As we entered Target to pick up a few things for Daniel, my eyes drifted over to the women’s section. 30% off! 50% off! 70% off! – the signs screamed in red like roadside salesmen in a third world country. I averted my gaze and did my wifely duty, heading over to the men’s section and commenting on various stripes and fits of polo shirts, but my eyes kept wandering over again.
I convinced Daniel to wait for me as I perused the sales. But once I was there, I couldn’t do it. I could hardly bother scanning the racks for bargains. I couldn’t do it because I know now that it’s irresponsible.
A Target factory in Weihai, Shandong Province failed to meet Chinese labor standards in August 2011 (China Labor Watch). Meanwhile, in Jordan, female workers reportedly suffered “routine sexual abuse and even rapes” at the hands of the general manager, who did not suffer serious repercussions for his actions (Institute for Global Labour and Human Rights). Although “Target says it will not knowingly work with any company that does not comply with Target’s ethical standards,” standards are often low and determined by the country of manufacture’s labor laws.
I’m so thankful that I’ve (almost) trained myself to act on my moral leanings rather than just talk about them. It’s tough to leave a world of impulsiveness and color and bargains for one of thoughtfulness. But it’s worth it. As it turns out, that crispy, glossy bulls eye hasn’t lost its facade because the arrow was never pointed toward it. Instead, it was striking out at factory workers, exploiting their time and their bodies so I could buy an owl-emblazoned sweater or a floral pencil skirt.
Even – and especially – at 70% off, it’s not worth it.