How cheap is too cheap?

by Cellobella on Wednesday, April 25, 2012 · 4 comments

The other day my son said he needed some new clothes.

Now I’m lucky, because he doesn’t care about labels and would rather have lots of cheap clothes than one or two designer pieces.

Except when it comes to hiking gear.

And he is still enjoying the suit I bought him for his year 12 ball.

So we went down to Kmart at his request and for $138 bought:

2 jumpers
3 teeshirts
2 pairs of jeans
socks
jocks
1 pair sandshoes

Not a bad little haul.

But I felt guilty.

The jeans were $7.

How can you make jeans for $7??

You can’t even buy the material.

Imagine all the work that has gone into them.

Growing the cotton. Harvesting it. Processing it. Cutting it. Sewing it. Delivering it from China to Australia.

Then the mark up in the shop.

$7.

Who have I had to exploit to enable me to buy those jeans?

Today, in order to write this post I went to the Kmart website.

From the website

50 cents?

Must be a typo.

This is getting ridiculous.

The guilt didn’t stop me from buying the jeans this time.

I try and justify the cost against the $150 I spent on my own jeans a few weeks ago.

And that’s stupid too.

This world is crazy.

{ 4 comments }

river April 25, 2012 at 6:45 pm

I’m betting the $7 jeans cost as much to make as the $150 jeans and the people who make them get paid the same tiny amount. I’m on a tight budget, so if I could find $7 jeans in my size I’d be happy. And I’d own more than one pair.

Cellobella April 25, 2012 at 6:54 pm

It just seems amazing to me.

In Perth for $7 you could get:
- a sandwich – as long as it wasn’t too fancy
- 1.5 coffees
- one glass of wine during happy hour
- parking for a couple of hours in the city
- 2 x 2-zone train ride
- half a fast food chicken

M April 25, 2012 at 9:18 pm

$7 (and 50c!) does seem ridiculous. Were they ‘loss leaders’ or was it right across the board? I do worry about the ethics of buying things for a price less than the raw materials.

trish April 26, 2012 at 6:36 pm

This is something I struggle with, too. My 14yo daughter wants clothes from shops that stock things that were almost certainly made in some god-awful sweat-shop in deepest, darkest China. I’d rather she wear Fairtrade Cotton t-shirts.

But it’s a crazy, imperfect world. And with my kids outgrowing their clothes every few months on account of puberty and the growth hormones in chicken it seems a bit ridiculous to spend too much.

I offset their cheap wardrobes with terribly expensive clothes from posh boutiques. Everyone’s happy. Kinda.

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