This past weekend some of the girls and I went into San Francisco for a fun day filled with shopping, eating, and nail salons. It was nice to get out of Half Moon Bay for a while and enjoy the beautiful weather. While we were walking down the street, I noticed a girl walking by us that was wearing an adorable green and white striped dress. I jokingly asked Katie if she would go and ask her where she bought it. I shouldn’t have been surprised that Katie ran over to the girl, complemented her dress, and asked her is she would tell her where she purchased it. Assuming that she had bought it at a small boutique or a high-end store out of my budget, I was excited when Katie returned to report that she had recently bought it at Forever21. While I was busy daydreaming about going to buy this dress, planning when I would be able to go find the nearest Forever21 store, Adrienne interrupted my thought process with, “Do you know that Forever21 received a poor grade for Free2Work?”
I spent the rest of the evening trying to find a way to justify shopping at Forever21 now that I know about their Free2Work Grade. What if I just bought the 1 dress and then never shopped there again? It’s so cheap! Surely 1 dress is not going to make a difference to their profit margins or their future productions of clothing….and on and on it went.
I have always had a passion for justice and tried to live my life in a way that reflects that. I stopped shopping at Wal-Mart years ago because of the way they treat their employees and their lack of social compliance regulations. But let’s be honest- anything I can get at Wal-Mart I can get at Target. My friends comments of ‘but everything is so much cheaper at Wal-Mart!” is always met with, ‘but why do you think that is?’ I am willing to pay a little bit more for products that I know were made by people who receive a living wage and who are treated with dignity and respect.
When I got home I realized that my way of thinking was exactly the problem with our society. Companies can get away with human trafficking and labor abuses because we all think that our purchase isn’t going to make a difference. But what if everyone held these companies responsible? Today I pledge to not shop at Forever21 until they fix the abuses in their supply chains, even if that means I won’t be wearing an adorable green and white striped dress anytime soon.