I hadn't been to Target in quite a while. I avoid these big places during the holidays at all costs. But last weekend I was on the lookout for some socks for my little one this time (seems my older was this age in the summer so not so many hand-me-downs). OMG there was so much on clearance that it had my head spinning. The $1 socks, the $1.98 and $2.20 shirts that I put in my cart had my mind racing (and it adds up fast).
Yes, these are great deals on clothing for kids and I'm obviously not judging anyone who buys clothes at target - we have lots of clothes from target. My kids are in daycare and they actually do "play" so I'm sure this is all useful and affordable - but is it sustainable. My heart is really torn when I make these types of purchases.
Now, let me tell you why...
I was recently told by a vendor that cotton prices are going up very soon. Also, Inc. had a great article on this topic recently (see Clothing start-ups seek solutions as cotton prices climb). Seems cotton farmers have suffered this last year and cotton is actually in shorter supply than demand. For these prices to be on the clothing at Target - someone is probably not getting paid their due (I'm not saying who it is - this I don't know for certain- but it's my guess anyway).
I grew up in the central valley of California and there were plenty of cotton farms in and around our town. In fact I can clearly remember seeing the yellow stains on my dads truck after driving to and from work near crops that were being sprayed with pesticides or defoliants. I even had to do a paper on how cotton grows and visit a cotton farm and processing plant in the 6th grade.So I know it is a labor and petroleum product intensive plant - this cannot be good for the environment.
So, how can clothing sell for $1.98? Where was it made, how far was it shipped, at what environmental cost? To deal with my now guilty conscience, here are some things I'll be trying to keep in mind the next time I see these "great deals":
- There is both a goodwill and a second hand consignment store right in my neighborhood (though I really wish the kids second hand shop was open on Sunday - for working parents this is tough).
- There are more places than ever to find organic clothing (lots of daily deal sites like www.zulily.com even offer reasonable deals on organic clothing).
- Though I haven't used any of them there are more and more clothing swap sites popping up like this one advertised on a daily deal jasmere just today.
- I care for the clothing I do purchase and gladly pass it on to someone else to use (hay sis, hope your little one likes the new shirts she's going to get in a few months).
*photo courtesy of kirsche222 @ stock.xchnge