LVC, WARM FUZZIES AND CONSUMERISM
What she heard was half-true. I love TOMS (seriously check them out, a definite model for aspiring triple-bottom-line businesses everywhere), especially since they've made an explicit commitment to not only giving a pair of shoes to a child in need for every pair that's bought, but to require fair labor practices in their factories.
What I actually said was that buying TOMS was great but it wasn't the answer. My ideology was: If you don't need new shoes, don't buy any. Buying TOMS because it makes you feel good to support the cause plus you get something out of it, instead of buying TOMS as a replacement for another shoe that you were already going to buy because you need new shoes, substitutes one "evil" for another - supporting unethical labor practices for supporting unnecessary consumerism.
It's a tough, weird ethical debate; surely buying TOMS, no matter how many pairs, is better than buying sweatshop-produced shoes, and gets more shoes onto the feet of children in Argentina and South Africa and wherever else TOMS gives shoes. Add to that the fact that the more TOMS we buy means more fair-wage jobs for folks in Argentina. But instead of "wasting" resources with a purchase, your money will be much better spent through a donation, no matter how ethical the company.