Sunday, June 30, 2013

What do you think? (or: ethics and affordability)

So, I recently rewarded myself for finishing a major project by buying a shitload of jewelry from Forever 21. Ugh, I know. They are an evil company for a variety of reasons. But I wanted a big reward, and I got a huge box of really cute stuff for reasonable cost.

Anyway, I kind of want to take photos of them to show you, because I think I did a really good job picking things that look quality. But I feel a little weird linking to them, because of said evilness.
How evil do you think F21 is and what would you think of a post like that? 

This was partially inspired by a necklace I had seen on on blogs that costs $30-35 . . . but when I saw it in person, it looked shittier and cheaper than comparable things from F21 and cost more than 3x as much.

Do you think the jewelry you get places like Bauble Bar or other online shops is manufactured in a more ethical manner than the stuff from F21, or are they just marking it up more? I have sometimes seen items that look identical and are made from the same materials sold by F21 and for 6-7 times the price elsewhere.

So I guess my two questions are the following:
1) How gross do you feel about Forever 21 (in comparison to other sources of cheap accessories)?
2) How gross would you feel if I posted photos/links to items they sell?


  1. I kind of assume that there's a built-in level of evilness to basically anything cheap that I buy. There's a reason why it costs so little. And I absolutely do not assume that anything that's more expensive is made more ethically unless I happen to know for a fact that it is (which usually means either it's made locally to me, or it's part of that brand's marketing to stress how it's made). As far as I know F21 hasn't done anything particularly heinous that any other discount retailer hasn't. So I wouldn't look at a F21 post any differently than any other post.

  2. Ditto what K said. For most companies to sell things at a decent price nowadays (because ya know, they need to keep their precious profit margins as huge as possible, even though many of them pay little to no taxes on earnings, but that's a whole 'nother rant), you know they're either made with cheap materials or in a not-so-ethical manner (you can't be paying someone a decent wage, benefits, etc and sell things that cheap and still make money). What I have the biggest problem with is marking up cheaply, ethically-challenged merchandise hundreds of percent. For all the downfalls of big box companies, at least they sell their cheaply made crap cheap to the consumers. Unlike other brands that utilize the same unethical production facilities and feel completely justified to still charge consumers hundreds, though the product was likely made for ten cents an hour.

    Personally, I hand-make almost all of my own jewelry, so I can't justify buying anything that I can make myself. When I do end up buying stuff, I tend to stick to etsy and online indie retailers. Yes, you pay a little bit more, but I prefer to give my business to smaller companies and individuals, as they're the ones who tend to get screwed in the politico-market economy.

    As for feeling gross about what you post, it's your blog xD If people are offended, they don't have to read it. A huge theme of this blog is saving money, so if you found cheap pretties, I'm sure people would love to know! It's not like you're forcing us to buy anything :) It's awesome that you take into account the opinions of your readers on stuff like this. It's quite refreshing.

  3. Thanks for weighing in! I agree with both of your comments. It's important for me to think through these things, because the ethics of marketing etc. are something I like to explore and post about. (I also like to make my own jewelry and have plans for a post on that soon too.)

    There are other things besides the manufacturing practices - stealing designs, conservative values, etc. - that I don’t agree with. And I wouldn’t judge anyone for buying from them, since I obviously do. But there’s a distinction in my mind between buying something myself and recommending it to other people.

    That said, everyone seems to be in favor of seeing what I got, so as soon as the sun comes out (if it ever does again), I will take some pictures, and you can do with them what you will!

    (This is crossposted to my tumblr, where there were additional responses.)


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