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AITA for eating Nestle chocolate considering human rights issues?
There's no ethical consumption under this headline.
Welcome back to another week of AITA madness!
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Guess the Verdict
OP (27M) lost bio mom at age 6, during the birth of his siblings (21F, 21M). When OP was 9, his dad met their stepmom.
OP loved his stepmom and thought of her as a parent, but never called her “Mom.”
When OP was 18, stepmom asked to adopt him and his siblings. Siblings agreed, but OP declined.
Stepmom treated him differently after that and said that since OP rejected her as a mom, she rejected him as a son.
Stepmom developed a terminal illness. Dad asked OP to pay for treatment, since he has the most money. Stepmom apologized to OP.
Stepmom died a week ago, but OP found out later because she hadn’t wanted him there.
Siblings asked OP to pay for the funeral. OP refused.
This is honestly such a headache of a situation. OP accepted his stepmom as a parent. His stepmom for some reason needed OP to acknowledge it by letting her legally adopt him. (To be honest though, OP was 18 when she asked…at that point how much does a legal adoption impact their relationship? Genuine question.) Regardless, the siblings shouldn’t expect OP to pay for the funeral when he and their stepmom were constantly at odds over the nuances of their relationship. This is a really tough one, but I’m going to go with NTA, and the siblings are.
Going off the title only, I went NTA. This just doesn’t seem like something that would fall on you as a stepchild. Re-reading this, I definitely see you, Jenna, at “how much does a legal adoption impact their relationship?” I think the answer is that it really doesn’t.
Maybe, the stepmom could have shared her healthcare, perhaps something like that. My read is that Stepmom wanted the title; she wanted to say “He’s my son!” And OP wasn’t willing to comply which is well within his rights.
For stepmom to fire back and un-son him is unconscionable and cruel. If you’re going to adopt the role of the parent with someone, you can’t just pretend, you really do have to be ready to be the bigger person and dole out unconditional love– and there’s zero guarantee that it will be returned to you. That’s the gig, baby!
Reddit Verdict: NTA.
“NTA at all. Man, it’s ASTOUNDING how many people think it’s appropriate to spend other people’s money because ‘they have it.’ I get that on a societal level for various reasons but where individuals are concerned, I would say that you have no obligation even if you guys got along. Your stepmom sounds like she was an embittered person who craved holding onto a good grudge.” - FSF_VVG
My Final Word:
Reddit users definitely had some good points about the finances behind this, and the timing of stepmom’s apology. I toyed with the idea of ESH here, because they could reach a compromise where everyone pays a reasonable amount since she helped raise all of them, regardless of what the relationship looked like, but I think the bottom line is that you can’t treat one person’s wealth as the wealth of the whole family.
Danny’s Final Final Word:
Fuck that. She did him dirty and un-sonned him. You’re not catching me in this financial “gotcha.” I’m not paying for anybody’s funeral, anyway. Handle your own affairs!
What are you going to be mad at me? No, honey, you’ll be dead. The funeral is at Denny’s. Meet us there and we’ll talk about the deceased.
In all seriousness, I feel like the people who should pay for a funeral and facilitate it are the people who want to. It shouldn’t be something you trap someone with. That’s wild to me.
AITA for eating Nestle chocolate when there are some serious human rights issues?
My brother, who pays a lot of attention to controversies in consumerism, recently alerted me to the fact that there are human rights issues with Nestle and that I shouldn’t consume their products. I had no idea until he told me, so I did a deep-dive into the issue. Here is what I was able to find out:
Nestle, along with several other chocolate companies, have been accused of perpetuating forced child labor at Ivory Coast cocoa plantations.
“It’s estimated that 1.56m children work on cocoa farms in Ivory Coast and Ghana, according to a report published by the US Department of Labor last year.” (BBC).
A group of men came forward about their experience, “[alleging] that they were forced to work 12-14 hours a day. They also said they were kept under armed guard while they slept, in order to prevent them from escaping, and were paid little beyond basic food” (BBC).
“While neither [Nestle or Cargill] owns or operates farms in Ivory Coast, they had bought cocoa from them, and also provided the farms with technical and financial resources in exchange for exclusive rights to their crops” (CNBC).
“The US Supreme Court ruled there was no evidence that decisions made by the companies in America led to the men’s forced labor” (BBC).
Danny’s Take: Try to score small consumption wins
As the classic meme says, “There is no ethical consumption under capitalism.” Fair enough. But we do draw some lines. Certainly, most of us understand that there’s a large gap between someone who regularly buys chocolate from a company with a sordid past (and present), and someone who facilitates illegal weapon trades. By the way, does anyone want to buy 4,300 rocket launchers? I’m trying to get one of those new Nespresso machines…
I would never call anyone TA for supporting a shitty company because well, most of them are shitty in some way or another. Still, I think we can all try to get engage in some slightly more ethical consumption. Even a small change can make a positive difference.
I had one big consumption win moving to LA: I stopped buying paper towels. Instead, I bought a bunch of rags on Amazon and I simply wash them in the machine every time I use them all up. This saves money and doesn’t cost much time as I just do them with my laundry.
My big feat this year is eating strictly vegetarian at home. Not only is this much better for the environment, it has also pushed me to up my cooking game. On top of that, it’s pretty dang cheap. Is it technically a cop-out to being a true vegetarian? Yes, it is, but I know that will frustrate me greatly in social settings. Having a more moderate, but still significant consumption goal I think sets us up for success.
But did you want to buy a nice little rocket launcher? Could be a good gift for um, Easter?
*= I actually feel I am actively fighting Nespresso by having a Nespresso coffee maker. My understanding is that they lose money on the machines and make them on the pods. Well, sucks for them, I bought the machine and use rogue pods that are dirt cheap on Amazon. I AM AN ACTIVIST
Bear with me here, but there’s an episode of The Good Place, “Chidi Sees the Time Knife,” that comes to mind with this whole situation. Basically, they make the point in this episode that it’s hard to be a good person and make good decisions when the world is so screwed up. One of the characters, Michael, says, “These days just buying a tomato at a grocery store means that you are unwittingly supporting toxic pesticides, exploiting labor, contributing to global warming. Humans think that they’re making one choice, but they’re actually making dozens of choices they don’t even know they’re making.”
I agree with Danny, that you can’t really call a person an asshole for buying the product of an iffy company, because most companies are iffy. It’s a big undertaking to screen every product you buy for the ethical value of it, but cutting back on purchasing Nestle products is a step towards more ethical consumerism.
I’ll be honest, I haven’t been a huge Nestle consumer since I was a kid and loved KitKats. I still like KitKats, and sometimes my friends and I get Tollhouse cookie dough when we hang out, but I can do without those fairly easily. The biggest takeaway for me is that I want to pay more attention to issues like these, and try to be a more ethical consumer. I can’t really judge other people for buying Nestle products. Lots of people love these products and don’t even know about this issue. Everyone is allowed a vice, an indulgence, and a little bit of grace. Baby steps.
Juice of the Week
OP (43M) is vegan, but his husband (48M) is not. Husband loves steak, bacon, etc. and is not interested in eating vegan.
Husband is overweight and OP is very concerned. OP encourages husband to eat more plant-based foods, eat healthier meals, and exercise. Husband is reluctant.
OP cooked a vegan lasagna and did not tell husband that it was vegan. Husband ate and enjoyed the lasagna.
When husband learned that the lasagna was vegan he was unhappy. OP defended himself by saying that he has been concerned about his health and wants him to lose weight. Husband said it was immature, and that OP should have just talked to him.
“I fail to see how tricking him into eating something vegan is supposed to improve his health. Just because something is vegan it doesn't make it healthier than non-vegan options. Oreos are vegan. ETA: ESH” - BeepBlipBlapBloop
Oh no, you fed me something without explicitly listing the ingredients which no one has ever done? How could this possibly make OP TA?
Anyone who is “tricked” by this or needs to be probably has more serious issues regarding openness to experience that a clever play like this won’t solve, but vegan food is obviously MUCH healthier than non-vegan. The top comment’s clever little observation that “Oreos are vegan” ignores the fact that literally everyone eats Oreos. Was OP advocating an Oreos diet? Was this an Oreo-based veganism?
As I already bragged about (and will continue to brag throughout the year), adopting vegetarianism not only frees you to pontificate loudly at parties, but it also just plain feels better. Processed meat causes cancer. Like duh it does. You really think a lentil is as taxing on your system as GROUND BEEF?
Tbh, this doesn’t necessarily need to be seen as “tricking” him. It seems more like a don’t-ask-don’t-tell situation. Husband didn’t ask OP, and OP didn’t tell him until after he ate (and liked) the lasagna. OP is not TA here. Weight loss is 75% diet and 25% exercise (Oprah.com), but it’s also a lot of hard work and self-discipline. OP can gently steer him in the right direction, try to encourage a healthier lifestyle, but ultimately it’s his body and if he isn’t motivated then it won’t happen. Maybe they can start small with a compromise, incorporating vegan dinners into his diet slowly. He liked the vegan lasagna, so that’s a start.
While the top comment has a point, that just because a food is vegan doesn’t automatically mean that it’s healthy, vegan or vegetarian foods do tend to feel better. My family is somewhat split on the issue - my dad doesn’t like eating dinners without meat in them, but my brother and I started to cook more vegetarian meals when we went to college. Meat is a hassle to prepare and heavier on the stomach. Not everybody feels the same way about this, and everybody has different dietary needs, but it’s never a bad idea to have vegetarian meals sometimes and be open to different ways of eating.
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