Monday, January 02, 2006

 

Moral dilemma

How does one determine a greater or lesser evil? Today we wandered into a new store called American Apparel.

Now, lately I've been bemoaning the state of my wardrobe. Everything is so drab...I have colors, but nothing bright. Reds, blues, greens, they're all kinda blah shades. Except for the blinding orange zip-up sweatshirt that I bought at the Gap Friday evening.

So, when we wandered into American Apparel and our pupils closed up in shock, it seemed perfect. Bright, non-fussy clothes! T shirts, every bright color imaginable. And reasonably (enough) priced. Walking out, I resolved to come back, soon, and purchase quite a few things. Then a picture on the wall caught my eye and jogged our memories...in the words of C-note, it looked like "white trash porn."

Familiar white trash porn, since I had sent C-note a link to the American Apparel website last year. She had done some googling at the time, and discovered that the CEO, a guy named Dov Charney, has been sued multiple times for sexual harassment and is known for general sketchiness. Since I'm not a big proponent of sketchiness, I was disappointed and decided that, even though the clothes are close to wonderful, I couldn't contribute to a sexual harassment cause.

So I came back here and some googling of my own, and found an article about the company on businessweek.com.

How creepy is he, you may ask? Well, I feel kinda skeevy writing about it...but he uses employees as models (while taking pictures himself), and has been accused of exposing himself to various women, and engaged in sexual relations with quite a few underlings. He also purportedly asked for Asian women to be hired, ones that he could have sex with. Among other accusations.

But while the guy is totally one hundred percent creepy, it seems as though he has some good ideas about how to run a show.

To quote the article, "Charney promotes his business as "sweatshop-free," and to back that up he pays his mostly Latino factory workers nearly twice the minimum wage, throwing in health insurance, subsidized lunches, and paid time off to take English classes on the premises."

Double the minimum wage...health insurance...subsidized lunches...English classes.

So, dilemma. Avoid because of sexual harassment, or support because of his labor policies? And yeah, I must confess, the vision of beautiful ts and cute skirts are dancing in my head. Is that influencing my "patronize or not" decision?

Because right now I'm leaning towards buying the shirts. Have I been seduced by the muttonchopped Charney as well?

Comments:
If they're nice affordable clothes, then buy them. If they're not, then don't. Don't worry about the other
stuff.

Frankly, it's a little weird to do research on a clothes company to decide whether or not to buy from them.
 
well as an HR guy myself... uhh yea thats what i call myself these days. i would say dont believe everything hes been accused of. cuz first jokes can be taken seriously and bam you have a lawsuit. and secondly once a first harrassment suit hits they dont stop... cuz then it turns into who are you gunna believe? Me "ms. bustychest lots'o'cleavage" or "mr. sketchy already'been'sued" clearly you'd side with cute innocent "Ms. lots'O'cleavage"... just my thoughts.. buy the clothes at macy's though
 
Well, what annoys me is that they try and use the fact that they are "anti-sweatshop" on every single ad they put up on the back of the metro to increase sales. I'm gonna go with rem on this one, I'm sure you've bought plenty of products from companies ran by creeps.
 
I suppose the question is whether or not he's been convicted. If they're just allegations, it's entirely possible they're false.

On the other hand, you shouldn't buy clothes from a place that you don't feel morally comfortable with buying them from. I don't buy clothes from Abercrombie because I think they engage in morally detestable business and advertising practices. *shrug*
 
haha. i saw a 20/20 special on this (while at work, i might add.) and i thought the same exact thing!
 
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