A Brilliant Father’s Day Gift?

01Jul09

Tilly Trainers

Twas a pretty special Father’s Day for me the other week, because it was my first.

And my daughter rocked when it came to the pressie: a sweet pair of Jack & Jones trainers. Love her work.

They cost a mere £20 – total bargain for what I reckon is a pretty sweet bit of footwear (I know I shouldn’t know the cost of a pressie, but i kinda helped Tils & Mum pick them…)

But that got me thinking. I remember being 12 and desperately wanting a pair of Nike Air Max. But me Mum point blank refused to spend £60 or so on a pair of trainers. I think the words ‘ridiculous’ and ‘obscene’ were used on more than one occasion to describe her position on Nike’s pricing strategy. Needless to say I ended up with something way less cool (Head trainers anyone?!), which came in at much more reasonable £34 (weird what details your mind holds on to, eh?).

20 years later, I’m buying trainers for almost half that.

Now, we like to think we’re pretty good when it comes to ethical shopping. We buy organic food and try to give our pennies to responsible corporations, who give a damn about the world we live in. But still the sales/bargain mindset remains. Did I think about where these trainers were made when I bought them? Did I think about the conditions of the workers who made them? Or did I think “awesome – wicked trainers and half price in the sale. Bonus!”

Yup, I focused on the price.

And that’s the problem that the ethical movement faces. The bargain hunter mentality is so engrained in western society’s shopping habits, that it’s such a hard job to shift that mindset. To get people to think about ethics before seeing the price is an almighty challenge. Took me a couple of days to start thinking about the ethics, having bought the product.

And hell, you only have to look at the success of Primark and Topshop to realise what a battle we face to turn this around and stop the madness that is ‘the Primark effect’.

Maybe I’m wrong though. Maybe I’m just sh1te at sticking to my ideals when I walk into a shop full of trainers.

What d’yer reckon?



One Response to “A Brilliant Father’s Day Gift?”

  1. A lovely post and full of unexpected twists and turns so let me share some shopping culture dysphoria I’m going through. I’m staying in Tung Chung and I’ve had everything nicked recently including my old school Porsche Briefcase in Bangkok which I told nobody about after some other dramas in Hong Kong. In any case the Samsonite discount store here has a 3000 dollar 50′s style attache briefcase which has been discounted to a ridiculous price. Those are HK Dollars and the discount is viciously deep. Outta control really.

    It’s all 1950′s mad men go slim attache style briefcase with chrome locks that looked modern in their day but now look like they will hold the replacement for my macbook air that was nicked and for which I’ve been forcede to compromise on a a netbook instead. (Surprisingly good though)

    Point is that the Samsonite is all Pink on the inside and me and a good friend are into surprise colours like that because…well because it upsets some people and I guess my daughter would not be one of those when she hopefully sees it one day.

    In any case….old school vs latest…. I think I’m going to ease my broken Porsche briefcase soul and get me some retro Samsonite action.

    I think I this wrote this comment because I need to rationalize spending the money which is strictly speaking not a sensible priority right now but a thing of beauty is a thing of beauty.

    Oh yeah and the sales lady explained it’s got a lifetime guarantee which struck me as a deal clincher.

    Great post James.


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