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Fashion and morality

post #1 of 50
Thread Starter 
Hi everyone, I think we can all agree that stealing is wrong. But, I just wanted to know if your conscience, sense of right and wrong, affects your shopping. Where do you draw the line? I'm going to list some scenarios, and I just wanted to get an idea what everyone thought of them. Let's assume that you don't have to worry about getting caught. Would you consider all of them wrong, and something you would never do: a) switching the pants on a suit/pant combo so they'll fit you. or, switching shoes so you'll get 2 diff sized shoes for your feet so they'll fit you. b) switching tags on items, so that you can purchase something for a lower price c) using someone's employee discount, which you did not earn, to puchase something d) hiding something before a sale, so that you can come back later and purchase it for the sale price. We're assuming that the store doesn't have pre-sale. e) wearing fur. I know this isn't popular in men's fashion, but let's say those full length fur coats from the Harvard-Yale games became popular again. f) buying clothes from a country that is repressive, so that this money helps to prop up a dictorship. Or, buying clothes from a region where you know that the working conditions are very exploitative and that workers get paid just a pittance. I think this is referring to probably to every non NATO country. h) how about buying products from companies that use child labor. Didn't nike have that problem. All i remember is that Air Jordan said that it wasn't his problem. Imagine if Kathy Lee Gifford had said that. i) Selling, buying 2nd hand items like on EBay. Before downloading, weren't singers complaining about how they weren't getting paid for their CDs sold by stores for used CDS. I think Garth Brooks made a fuss about this when he was the King. Can you use that same argument for when we buy clothes on Ebay. Thanks
post #2 of 50
a) switching the pants on a suit/pant combo so they'll fit you. or, switching shoes so you'll get 2 diff sized shoes for your feet so they'll fit you. I'd do it. What can I say? I'm being honest. But, I don't have that problem with shoes, and I've never needed to buy a suit, so I don't know if I have that problem or not yet. b) switching tags on items, so that you can purchase something for a lower price No. I wouldn't. I don't have the nerve. I'd probably get caught. c) using someone's employee discount, which you did not earn, to puchase something Hey. When you're short on cash and a friend is willing to use an employee discount for you.. d) hiding something before a sale, so that you can come back later and purchase it for the sale price. We're assuming that the store doesn't have pre-sale. I've never hid something for this reason, but I have hidden things to come back and buy them later in that day. I wouldn't buy them right then, because I thought I might find something better somewhere else. Nothing wrong with that. e) wearing fur. I know this isn't popular in men's fashion, but let's say those full length fur coats from the Harvard-Yale games became popular again. I don't like those fur coats anyways, but I'd wear fur if it was something I liked. f) buying clothes from a country that is repressive, so that this money helps to prop up a dictorship. Or, buying clothes from a region where you know that the working conditions are very exploitative and that workers get paid just a pittance. I think this is referring to probably to every non NATO country. I buy what I like. h) how about buying products from companies that use child labor. Didn't nike have that problem. All i remember is that Air Jordan said that it wasn't his problem. Imagine if Kathy Lee Gifford had said that. I buy what I like. i) Selling, buying 2nd hand items like on EBay. Before downloading, weren't singers complaining about how they weren't getting paid for their CDs sold by stores for used CDS. I think Garth Brooks made a fuss about this when he was the King. Can you use that same argument for when we buy clothes on Ebay. Not everyone can afford items from high end designers at retail. Everyone can afford a normal priced CD. Well, maybe not EVERYONE. I just think that second hand is a great way for people with lower incomes to afford some luxury. I don't see why anyone would be opposed to this, either. It's better than just throwing out an item you don't like anymore. I don't even understand the argument against selling second hand. I guess I sound pretty insensitive, huh?
post #3 of 50
a) switching the pants on a suit/pant combo so they'll fit you. or, switching shoes so you'll get 2 diff sized shoes for your feet so they'll fit you. Sure, this isn't immoral. I just ask them if I can get the pants or the shoe, instead of the one that comes with the combo. That's why we have suit separates. b) switching tags on items, so that you can purchase something for a lower price People who do this deserve to be shot. They justify getting their freebies at the ultimate expense of others. c) using someone's  employee discount, which you did not earn, to puchase something I have no idea, but I can say this: If I didn't earn it, I wouldn't use it. Same goes for everything in life. People who use what they don't earn are leeches by definition. d) hiding something before a sale, so that you can come back later and purchase it for the sale price. We're assuming that the store doesn't have pre-sale. You can hide stuff before a sale? I don't know if it matters. Hell, if I don't get something I want this year's sale, there's always next year, and my wallet will probably thank me for delaying my purchase. e) wearing fur. I know this isn't popular in men's fashion, but let's say those full length fur coats from the Harvard-Yale games became popular again. Depends on which kind of fur. Minks are nasty little animals. Tiger/leopard/large wild cat fur, on the other hand, makes me violent (and no, I'm not affiliated with PETA.) There's something different about using fur bred in captivity and using fur that's obviously coming from protected species. f) buying clothes from a country that is repressive, so that this money helps to prop up a dictorship. Or, buying clothes from a region where you know that the working conditions are very exploitative and that workers get paid just a pittance. I think this is referring to probably to every non NATO country. You mean China? I dig what the Chinese government does, sometimes: in America, with its willy-nilly free market economy, you have execs doing all sorts of things, especially when it comes to influencing politics. In China, whenever executives get too ambitious, the government arrests them, tries them, and shoots them. I think America has had during its history quite a few top-ranking business officials that deserved to be shot. Still, clothes-buying doesn't factor that much into "political oppression" for me. After all, sweatshops do exist in the United States. Even worse sweatshops exist south of the border. If anything, if you buy clothes that come from one of these countries, you are not directly supporting the regime: You are supporting the company that chose to rake in more money by spending less on production. And that makes me angrier, because it's one thing for some guy to buy something Made in China, and it's something else for Coach to make its bags there. The latter example almost tries to rationalize the whole bad labor thing. It makes me sick. So do I buy things that go to offensive regimes? Depends on your definition. America was none-too-great of an advocate of worker safety a hundred years ago. Now, America is wealthy enough to channel funds into improving worker safety, and putting in a base wage. Other countries might not have this luxury. When it comes down to "brass tacks," so to speak, I would prefer if what I bought came from either Europe or North America, because I would rather spend more on a product I can believe was made with expertise, rather than spending more for cheap labor, the excess of which just ends up in the company's pockets. h) how about buying products from companies that use child labor. Didn't nike have that problem. All i remember is that Air Jordan said  that it wasn't his problem. Imagine if Kathy Lee Gifford had said that. Hell no. I would never buy anything made by children. But the sad thing is, some countries don't have a choice. Some families are so poor they make their children go to work. The problem is far greater than simply "CHILDREN MAKE NIKE SHOES." And yes, it wasn't Jordan's problem. He was just an advocate of Nike's products. He didn't have any sort of managerial or decision-making position with the company. Yes, he could have decided to withdraw his support of the company, but what's an athlete to do without the extra millions of dollars coming from it? (I'm being sarcastic with the last part.) i) Selling, buying 2nd hand items like on EBay. Before downloading, weren't singers complaining about how they weren't getting paid for their CDs sold by stores for used CDS. I think Garth Brooks made a fuss about this when he was the King. Can you use that same argument for when we buy clothes on Ebay. No. Buying used-anything is legal. I don't know what the singers were complaining about, if what you said is true, although music piracy is definitely a greater and much more valid problem. People buy used cars. People can buy used clothes. And, much of it comes from closeouts, so in some cases, they're new. But hey, all these answers here won't help you develop your own moral compass. That comes with life, not the Internet.
post #4 of 50
It is difficult to judge by the country of originiation if a garment was produced by child/exploited workers. I don't believe Asian countries such as Hong Kong, South Korea, or Taiwan, exploit workers although they may be paid far less than what Americans consider a minimum wage. Also note that there are illegal immigrants in US who work in sweatshop-like conditions so just because it's made in USA doesn't mean the workers were paid a fair wage. As far as companies known to use child labor/sweatshops, I don't think we can blame them because in many cases they merely outsource their production and exploitations happen at the level where they have no control over. But in some cases companies probably know the implication of their orders, that certain amount of garments at certain prices are simply impossible without circumventing labor laws, yet choose to ignore. In that case I wouldn't buy from such companies, i.e. Walmart, although it's certainly not the only reason I cringe at the idea of shopping at Walmart. Buying used clothing should be no problem. It's different from music CDs because it's fairly easy to duplicate them, often without much quality loss, and then sell the original. Lastly I doubt companies don't make profits when employees use their discount perks. Often you see stores having some "Friend and Family" events and offer discount coupons, often 20~30% off, which I think is approximately what employees get. I don't think they are just being nice- it's anohter way to make profits. They just don't want to lower their regular prices.
post #5 of 50
Quote:
It is difficult to judge by the country of originiation if a garment was produced by child/exploited workers. I don't believe Asian countries such as Hong Kong, South Korea, or Taiwan, exploit workers although they may be paid far less than what Americans consider a minimum wage. Also note that there are illegal immigrants in US who work in sweatshop-like conditions so just because it's made in USA doesn't mean the workers were paid a fair wage.
Oh, but we do. Here's how it works: Suppose someone comes over from the Phillipines looking for work. Now, in order to get the visa, he'll have to curry the favor of a sponsoring company: Without the company's permission, he will be denied the visa. Furthermore, they are not allowed to change jobs. And, what's more, the company can easily allow the visa to expire, thus categorizing our poor man as an illegal immigrant, which opens the door for exploitation making baby socks for 50 cents an hour. This is happening in a country that claims to be joining the ranks of first-world nations across the world. I've been to these places myself. It's heartbreaking and enraging. I am not surprised that the U.S. similarly exploits illegal immigrants this way, but to actually convert a legal immigrant to an illegal immigrant through a loophole in the law, while the immigrant is still within the country? That's even more horrendous.
post #6 of 50
a.  I wouldn't make such a switch, as it would likely render the remaining garment unsalable and impart financial losses to the company.  This deliberate action is theft. b.  Switching price tags in order to get an item for a  reduced amount is tantamount to theft.  I wouldn't do it. c.  I would consider using a friends employee discount.  I tend to believe that such behavior is factored in when companies determine how much of an employee discount to provide.  I still consider it wrong, however.  But I'm weak. d.  No to hiding something prior to a sale. e.  Fur doesn't interest me personally; however, if it did, I would wear it. f.  Dependent on the extent of subjugation, I might choose to not purchase goods from countries with repressive governments.  Of course consideration would have to be given to whether the attempt to impose our moral standards on others would improve or worsen their already unenviable plights.  And, I don't agree with you that the governments of all non-NATO nations are necessarily repressive and exploitative. g.  -- h.  Were it brought to my attention that child labor was being used in production, I would not purchase those products, or if this was widely practiced, I may choose to boycott all products of that nation. i.  An artist is entitled to a fair profit at the time of sale.  Expectation by artist of subsequent profits or royalties for transfer of media would get far to complex and messy.  What's next, closure of the local libraries?
post #7 of 50
a) switching the pants on a suit/pant combo so they'll fit you. or, switching shoes so you'll get 2 diff sized shoes for your feet so they'll fit you. Absolutely. b) switching tags on items, so that you can purchase something for a lower price. Nah, that's just cheating. c) using someone's employee discount, which you did not earn, to puchase something Absolutely. d) hiding something before a sale, so that you can come back later and purchase it for the sale price. We're assuming that the store doesn't have pre-sale. Never done it, but it sounds like a great idea. e) wearing fur. I know this isn't popular in men's fashion, but let's say those full length fur coats from the Harvard-Yale games became popular again. No. I would never wear real fur, although I don't mind synthetic. And if you've seen the recent Dsquared runway acts, a lot of their jackets are lined in fur (which I am assuming is real in the case of Dsquared). Those types of jackets in general are becoming popular, and my answer is: No. I will never wear fur. f) buying clothes from a country that is repressive, so that this money helps to prop up a dictorship. Or, buying clothes from a region where you know that the working conditions are very exploitative and that workers get paid just a pittance. I think this is referring to probably to every non NATO country. Refer to Alias' response. I agree 100%, it was a great post. h) how about buying products from companies that use child labor. Didn't nike have that problem. All i remember is that Air Jordan said that it wasn't his problem. Imagine if Kathy Lee Gifford had said that. No. Never. i) Selling, buying 2nd hand items like on EBay. Before downloading, weren't singers complaining about how they weren't getting paid for their CDs sold by stores for used CDS. I think Garth Brooks made a fuss about this when he was the King. Can you use that same argument for when we buy clothes on Ebay. Absolutely. They sold the item once, they got their profit, its not their item anymore, whoever wants to sell it can sell it.
post #8 of 50
a) No, this is theft. b) No c) Only if allowed by the store. I have found in this situation that when I ask, they usually say yes, perhaps because they are stunned by the fact I ask. d) No e) No, do not like fur on guys, but encourage my wife to wear her fur jacket and or coat as often as possible. f) Try not to, but there have been occasions. h) Would not knowingly buy any products where children are exploited. i) have never purchased or sold anything on ebay or any other such venue. But this has more to do with own personal preference for buying/selling rather than with the "royalties" issue.
post #9 of 50
Most of these have a degree of moral reprehension, but the one I want to address is c) (using someone's employee discount, which you did not earn, to purchase something). Maybe I am immoral, but I feel that this is a minor if not a non-issue and have used this to my advantage. More specifically I have my own 20% corporate discount card for Borders, yet I don't own my own corporation nor work for one with a deal with Border's. A friend of mine that worked at Border's told me about the program and gave me the paperwork to fill out. To my knowledge anyone can sign up for the card, though I don't know how much my friend may have helped behind the scenes to insure that I got through without any difficulty. I am aware that this is lying and misreporting information, but feel no guilt about it. As I see it is more efficient to get want you want (favors, discounts, freebies, perks, promotions, whatever) and ahead in life more through networking than just hard work alone (like me starting my own business so as to get the discount "honestly"). Once again maybe I'm just a corrupt person for also I feel that if I would have been in Martha's place I would have used my connections so that I wouldn't lose my money in a failing stock, but that's another issue. As to actually using another's discount what is the difference between buying something giving their discount number/card (once again technically lying and misrepresenting information) and just telling them you saw this great shirt the other day and can they pick it up for you once they get off work and you'll pay them back? As far as I know most stores can't control what and for whom their employees buy for. The true problem with all this is the total extension of the idea that if everyone does this then these businesses would be out of business. That being quite true, though not everyone is a friend of an employee nor has the same connections that I do to get their own discount card. Just because something is bad in mass doesn't mean that it is wrong when only one person does it does it? I'm sure if everyone flushed their toilet at the same time it would create havoc the nation over, but then again flushing a toilet is not abusing someone's discount now is it. Anyway I feel that this is not any form of theft and no different then getting a friend to buy the item for you. All this reminds me of the same silly argument over buying clothes on Yoox and selling them on E-Bay. I personally have no guilt in using my connections or calling in favors that help me even if others don't have access to the same deals nor an agency intended for me to get whatever perks. Cheers. . .
post #10 of 50
a) switching the pants on a suit/pant combo so they'll fit you. or, switching shoes so you'll get 2 diff sized shoes for your feet so they'll fit you. Never had that issue. b) switching tags on items, so that you can purchase something for a lower price I do not see that as distinguished from theft. c) using someone's employee discount, which you did not earn, to puchase something Assuming that employee's consent, not a problem to me. Friends and family enjoying their ties to one another is the way the world works, and arguably the way it should work, too. d) hiding something before a sale, so that you can come back later and purchase it for the sale price. We're assuming that the store doesn't have pre-sale. To me, that falls under "what goes around, comes around". Someone who pulls stunts like that is much more likely to get a crappy used car or something. e) wearing fur. I know this isn't popular in men's fashion, but let's say those full length fur coats from the Harvard-Yale games became popular again. Human beings have worn animal pelts since the time of Prophet Adam. While I object to killing endangered animals, using all the byproducts of domesticated animals does not trouble me. f) buying clothes from a country that is repressive, so that this money helps to prop up a dictorship. Or, buying clothes from a region where you know that the working conditions are very exploitative and that workers get paid just a pittance. I think this is referring to probably to every non NATO country. That's racist. Not INTENTIONALLY racist, in most cases, but in fact racist nonetheless. By refusing to buy from countries the developing world with conditions that are not up to Western standards, all you're saying is that you wish to condemn all nonwhite peoples to a lifetime of scratching in the dirt for sustenance. I would direct any genuinely well-meaning people who are misguided in this respect to read a bit in the "Kristof Responds" 'blog at the New York Times website. Or do some serious travelling oneself. h) how about buying products from companies that use child labor. Didn't nike have that problem. All i remember is that Air Jordan said that it wasn't his problem. Imagine if Kathy Lee Gifford had said that. I believe that there is a unilinear path to development. At the bottom of that mountain is, unfortunately, child labour. The thing is, if you keep buying from such countries, conditions will improve there, just as they have in the UK, US, Germany, Japan, etc. i) Selling, buying 2nd hand items like on EBay. Before downloading, weren't singers complaining about how they weren't getting paid for their CDs sold by stores for used CDS. I think Garth Brooks made a fuss about this when he was the King. Can you use that same argument for when we buy clothes on Ebay. Garth Brooks was being a whiny twit, and the issues of digital exchange of data are entirely irrelevant to the buying and selling of concrete objects. What is more meritorious, recouping some investment and passing something of value on to another, or throwing that same thing in the trash? That said, I personally do not sell clothing I no longer desire. I give it away, either to relatives or to needy people. Clothes I stain, rip, or otherwise ruin I tend to wear to work in our garden until they are useless to anyone. Peace, JG
post #11 of 50
Quote:
Hi everyone, I
think we can all agree that stealing is wrong. But, I just wanted to know if your conscience, sense of right and wrong, affects your shopping. Where do you draw the line? I'm going to list some scenarios, and I just wanted to get an idea what everyone thought of them. Let's assume that you don't have to worry about getting caught. Would you consider all of them wrong, and something you would never do: a) switching the pants on a suit/pant combo so they'll fit you. or, switching shoes so you'll get 2 diff sized shoes for your feet so they'll fit you. No, I would consider myself to be a thief if I did any of that. b) switching tags on items, so that you can purchase something for a lower price No, the same reason as above c) using someone's  employee discount, which you did not earn, to puchase something Hard to tell     d) hiding something before a sale, so that you can come back later and purchase it for the sale price. We're assuming that the store doesn't have pre-sale. Tricky question    but no e) wearing fur. I know this isn't popular in men's fashion, but let's say those full length fur coats from the Harvard-Yale games became popular again. I would have no trouble at all wearing fur f) buying clothes from a country that is repressive, so that this money helps to prop up a dictorship. Or, buying clothes from a region where you know that the working conditions are very exploitative and that workers get paid just a pittance. I think this is referring to probably to every non NATO country. Who wants to support a dictatorship? h) how about buying products from companies that use child labor. Didn't nike have that problem. All i remember is that Air Jordan said  that it wasn't his problem. Imagine if Kathy Lee Gifford had said that. What are the consequences if, let say, everyone would stop buying products from a manufacture in a poor country who used child labour? Would these children end up in school? Probably not. It would most likely force more children in to prostitution. I do not like child labour but you need to see the bigger picture. These children are from poor homes and they can't afford school.
post #12 of 50
Thread Starter 
If anyone has some other moral dilema they can think of concerning clothes, feel free to add on this thread. I was just trying to think of stuff that has some gray in it. Some of them were pretty lame, and I was definitely grasping at straws there, especially with the last one. While the switching tags is definitely stealing, isn't it awfully similar to using your friend's employee discount. Let's say that you switched tags, and ended up saving 20%. I liked Tim's reply concerning Martha. It happens to me all the time. I have a friend who works at Wallmart, and he tells, "Dude, don't buy toilet paper today. It'll go on sale in a few more days. Hush-hush." Also, we all know that certain companies are sending their jobs overseas to save money, which supposedly, should be reflected in a lower price for the product. How much more would you be willing to spend if this meant better working conditions for workers. And, yes, I understand that other countries have lower living costs and standard of living so workers' pay will be nothing close to America Personally, with regards to the latter issuses, I think it shows how hard it is to be a functioning member of society if one was to totally abstain from corporations like that. I know there are some oil companies that totally bribed certain African officals to drill oil or build a pipeline in those countires. It had nothing to do with eventually helping that country, only enriching the elite. And, yet, I probably still get gas from those places. Maybe I'm cynical, but I think all those companies do that type of stuff. And, with regards to Nike and child labor, other companies do that. But, Nike was used as an example because its so well known. Sorry, didn't mean to sound racist, or unintentionally at least.
post #13 of 50
Quote:
Sorry, didn't mean to sound racist, or unintentionally at least.
Just to be clear, sir, I did not think you were a racist. I apologise if my earlier post conveyed otherwise. There are many well-meaning people who have views about the developing world and buying products from them similar to those expressed here. It is entirely possible to be both well-meaning and wrong. Most often, they have never been to a developing country and often they do not have a strong grasp of the history of labour movements in their own coutnries. The sad fact of the matter is that the natural order of things is for labour standards to be abhorrent until the workers in question themselves demand their rights. The press in the West decries union-busting in the developing world, but when the West was at a similar point in its economic evolution, the union-busters went by names like Henry Ford. It took a while for Western workers to get the rights they take for granted today, and they had to fight tooth-and-nail for all of them. It is sad but true that for workers in newly-industrialising countries to achieve similar rights, they will have to, on their own, struggle in a similar manner to the Western workers of the early 20th century. There are many issues that are nuanced with infinite shades of gray. However, assuming one aspires to the betterment of all of humanity, free and open trade just isn't one of them. (Neither, for that matter, is free and open migration.) Only if one aspires to lock in unfair advantages for workers in developed countries, at the expense of the world's poorest citizens, does trade take on shades of gray. That said, more regulation at the UN level is highly necessary, in order to reassert the force of law over the multinationals. Coming from a country with a long history of evildoing by Anglo-Dutch and American petro-trusts, I have observed first-hand the awful effects of these companies' utter lack of accountability. Peace, JG
post #14 of 50
Thread Starter 
I agree that America has a stain on it, with regards to labor relations. Nobody is denying that. But, just because it was wrong and happened once, that doesn't mean we should let it happen someplace else. In that era, there wasn't this mass of affluent people who could demand change with their pocketbooks. I don't want to sound like a protectionist, JoeG. I'm willing to pay more for my clothes, if it means that workers overseas have better working conditions.Sometimes, I think the money companies save with their lower labor costs, they use it to give bigger bonuses to management. I'm sorry but how can the UN really regulate multinational corporations. If you disagree or agree with the Iraq war, we must all admit that the UN was powerless to stop this war. And, all the economic books say what JoeG is saying. But, I wonder if that's still true with globalism today. If workers even begin to demand better treatment, these companies can ship their manufacturing to a even more cheaper country. There is now a unlimited supply of cheap labor. I believe that's what WalMart is doing. Also, for conditions to improve in the third world, they need capital. But, it seems that the capital the elites accumulate, they never reinvest in their own country. Instead, they go off to Europe to live a ghetto-fabulous lifestyle. Africa might be the richest continent in terms of natural resources, yet its level of poverty is beyond the grasp of most Americans.
post #15 of 50
After reading the answers I'm goin to spare me the effort of answering and subscribe to rayk's answers. I have no problem at all with wearing fur (not my cup of tea though) but taking something that I didn't earn will only make me lazy and keep me looking for the easy way out of everything. B
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