Shirt happens

19 06 2008

So I went to The Bay after work today to buy a couple of dress shirts – I need them for a show I’m in. One thing I’ve never understood about the men’s clothing departments at The Bay and Sears in the Eaton Centre: why do they organize floor space by designer and not by item? I suppose it’s because the designers pay handsomely for the privilege, but it’s frustrating – shoppers have to wander all over the place to find the item of clothing they’re looking for.

Eventually, I found what I was looking for – two white dress shirts on sale. I got them home, and discovered that each shirt has been encumbered by the following packing materials:

  • A price tag (this one’s OK)
  • 6 pins (including the Total Surprise Pins, which try to hide so they can stick you when you put the shirt on)
  • A plastic collar protector
  • A cardboard collar protector
  • A cardboard product label
  • Tissue paper wrapping
  • An X-shaped cardboard shirt support
  • A plastic collar/tag button support

All of this was for a low-priced shirt from the bargain bin at The Bay. There could have been even more, I suppose – there could have been plastic wrap for the entire shirt, or some sort of fancy display package, or something. But I’m wondering: how much of the Earth’s finite stock of resources is wasted on things like this that are inevitably thrown out? (Very little of this packaging was recyclable.)

One other thing struck me: the shirt was made in China. Whenever I buy something made in China, I wonder: what do the people who assembled this get paid?

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