Tuesday, December 30, 2008

"Where have you been hiding out lately, honey? You can't dress trashy 'till you spend a lot of money." --Billy Joel

Went to the mall today, in search of a pair of new jeans, for less than $30. Ideally.

After a while, malls scare the hell out of me.

More specifically, name brand clothing stores scare the hell out of me.

Who the crap pays $69.95 for jeans that are already ripped and worn?!

It can't be a generational gap that causes my disgust. Because people have paying too much money for worn jeans for at least 20 years.

Scars from middle school? (And high school, for that matter...) Do I automatically endow teeny bopper/young college kid brand clothing with the cruelty I suffered at the hands of Yuppie Teen America in my secondary school years? Possibly.

Or is it because I know I could get the same pair of jeans for under $10 (ideally) from the local thrift store, if I want it complete with worn knees and holes? To each his own, I guess. I know I got a lot more mileage out of my jeans, having bought them new first (for under $30, really), wearing them until they were worn, then keeping them in my wardrobe for those days when I want that ripped and worn jeans look. I don't have a problem with the ripped jeans look inherently...I have a problem with paying up the wazoo for them. Because of a tag.

Maybe its the fact that $69.95 can do a hell of a lot more than give you an old pair of jeans look. Like immunize about 86 children against the measles. Or immunize about 140 children against polio. Or provide over 1,300 disposable syringes to third world immunization campaigns. Or provide roughly 1,165 children with rehydration salts (severe dehydration is the leading cause of death among children in many third world countries). Or give 66 children a paper pad, a pen, and a pencil. Or purchase high energy protein biscuits to keep 12 children alive for one more month.

I'm not saying that all brand-name clothing is the devil. I'm not saying you should be bargain-shopping in order to send every penny to Unicef (which is the source of those statistics up there). If we're talking spending money on THINGS when there are people out there who need NECESSITIES, I'm just as guilty, and maybe even more so because I'm conscious of what I'm doing. And I suppose this entry is just a vague attempt at therapy for my very long and difficult day...my frustrated thoughts as I wandered from store to terrifying store in search of jeans. So I'm not saying it's time for socialism, or that everyone needs to join the Peace Corps or that we need to start boycotting clothing chains. I'm saying that this is a problem. I'm saying that people don't have clean water. I'm saying that teachers are trying to teach without chalkboards or paper or pens. I'm saying that children are dying of dehydration and malaria. I'm saying that just closing your eyes to a problem doesn't make it go away.

Then again, neither does just talking about it.


  1. I haven't read the rest of your blog in my hasty excitment to comment on the first paragraph ish or so whatever you and I both call a paragraph (which usually consists of one sentence hahahaa)

    My dad has a theory that hollister's jeans are ripped and worn by children in sweat shops all over the other side of the world

    and I cant stand those jeans at all.

    I'd rather buy DI jeans and rip those up any day

    in the mud or the snow or on the gravel myself.

    Because THOSE I could wear proudly.

  2. PS. talking about problems makes people more AWARE that there is a problem to begin with. I think that's a really important part of helping with those issues. The issue, in the end is that it isn't our PRIMARY issue- it's somebody elses, and the concept of somebody else is becoming more and more and more foreign. Literally and figuratively. But Liz, it is people like you who TALKED to me in my sophmore year of highschool at a rotary leadership camp, and convinced me (at that time I was a vividly awkward and shy teenager at one of the largest and most reknown high schools in the country)
    and my really good outgoing friend Krista to walk around for four hours shaking a water jug at people and telling them about the huge water crisis in india at that time.
    In those four hours we collected eight hundred dollars. This was a school where the kids drove nicer cars than the teachers. With that we had the money to send rotarians to india and build two modern covered well systems before the tsunami in 2004.
    People like you move the world with words.