He wanted me to buy $200 worth of skin products to look younger. This is what I said.

So. I was kind of a brat the other day. And I don't regret it one bit.

I was headed to my gate at the airport when a man at a store suckered me in with a free bar of natural soap. NOTHING IS FREE, PEOPLE!

At least, not in airports, am I right?


This is basically how the conversation went, although I admit, this is not verbatim.

Man: "Your skin is so natural looking, you aren't wearing any makeup, right?"

Me: "Um, no?"

Man: "Let me guess your age."

He proceeded to pull out a number 12 years younger than I am.

Me: "I look my age, and that's OK, actually."

Man: "Let me show you our face serum, because if you aren't careful to maintain your skin now, these wrinkles on your face will get much deeper. By 45, creams won't help anymore."

Me: "What's wrong with a woman looking 40?"

Man: "Well, let's talk about the bags under your eyes and those smile lines. My eye cream could improve those in 15 minutes."

Me: "What's wrong with my eyes? I have a miracle baby at home and haven't slept in 2 years, so if I have bags I am grateful to have them. And my husband and I laugh a lot. Those are his fault. He loves how I look ... I don't think I need your cream."

"What's wrong with a woman looking 40?"

Man: (nervously) "They may be manageable now, but by 50, it's too late to correct sagging skin and deep wrinkles. Unless you act now, only surgery can correct those."

Me: "What's wrong again with a woman aging? You know, my husband and I can't wait to grow old together, we talk about it all the time, how we'll be this funny, wrinkled old couple. My husband is going to age too. We all are. It's kind of how life works."

Now he's glancing nervously at other customers in the store who are listening in.

Man: "Wait, if it's the price that's an issue, I can offer you our special this week, all three creams for $199 — that's cheaper than Botox!"

Me: "I look fine now, and when I'm 45 I will look fine, and when I'm 50 I will look fine because there is nothing wrong with a woman aging. Old age is a privilege denied to many, and I don't appreciate you marketing youth instead of your products and denigrating aging women as a sales tactic. Thank you, but I don't want or need your cream."

I was so horrified by the normalcy of his sales pitch, and the sales ringing up at his cash register, that I took a picture of that wrinkled baggy face he was selling to, right on the spot.

Photo by Annick Robinson, used with permission.

This is the face my children and my husband love. I think I'll keep it.

Photo by Anna Shvets from Pexels
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Increasingly customers are looking for more conscious shopping options. According to a Nielsen survey in 2018, nearly half (48%) of U.S. consumers say they would definitely or probably change their consumption habits to reduce their impact on the environment.

But while many consumers are interested in spending their money on products that are more sustainable, few actually follow through. An article in the 2019 issue of Harvard Business Review revealed that 65% of consumers said they want to buy purpose-driven brands that advocate sustainability, but only about 26% actually do so. It's unclear where this intention gap comes from, but thankfully it's getting more convenient to shop sustainably from many of the retailers you already support.

Amazon recently introduced Climate Pledge Friendly, "a new program to help make it easy for customers to discover and shop for more sustainable products." When you're browsing Amazon, a Climate Pledge Friendly label will appear on more than 45,000 products to signify they have one or more different sustainability certifications which "help preserve the natural world, reducing the carbon footprint of shipments to customers," according to the online retailer.

Amazon

In order to distinguish more sustainable products, the program partnered with a wide range of external certifications, including governmental agencies, non-profits, and independent laboratories, all of which have a focus on preserving the natural world.

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If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Upworthy-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.