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Sunday, 29 May 2016

The High Cost of Cheap

This train of thought started with a book I have been reading called "Over-dressed, The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion", but more on that later.

We have just had visitors staying the weekend. They are from England, and arrived via China. Nicky popped these on to keep her feet warm inside, as we all take our outdoor shoes off at the door. They came with a quick explanation that she was going to wear them until they became unwearable, having been provided with their room in a Chinese Holiday Inn. Personally, I would have left them there in their plastic packaging, unworn.

What horrifies me is that they make these (ugly) things to be worn once or twice, and then be thrown away. Cheap as can be, and hugely wasteful and environmentally unfriendly. 

That reminded me of another incident that happened recently. Our teen had a sports day at her school where they dress absurdly in their house colours. This time young Katie wore a pair of orange tights - without shoes, and they came home with the feet very muddy. When I suggested that she needed to soak and then gently scrub them, she replied - "ah no, they're just really cheap - I'll get some more". Well no, that's not how it works here.
See photo of nice clean tights, and hopefully lesson taken on board.

That reminded me of some young female tenants of mine who moved out of my house (they didn't last long), planning to dump their fridge because none of them wanted to clean it. I said they could leave it there - it worked perfectly well. I gave it a good clean and sold it for $80.

What is wrong with people?? Things are so cheap that people just don't care, and the impact on the environment by this kind of thinking is huge.

Back to the book.
"Overdressed - the Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion" has a lot in it about what super cheap clothes have done to the US garment industry. Elizabeth Cline glimpses into attitudes of those buying cheap, fast fashion, and plenty about the biggest fast fashion sellers in the USA. She travels to countries investigating factories where they make these items for so little. 
I thought this comment on donated used clothing was an eye opener...
"The Quincy Street Salvation Army may be on a quiet street, but it is in fact a major distribution centre serving eight Salvation Army locations in Brooklyn and Queens. It processes on average five tons of outcast clothing every single day of the year and much more during the holiday season when donations spike. From that astonishing mass, the sorters choose exactly 11,200 garments a day to be divided up evenly between the eight thrift stores they serve."

I just wonder when the world will run out of resources. Things will be a changin' some decades down the line. We are on a runaway train. 

So it was refreshing for me to join the Facebook group Mend it May! It is a closed group that anyone can request to join and everyone has been posting their mendings for the month, or asking for help and advice. There have been all sorts of repairs, and they are still taking members if you want to go and have a look. I think it will be carrying on because it has been really popular.


  1. What silly and wasteful slippers. I was given something similar on a plane once and they were also very slippery, so very impractical.
    We have been traveling and experiencing the very different lifestyle of friends we visited and it has been eye-opening, to put it nicely. So. Much. Wasfe! Glad you were able to save the tights and especially, the refrigerator.

  2. I too find other friends' and familys' wastefulness "eyeopening". It reminds me to be grateful that we have come such a long way, because we were once less considerate ourselves (but usually not that bad). All is not lost with the this space.


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