So last Saturday morning I drove down to Walmart...to get the oil changed on my rapidly aging 2006 Honda Odyssey. So, while waiting I grabbed a cart and elbowed my way through the pajama-clad and tube-socked human dregs who frequent Walmart, and came across a stack of Hanes T-Shirts selling for $2.00 each.
Two dollars, folks! Now I readily admit that my daily wardrobe consists of Hanes T-shirts (no irritating little collar tag..what an innovation) and a pair of shorts. I normally gladly pay $5 bucks for those Hanes T-shirts. And I do it without my conscience bothering me much. But $2.00?
Here's the problem I have with $2.00 Hanes T-Shirts. First, let's reverse engineer these damn things, starting with the ultimate retail end on the Walmart shelf. Yes, Walmart has to make a profit. They have to pay store labor to unbox them and get them on the shelf. They have to pay that same labor force to go back and re-fold them and put them back in orderly stacks after they've been fondled and mangled by the Walmart denizens who frequent the place. They have to pay for the gas and maintenance and trucker's salary to get them from a distribution center. And the distribution center has labor costs. And Walmart has to truck those shirts from the Long Beach dock where they arrived in a Chinese shipping container. And, back in China, either slave labor or prison labor manufactured those shirts, loaded them on the ship and China had to pay the fuel costs and Ramen suppers for their sailors. And somewhere in that long line someone had to pick that damn cotton, used to make that damn t-shirt to begin with.
Okay, folks. Figure it out for yourselves! Somewhere, anywhere down the production and distribution line, someone is getting screwed royally...exploited to a point of extreme misery! So, last Saturday I drew the line. Though tempted like hell to toss a few of those $2 dollar Hanes T-shirts in my shopping cart, I demurred. I'll be damned if I'll contribute to the cruel, cruel exploitation of human beings. While I was a bit queasy about those $5 dollar shirts, I could at least convince myself that Xing-Sang in that prison factory was getting some extra Ramen for his troubles. But, at $2.00 a shirt, I'm pretty sure some skeletal and elfin Chinamen is suffering from those bargain basement T-shirts.
While I'm not ready to buy my T-shirts at Nordstroms, I certainly won't buy those $2 dollar shirts down at my local Walmart. A guys gotta have a bit of conscience.....even if it's at the cost of a $3 dollar markup.
By the way, I'd gladly pay $7 bucks for that same T-shirt if I knew for certain it was made in America.