Summaries- Alpacaqueen

Do Toms Shoes Really Help People?

It seems counterintuitive that a company whose promise lies in helping others could actually be doing the complete opposite. Toms, an American shoe and eyewear company, has been attempting to provide people with shoes in developing countries for over ten years.

Toms take pride in their “buy one, give one” mantra, as do the the people who purchase them. The company is able to put a label to their good-doings and the consumers are able to feel as though they are adequately making a difference in this world. However, this form of aid is actually far from beneficial to the overall well-being of the nations in need.

When it comes to vital necessities that these countries lack, shoes seem to be far down on the list. In fact, most of the children being provided with Toms already own a pair of shoes. Instead of putting donations toward a variety of things such as food and infrastructure, these countries are being bombarded with more of the same item. Not only this, but like many “one for one” companies, Toms is generating an overwhelming surplus of product creating competition with local sellers who simply can’t keep up.

Although Toms seems to revolve around serving developing countries, its lack of detail leaves the buyer without a clear sense of what their purchase is going towards. Ultimately, Toms cut and dry “buy one, give one” policy is about as informative as it is effective.

Examining Humane Food Labels

It seems counterintuitive that produce labels marked as humane can serve as an indication of how poorly those animals are actually being treated. Across America, consumers are being bombarded with an assortment of food labels. And although these may ease the consumers mind to know their chicken is “all-natural”, these trademarks can be far from truthful.

Companies everywhere are manufacturing labels in hopes of convincing their customers that their livestock are treated with respect. The keyword here is “convince”. While these labels may seem entirely legitimate, these industries stipulate their own sets of guidelines and rarely receive an audit from an independent third-party. This allows them to stamp products as “humane” and “cage-free” while their animals remain mistreated in numerous other ways.

However, hope is not entirely lost on the quest to modify these malpractices. A number of inspection companies have been made readily available to farms, some even free of charge. For example, the Animal Welfare Approved agency holds high standards in making sure animals are given enough space and have lower slaughter rates. Nevertheless, practices like these are responsible for less than one-thousandth of a percent of these animals.

In the end, while those “all-natural, cage-free” eggs seem like the best move, you may want to look deeper into what lies behind the label.

A Deadly Shower?

It seems counterintuitive that the daily routines built into our subconscious are more likely to kill than the dangers we’re quick to imagine. Many people believe that actions such as plane crashes or active shooters are the largest threat to our everyday lives. However, you would be surprised to learn that it is the little things that are the real hidden killers.

Things that are beyond our control such as a derailed train ride or unexpected earthquake might make up the average person’s nightmares. In reality, the actions that make up your day to day regimen such as taking a shower have a much greater impact on your life. The level of threat these actions pose may be small, but when multiplied by the number of times they are performed, the likelihood of injury soars.

This does not necessarily mean one should completely reshape their normal habits, but instead simply pay more attention to situations they may have become too comfortable with.  As a result of being exposed to these risk factors so frequently, one becomes immune to them, such as driving on a wet road. We’ve all heard of, and even experienced, minor incidents accompanied by activities such as these, yet our mind remains on auto-pilot.

Sooner or later, after years of everyday practice, that small risk factor adds up until suddenly you become the not-so-tiny statistic. After all, sometimes the things we’ve become most familiarized with can actually lead to our downfall.

3 thoughts on “Summaries- Alpacaqueen”

  1. 1. This is good writing, Alpaca. I’m going to quibble, of course, out of a compulsion to improve things, but you’ve got a very strong first draft here. Later drafts are always improved by substituting very specific terms and phrasing wherever the original shows vagueness or ambiguity. There’s little here, but where it is, you could do better.

    “Helping others” is vague. So vague it’s hard to imagine what “the complete opposite” might mean. On the other hand, “provide people with shoes” is nicely specific if we understand that the shoes are given away for free. (Jimmy Choo “provides people with shoes” too.)

    “Put a label to their good-doings” sounds specific, but its actual meaning is squirmy, and “making a difference in the world” is done equally thoroughly by both Mother Teresa and Saddam Hussein.

    So you see what I mean. I won’t belabor this point.

    2. If you don’t mind, Alpaca, I’d like to spend some time on just the first paragraph here.

    —The labels don’t indicate that animals are being poorly treated as you suggest. I get your point, but you’ve said it backwards. What you mean is, “It’s counterintuitive that labels promising humane animal treatment in fact cover up terrible abuses.”

    —The bombardment of Americans by assorted labels is irrelevant to your point. Label quantity, diversity, complexity, don’t contribute to your summary’s purpose.

    —The labels that matter are those that mislead. All-natural means the chicken is real, not that its life was natural.

    Grammar and Punctuation:
    —Watch your possessives and plurals. “And although these may ease the consumer’s mind . . . .”
    —Periods and commas ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS go inside the quotation marks: to know their chicken is “all-natural,” these trademarks . . . .

    3. You do this very nicely, Alpaca, when you get to the point. Your “level of threat . . . multiplied by repetition” sentence is very good.

    But see how many verses you sing before you get to the chorus:
    —”Daily routines” are more likely to kill than imagined dangers.
    —Plane crashes or shootings are less likely to kill us than “little things.”
    —Nightmares like derailed trains or earthquakes are less impactful than daily showers.

    Overall this is fine work, Alpaca, despite my multitude of notes. I like this level of detail, and I cherish interaction with my students over their texts, but it’s not what every student wants. You get to decide, but you must share your choice with me. Ask for feedback whenever you want it. I’ll freely give it, but only as long as you respond AND, of course, revise.

    Your reactions?


    1. Professor Hodges,
      Thank you for taking the time to thoroughly critique my summaries. I am always eager to improve my work, so I appreciate the detail. I will look into being more specific with how I phrase some sentences and also condense others that don’t quite contribute to the point I’m getting to.


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