August 9, 2011

Cheap Clothes High Price

I love a good deal. In fact, I almost never leave Target without some cheap, adorable little scarf I'll wear maybe twice or three times, or a tee for one of the boys, which will inevitably be too pilled or stained beyond handing down. And, shame on me, I almost never look at the made-in labels anymore, so I can't tell you whether any of these largely disposable items was manufactured in Jordan. But the email I read today from Change.org reminded me that cheap clothes often have a high price.

The email outlined the abuses suffered by women working at Classic Factory in northern Jordan, quickly becoming known as the "rape factory," which makes clothing for major U.S. brands like Target, Walmart and Macy's, to name just a few. Dozens of Sri Lankan and Bangladeshi women have been repeatedly assaulted, the factory is under investigation, and a key perpetrator, Anil Santha, who bizarrely is still on the factory floor, is facing trial next week.  And yet Target, Walmart and Macy's continue buying Classic's clothing.

Why do these companies keep buying clothes from factories with known (and active) records of abuse? Because we consumers have quite the taste for highly disposable, beyond-belief cheap goods, and situations like these have to reach huge proportions before the average consumer hears word-one about them. After reading about the "rape factory," however, I must say my appetite for a deal is much diminished.  I signed the Institute for Global Labour and Human Rights petition, and I'll certainly pass on items made in Jordan from here on out.  But I think it should go without saying, Target, Walmart and Macy's et al., that I, and nobody I know, wants to buy clothing made by women who are being systematically and repeatedly raped in their workplace. 

Please visit Change.org for more information.

- M.

6 Comments
  • Allison Gryski
    August 10, 2011

    While the specific issues might change, there is always a high, hidden cost to cheap clothing because behind it there is cheap labour. And that’s not to mention the environmental cost of “disposable” clothing. As a result, I’ve been trying to do most of my shopping in the secondhand market lately.

  • Daina Selvig
    August 10, 2011

    Thank you for posting this (I signed). Like many (most?) others, I love my cheap clothing bargains. However, sometimes I need a stern reminder that cheap in terms of dollars does not mean that there is no cost.

  • Shana
    August 10, 2011

    Thanks, M. I signed as well. Totally heartbreaking and so important to remember.

  • Thenodramamomma.wordpress.com
    August 10, 2011

    Damn! Thanks for getting the word out. I love a deal, but I’m willing to pay more money to protect women’s lives and health.

  • Amber Parker
    August 10, 2011

    Thank you for posting this. Although I know the evils of cheap clothing, occasionally I stray and need a specific reminder like this to remind me why it just isn’t worth it.

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    May 27, 2012

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