A Personal Experience Accepting the Mind the Store Campaign's Call to Action
Mind the Store was looking for volunteers for their paint stripper campaign. This much I knew from reading Savvy’s blog post on the issue. They were calling for people to visit specific stores in their area and check the shelves for paint strippers containing the dangerous chemicals methylene chloride and NMP.
Mind the Store made visiting my store very easy by providing an informative kit. There were photos of the brands to look for, and they provided a letter to hand to the manager in case the offending products were still on the shelves.
I visited two Sherwin Williams paint stores, which to my slight disappointment, were very small stores, i.e., ‘Hello, welcome to Sherwin Williams, can I help you find anything?’ as soon as I walked in the door.
I have to admit that I’m not the most outgoing person or the bravest ‘activist’ for that matter. I was hoping to be inconspicuous in my search! ‘Uh, I’m o.k. for now, but I’ll let you know.’ I wondered if they found it strange that I was taking photos of their paint thinner/paint stripper shelf?
The first store passed my inspection, much to my relief. The second store, however, turned out to have two products containing a methylene chloride warning label (gulp!)! I took photos of both the front and back of the products, took a few intentional breaths to calm myself and muster up some courage, marched over to the counter, and handed the cashier the MTS letter and asked him to give it to the manager. The manager happened to be standing right next to him (double gulp!!). I mumbled something about how we’re visiting many different stores to be sure certain products weren’t on their shelves and then ran out of there!
Once home, I emailed my results to Beth Kemler of Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families. She responded that she was very grateful for my efforts. A week later, she had one more favor to ask. I went back to that store again to see if they had removed those products, and they had! It was pretty neat to be a tiny part of this campaign!
You too, can be an activist!
In case you’re curious about the impact of everyone’s efforts in visiting stores in their area, it is summed up in this SCHF blog post. Interested in helping the Mind the Store Campaign with your own retailer rendezvous? Get your kit here!
Katy is a Co-Ambassador for Savvy Women's Alliance Arvada, CO chapter.
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