Boiling Frogs

The problem with these tissue-thin t-shirts and other items of clothing being manufactured these days is that they’re pure crap. The retailers claim they make them this way to layer, but that is a lie. They make them that way because first, you do need to layer so no one can see through them, thereby requiring one to purchase two shirts instead of one, and second, because these items of clothing disintegrate at a much faster rate than their thicker cousins, thereby requiring us to purchase new items much sooner and also keeping us from reselling them because they’re too junky to last long. I won’t even get into how ridiculous layering multiple shirts looks past the age of 20.

We’ve all been boiling frogs on this. Fabrics have gradually gotten thinner and thinner, while the price has crept ever northward. I keep clothes I like forever. I dug out an old t-shirt I bought 20 odd years ago. It isn’t anything special, it had just gotten stuffed into a box of keepsake things during a move years ago, and I hadn’t seen it in forever. The thing is THICK. You can’t see a hint of light through it. It’s solid and well-made. And it probably cost me 20 bucks in the early 90s. You can’t even find t-shirts like this now. Even the high-end retailers sell these tissue-thin shirts that last maybe two years with regular wearing.

Nuts. Why don’t we all rebel?

The Gap is so Dumb

The Gap is so dumb.  Okay, I know my even saying that is dumb, but seriously, it is.  I don’t love the Gap.  I don’t like their business practices very much, plus some of their stuff is really expensive for what it is (although I realize their model is to price really high then get people to buy on sales).

Anyway, even though I don’t love them, I will go in there for t-shirts and things because they are one of the few places left that sell t-shirts that are not so thin you can see through them. I hate that trend.  I think the stores want us to think we are supposed to layer them or something, but that’s a load of baloney.  First of all, once a person is past 24, layering a bunch of t-shirts looks ridiculous, like you’re trying to be 19 again or something.  Secondly, if you are more than 98 pounds, layering a bunch of t-shirts just makes you look bigger and if you’re already bigger than you want to be, why would you want to look bigger still?  Finally, I think their pretending like that is what we are supposed to be doing is a load of crap.  Retailers just want to charge the same price for a crappy thin t-shirt as we pay for one that is woven more densely, that way they make more money for less product.  That’s the ultimate point, I think, to get us all used to thin, junky t-shirts so we think the thick ones are a luxury and they can charge more.

Again, anyway.  The point of my saying the Gap is so dumb is that I bought this shirt at the Gap recently on clearance (their model, get you to buy on clearance because that is all their junk is worth), and it had this tag on it that read THIS FABRIC IS PURE SPRING, LIGHT AND AIRY WITH A SOFT SEXY DRAPE.  Wow.  Seriously?  Having worked for my very feminine, gay uncle in his fashion designing business, I have to ask, “What drag queen came up with that bullshit, anyway?”  Pure spring — seriously?  Soft, sexy drape?  Um, no.

Another reason the Gap is stupid is that lately they have been trying out this “sexy drape” thing on many clothing items by sewing in horrible folds and creases in places where there should be none.  It’s like they want to permanently place an ugly wrinkle after wearing something to sleep in.  For instance, they have these tank tops with straps that are bent, then sewn, then bent.  Basically, it makes the strap not lie flat.  I don’t want straps that don’t lie flat because they don’t lie in a straight line either, which means half the time my bra strap is hanging out.  Now, there are tops I will wear with my bra straps showing because that is the look, but this tank top is not one of them.  It looks like a dressy tank top only it has this ugly, weird twisty strap thing going on, and you can’t iron it out.  Unfortunately, when I bought the shirt, I thought the strap was just messed up and needed to be ironed, so I bought the shirt.  Unfortunately again, I bought it with some things I bought for Milla, she carried the bag, and she put the receipt inside the bag.  This means that when we got home and she dumped her things out and I forgot about my shirt for a few days, by the time I remembered it and realized the strap was a big mess, the receipt was lost.  This did, however, provide me with an opportunity to explain to Milla that she should place the receipt in my wallet from now on, so all was not lost in the cause, although I don’t think the lesson was worth $18.99.

In any case, I have this weird label here from another shirt I bought there on clearance.  This shirt was only like $4.99, down from $78 — seriously, Gap?  Seriously?  Are you smoking crack? Do you think ANYONE in their right mind is going to buy this junk for that?  — But I digress.  The shirt in question is made from some kind of drapey fabric.  It is made to wear under a suit jacket or something, which is what I bought it for.  But it too has a weird flap sewn in that makes zero sense.  When I bought it, I noticed the flap and examined it carefully to see whether I could sew or iron it into something normal.  I could, and the price was right, so I bought it.  I had also tried on many others with weird twists or drapes or whatever the hell that I did not buy because they were such big messes, there was no way ironing or sewing would work things out, but this one was okay.  I also tried on some pants where they sewed in messed up, wrinkly cuffs.  I don’t like messed up, wrinkly cuffs.  I like my cuffed pants to have the cuffs lying flat and even all around.  Ewww.  Did not buy those even though they were only $7.99 or something on clearance. The ridiculous cuffs were probably why they were so cheap on clearance.

So I bring home this shirt and hang it in the closet, then take it out to iron the weird wrinkle thing and see this tag and have to wonder about the drag queen who wrote it. Actually, it was probably a committee of drag queens because corporations love committees to come up with stupid things to try and get people to buy.  The drag queens are probably the kind who can’t get a job at Calvin Klein or Prada or whatever, so they are working at the Gap trying to break into the business.  I don’t know.  In any case, they come up with these stupid sewn in wrinkles and flaps then add a tag that says PURE SPRING, LIGHT AND AIRY WITH A SOFT SEXY DRAPE.  Another aside, Gap, if you are going to use the one comma, why not go all the way and use them in other places too, like after the word sexy?  But again a digression.  I had to laugh.  You think you can sew in weird flaps and the clothing item is now going to have a soft, sexy drape?  No.  It doesn’t work that way, especially on mass-produced, sweatshop from China crap from the Gap.

I’m just saying.

We Need to Help Haiti

Imagine Katrina hitting New Orleans not once, not twice, or even three times.  Imagine just as one storm flits away, people are dying and starving, levies are bursting, the city is in utter chaos.  Then it gets hit again, and again, and again.  This is the situation facing Haiti today, and Haiti has even fewer resources and options than New Orleans did when it was hit by Katrina.

We are not hearing enough about Haiti, and what we are hearing only skims the surface of what needs to be discussed. Haiti has been bombarded by storms, several in just the last few weeks.  The country has been so deforested in the last five decades that there are no root systems to hold the ground together.  Water sits on the soil creating a muddy disaster area.  There is no ground in which to grow crops, there are virtually no trees, there is no fuel to heat or cook with, the country is nearly under water, and its cities are cut off from the rest of the world.  We need to help, not just the problem today, but the global problems the country faces.

Immediately, people are suffering. They need food, clothes, and shelter from the elements.  Then we need to help them with their long term problems.  The country needs to be properly reforested.  There needs to be an alternative fuel plan so citizens do not have to continue using the remaining forests as a fuel source. Food security needs to be created and developed by addressing unfair trade practices and creating jobs.

For more information on this global problem, see this article in Wikipedia and another that gives some detail on the complexity of Haiti’s problems.