duties. Amongst these are to sell us goods of merchantable quality, not to discriminate against us on racial or other grounds, not to collude with other providers to artificially raise the price and not to make false claims in their advertisements. This all appears reasonable but do we as consumers also have duties, in moral terms if not in law? Yes on both counts. The first duty is to pay for the goods or services we receive but the real duty goes beyond this. In the Christian tradition underpinning the law of this country there are two fundamental duties. One is ‘to love God with all your heart, all your mind and all your spirit’ and the second is ‘to love your neighbour as yourself’. The neighbour principle is also enshrined in a duty of care owed to consumers by sellers. But the basic commandment and the spirit of the law imposes a duty on the consumer to act with love - or at least not to harm another in the transaction. What does this involve in practice? It is easy when going into a transaction to fear not getting the best possible deal (being ripped off?). It is also possible by repeatedly changing one’s mind to make life very difficult for the seller. Everyone knows about asking friends and neighbours for word of mouth recommendations. What is less well known is that there is also an informal network in many trading communities assessing buyers. Clients can be recommended warmly, not so warmly or even not recommended at all. So there is as much an art to being a good consumer as there is to being a good supplier. This has everything to do with treating the other party with attention, respect and love. Interestingly the tradition of barter in the Middle East, which many Westerners find very difficult, can be seen as a way of the two parties getting to know each other so each can gently come to a mutually advantageous agreement. This approach has something to recommend it but would require a considerable shift in mental attitude for it to be taken up in this country. John Davis What’s on … November 1 Learn on a Monday see details at the back of St. Mary’s Church. 4 Solemn Requiem all invited, particularly those bereaved since November 2009 8 Monday Talk: Nick Cottam Truth in a multimedia age 1930 St. Mary’s Church Centre. 9 Parish Coffee Morning 1030-12 noon in The Rectory 13 Church Clean see details at the back of the church 14 Act of Remembrance 1050 Market Hill Parish Eucharist 1830 St. Mary’s Church 15 Licensing of Revd Paul Hambling as Team Vicar in the Merton Priory Team 17 Spirituality in a Secular Culture: talk by John Bell of the Iona Community 1930pm. St Michael & All Angels, Martlesham Heath. Admission £5 (£4 concessions) 18 Parish Lunch c1245 St. Mary’s Church Centre 20 Autumn Fayre 10am -12noon. Admission £1. Proceeds to Church Funds 21 Ipswich School Chamber Orchestra in aid of NSPCC. Tickets £8 (inc. tea and cake) 21 Taizé 18.30 at St Thomas’s Catholic Church 22 Learn on a Monday 19.15 (Coffee) for 19.30 St. Mary’s Church Centre 28 Churches Together in Woodbridge & Melton Advent Service 18.30 at the Salvation Army 29 Learn on a Monday 19.15 (Coffee) for 19.30 St. Mary’s Church Centre 29 Advent Prayer Walk Dunwich area details in church or contact Michael Stagg on 387280 December 6 Monday Talk: Majors Febe and Russell Pipe A Salvation Army Journey through Italy 1930 St. Mary’s Church Centre 11 Woodbridge Choral Society Christmas Concert 18.00 St. Mary’s Church 13 Learn on a Monday 1915 (Coffee) for 19.30 St. Mary’s Church Centre 13 Prayer Walk Pin Mill area details in church or contact Michael Stagg on 387280 14 Parish Coffee Morning 1030-12 noon The Rectory 14 Farlingaye School Carol Service 1100 St. Mary’s Church 15 Woodbridge School Carol Service 1445 St. Mary’s Church 16 Woodbridge School Carol Service 1115, 1445 and 1900 St. Mary’s Church 19 Service of Nine Lesson & Carols 1830 St. Mary’s Church January 1 New Year Prayer Walk Minsmere/Dunwich Heath area details in church or contact Michael Stagg on 387280 14/15 Joe Carpenter and Son by the celebrated writer and artist Graham Clarke