Jan 19, 2016

Outrage hobbyists miss the point in $2 Target shirt storm

Was the recent campaign against Target's $2 back-to-school-special shirts effective boycotting or just “old-fashioned bogan bashing”?

Helen Razer — Writer and Broadcaster

Helen Razer

Writer and Broadcaster

For several hours last weekend, the internet found itself without anyone to blame. No morally confusing rock star had died, no cricketing rogue had misspoken, and were it not for the release of a clothing chain-store catalogue, the nation’s outrage hobbyists may have found themselves facing an empty afternoon. As the market revealed its back-to-school specials, justice claimed itself a project.


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7 thoughts on “Outrage hobbyists miss the point in $2 Target shirt storm

  1. Di Keller

    Loss leaders are typically very limited in numbers. These stores have huge stocks of these unbelievably cheap articles of clothing , and Target at least has them all the time . So no, not loss leaders. Someone is losing out.

  2. AR

    If the consumer is not responsible then go on slathering palm oil based cosmetics (once whale derived) and bugger the orang.
    BDS has a great future, in many many areas of 21stC consumer lifestyle, as BigOil is discovering..

  3. Norman Hanscombe

    Consumers may TALK about ethical buying, but that’s about as far as it generally goes.

  4. CML

    So please tell…how is it going to help the Bangladeshi textile workers if we don’t buy their T-shirts at all???
    I agree with Helen…people with limited incomes do NOT have a choice about how much they pay for a T-shirt, ethical or otherwise!
    Surely the latest research by Oxfam should tell you something…3.5 billion people on the bottom of the economic scale have the same economic worth as the top 62, yes 62, of the world’s richest individuals…some of them from both ends live in Oz!
    Inequality on that scale is obscene…perhaps the ‘moral protesters’ would like to do something about that little problem.
    The current LNP/Talcum government sure as hell won’t!!

  5. ken svay

    I have lived in Cambodia for many years and I know a lot about the garment industry here. Do I dare to say more than anyone else on Crikey. It costs about $2.50 to produce a shirt in Cambodia and less than 50 cents is the labour content.
    But jacking wages is not the answer, higher wages mean higher rents for shacks and more expensive food at the stalls around the factories. And higher charges for transport to work if one doesn’t live four or five to a room. Women are crammed into trucks for the ride home on terrible roads with terrible drivers. Two trucks collided last week with four women dead and sixty injured.
    Two years ago three or four women were shot at a demonstration for higher wages. The shooter was the mayor of Bavet who is yet to face justice. They worked at the factory producing Puma shoes. There are often mass fainting episodes caused by malnutrition, heat and chemicals-these women cant afford to eat properly.
    Most people have no idea who the biggest clothing firms in the world are, they make massive profits and are anonymous. But there are two men in Sri Lanka with lots of factories who look after their workers and still make money.
    The international garment industry is a disgrace.

    1. brian larcom

      So raising wages is not the answer? I kinda think it is, along with other reforms of course.

  6. Roberto

    Then there are the issues about growing cotton and the waste of water etc affecting the climate and agricultural land, and the huge amount of waste generated by our overconsumption of clothes. Many items end in landfill well before they are worn out. I saw some figures a couple of years ago and it was surprising how much our clothing consumption contributed to our greenhouse footprint. It was comparable to fuel use. So maybe T shirts should not be used as loss leaders, and maybe everyone would be better served by buying one or two well made items that will last than semi disposable items, or try Vinnies or other recycling centres for clothes.

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